While being treated for a head injury in January 2019, Greg Fertuck made a statement that caught an undercover officer off guard, a first-degree murder trial has heard.
The account came from the RCMP officer who worked with Greg Fertuck more than anyone else during his employment in a fake criminal organization.
The witness said Tuesday that Fertuck’s common-law partner Doris Larocque asked the patient if he remembered being in British Columbia for Christmas weeks prior. Fertuck said no, and asked whether he saw his son.
He didn’t, Larocque responded, according to the officer.
“Mike is such an a–hole anyway. He blames me for shooting his mom, well, mother-in-law or whatever.” Fertuck said, according to the officer’s testimony.
Larocque interjected, saying, “She could be anywhere … we don’t know” before changing the subject, the officer said.
Mike is Greg Fertuck’s son from a relationship predating his marriage with Sheree Fertuck.
Sheree went missing on Dec. 7, 2015. Family last saw her leaving their farmyard east of Kenaston, Sask., which is 85 kilometres south of Saskatoon.
The testifying officer, whose identity can’t be reported due to a publication ban, is known as the “primary operator.” He participated in 115 interactions with Fertuck that were orchestrated as part of a Mr. Big sting.
Fertuck was under the impression that he was working for a criminal organization, which moved unethically sourced diamonds, illegal cigarettes and other contraband. In reality, his coworkers, supervisor and boss were all undercover police.
When he met Fertuck in September 2018, the primary operator noticed the man was boisterous, liked telling jokes and made vulgar comments. He walked with a cane, but didn’t always use it.
Over the course of the next few months, the undercover officer said he was able to tell when Fertuck was sober versus when he was drunk. Without alcohol, Fertuck was less talkative, shaky and had bad balance. With alcohol, he was more talkative and had better balance, court heard.
During a game of cards in October 2018, Fertuck brought up his estranged wife Sheree, the witness testified. The officer said the man’s demeanour changed from joking to sombre.
At another gathering that month, he told undercover police that Sheree gave him an Uzi and “set him up.” She called the police during a domestic dispute over the weapon in 2011, which led to their separation and the husband being subjected to a gun prohibition.
Recalling the Uzi incident on another occasion, he made a gun gesture and, in the presence of undercover police, made comments about shooting officers, court heard.
Fertuck told officers he hated Sheree, calling her a “snake” among other derogatory remarks, court heard. The accused never said he loved Sheree and never brought up hopes of reconciling with her, the undercover officer testified.
It’s one of many instances where Fertuck “expressed his hatred” for his estranged wife, the operator said.
On another occasion, the primary operator said Fertuck stated Sheree wasn’t “causing issues anymore.” When asked questions about whether he still talks to her, Fertuck answered “no” and awkward silences followed each answer, according to the witness.
While at a bar before Halloween in 2018, Fertuck showed undercover police a picture of a skeleton on his phone. He told them that’s what his mother-in-law and ex-wife looked like.
The case’s lead investigator has testified Greg Fertuck was a suspect within days of Sheree going missing, but officers needed to launch an undercover operation to determine the truth behind the disappearance.
The effort led to Fertuck’s eventual arrest in June 2019. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and offering an indignity to a body related to Sheree’s disappearance.
Her remains have never been found.
Entering its sixth week, the entire judge-alone trial has taken place in a voir dire or admissibility hearing. Justice Richard Danyliuk will determine which parts of the Crown’s evidence can be applied to the trial before the defence will have the option to call evidence of its own.
While permissible in Canada, Mr. Big stings are prohibited in the United States. They are controversial among the legal community, in part, because they can produce false confessions.