Warning: this story contains details some readers may find disturbing.
At some point after Sheree disappeared on Dec. 7, 2015, Greg Fertuck asked their daughter, Lauren Fertuck, if he could see their grandson. Testifying via video Wednesday, Lauren said she would come up with excuses to keep him from seeing her son.
“It’s okay, doesn’t matter what you were told, I still loved you guys more than your mom did,” reads one of the first messages from Greg Fertuck, who is now 67.
From the day Sheree went missing, Lauren said she believed her father was the person responsible.
In another text conversation, Lauren told the accused he could only see his grandson if he took a polygraph test. Greg Fertuck’s response references advice he claimed to receive from defence lawyer Morris Bodnar.
“You didn’t hear what my lawyer said, you brain dead little girl,” he replied. “You don’t give a s–t about me after that bipolar witch got through to you.”
Sheree didn’t have any known mental health issues, according to testimony from her three adult children and a police interview with her late mother.
Lauren initially testified the texts were sent a couple months after Sheree went missing. During cross examination, defence lawyer Mike Nolin suggested it could have been after October 2017. Lauren said she wasn’t sure.
During testimony, Lauren cried as he recalled memories of Sheree and her relationship with her family. Sheree visited her grandson whenever she was in Saskatoon, according to Lauren. Sheree planned to watch the baby when Lauren’s maternity leave ended. The mother and daughter spoke daily on the phone.
Sheree once told her, “if something happens to me, look to your dad,” Lauren testified.
Police arrested Greg Fertuck in June 2019, charging him with first-degree murder and offering an indignity to a body. It came after a lengthy Mr. Big sting, which led to the man telling undercover officers he murdered Sheree, according to an opening statement from Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss.
Fertuck told the undercover officers he drove to the gravel pit near Sheree’s family farmyard, waited for her and shot her twice with a rifle, according to the Crown.
Her body has never been found.
The prosecutor said he expects the Crown’s entire case to be heard in a voir dire, or admissibility hearing. Justice Richard Danyliuk will decide whether the evidence can be applied to the judge-alone trial itself. There is no jury.
Greg Fertuck’s drinking and gambling led to his separation from Sheree in 2010, Lauren testified. After a period apart, he moved back in.
Lauren said she never saw violence between her parents firsthand, but she did hear arguments and Sheree showed her bruises.
During one incident after Greg Fertuck moved back in, Lauren said he held a knife behind his back and called Sheree down to the basement. The couple’s children urged her not to go down there, Lauren said.
Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Mike Nolin, Lauren testified her brother said their dad was holding a knife. Lauren didn’t see a weapon, but said she saw Greg Fertuck standing with something behind his back.
“I’ll gut you like a fish,” Lauren said she heard her father say on another occasion.
She also recalled a family trip to Florida, where she said Sheree was kicked by Greg Fertuck. Lauren said she saw a “huge bruise” on Sheree’s stomach.
The accused moved out again after a domestic dispute in 2011. Lauren said her father continued to make negative comments about Sheree “poisoning” her children’s minds, calling her a devil or a snake.
“And the only way to kill a snake is to cut its head off,” Lauren testified that her father said.
After Sheree’s disappearance, Lauren said she didn’t remember her father saying anything nice about her mother.