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Trial begins for man charged in death of Edmonton woman in Parkland County

Click to play video: 'Murder trial begins for man charged in death of Edmonton woman in Parkland County' Murder trial begins for man charged in death of Edmonton woman in Parkland County
On the first day of his trial in an Edmonton courtroom, Blake Jolicoeur pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Saladina Vivancos' death in November 2019. But as Sarah Ryan explains, the Crown did not accept that admission and continued with the second-degree murder charge – Mar 21, 2022

GRAPHIC WARNING: This article contains graphic details.

In November 2019, a 911 call came in to first responders, directing them north of Spruce Grove. When they arrived, they found a man performing CPR on a bloodied woman in the back seat of a car.

That woman was later declared dead on scene. Her name was Saladina Vivancos.

She was 33 years old, and had recently moved to Edmonton from Kelowna.

A Spruce Grove man, 36-year-old Blake Jolicoeur, was arrested later that month, and charged with second-degree murder.

READ MORE: Murder charge laid in death of Kelowna woman found west of Edmonton

On Monday, his trial began before a judge.

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At the very outset, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Vivancos’ death, but the Crown did not accept that admission, instead choosing to continue the trial with the second-degree murder charge.

In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard Vivancos was dealing drugs in the Parkland County area and Jolicoeur set up a buy with her.

When Vivancos stopped responding to the phone she used to conduct the drug deals, and didn’t answer her personal phone, two friends tracked down the vehicle she was driving using a GPS tracker inside.

One of those friends, Daniel Ibanescu, took the stand as a Crown witness.

“She was full of life, she was a very happy person, very nice person, very kind,” he said, describing Vivancos.

Read more: RCMP investigating Parkland County homicide

He said when he arrived at the scene, the car was on a frozen pond near Township Road 532A and Range Road 274.

It was dark and he said as he approached the vehicle, he saw something unexpected.

“There was blood pretty much everywhere. Right away I realized something bad happened,” Ibanescu explained.

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Court heard Vivancos was cold and stiff, bleeding from her head. One man called 911 while the other started performing CPR.

When first responders arrived, she was declared dead.

Investigators found a bloodied tire iron in the trunk of the car she’d been driving. The blood on it matched Vivancos’.

In addition to Ibanescu, two other witnesses took the stand for the Crown Monday, both RCMP members.

They spoke about interviewing Jolicoeur before he was arrested, when he was a suspect in Vivancos’ death.

Blake Jolicoeur, 36, from Spruce Grove, Alta.
Blake Jolicoeur, 36, from Spruce Grove, Alta. Credit: Facebook

The first interview was played to the court. In it, the RCMP officer asks about how Jolicoeur knew Vivancos.

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He knew her by an alias: Jessica. He said he met her recently to pay her $60 for some drugs she fronted him.

The officers tell him Jessica was murdered and Jolicoeur said: “She’s dead?”

“That’s sad. I didn’t know her as a friend, we didn’t hang out or anything but still, I seen her Saturday.”

When asked if he killed her, Jolicoeur simply stated: “No, no.”

Nearly a week later, Jolicoeur called one of those RCMP officers back and said he wanted to talk.

That discussion was also recorded, and played back to the court.

In it, Jolicoeur admits to killing her, but said: “I was doing it in self-defense. I was attacked first. I didn’t know I killed her.”

Read more: Friends searching for answers after B.C. woman killed in Parkland County, Alta.

He said he met Vivancos three times that day. Once to settle up with her, a second time to buy more drugs, and a third time near the crime scene.

He said when he got into her vehicle, Vivancos started driving away, something unusual for their deals.

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Jolicoeur told the RCMP officer Vivancos then started hitting him with a piece of metal.

He said he grabbed it from her and hit her, demanding she take him back to his vehicle.

Jolicoeur told police while Vivancos was driving him back, she started threatening him, saying things like: “We’ll get you. We know where you live. We’ll come after your family.”

That angered him.

“I lost my calm. I hit her again,” he said.

Court heard that at one point she got out of the car and was running away, trying to call her boss. Jolicoeur said he followed her and hit her again with the piece of metal.

Jolicoeur said he didn’t know she was dead and he didn’t intend to kill her. He tried to put her into the trunk but said he failed because he wasn’t strong enough.

Then he tried to light the vehicle on fire.

“I wanted to make it look like a robbery or something.”

Before he left, he pushed the car out onto the pond ice.

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After the RCMP left the room where Jolicoeur was being interviewed, the accused said to himself: “I’m going to hell.”

The trial is expected to run for three weeks.

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