DNA of Tina Fontaine’s alleged killer held by national police databank for years

Records show Cormier spent time in four federal penitentiaries

(Tina Fontaine, 15, was allegedly murdered by Raymond Cormier. APTN/File)

Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
The DNA of the 53-year-old drifter and career criminal accused of murdering 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was held by the national DNA databank long before Winnipeg police began their investigation into the killing of the teenager, according to court records.

The court documents obtained by APTN National News also contained Raymond Cormier’s criminal record, offering the most detailed snap-shot of his violent history to date which began in the sea-side community of Shediac, NB, in 1978 with a conviction of break and enter.

The criminal record also shows Cormier spent time and committed crimes inside several federal institutions, including the penitentiaries of Millhaven in Bath, Ont., Drumheller in Drumheller, Alta., and Collins Bay in Kingston, Ont., in addition to his last stint at Stony Mountain penitentiary in Stony Mountain, Man.

It’s unclear when Cormier was first initially ordered to hand over his DNA to the National DNA Databank, but it has been in the system since at least 2010 and was accessible to Winnipeg police detectives at the time they began their investigation into Fontaine’s murder, according to the records obtained Thursday by APTN.

Cormier was on the list of possible suspects in the Fontaine murder investigation from its infancy, according to Winnipeg police. The investigation that led to Cormier’s charge of second-degree murder relied partially on forensic evidence. It has already emerged that Fontaine’s clothing, along with other evidence, was sent to an Austrian lab for forensic testing.

Winnipeg police have not disclosed what role forensic analysis played in their investigation or if Cormier’s DNA was tied to Fontaine’s clothing or any other evidence submitted for testing. Police have said covert operations and witness interviews also played a role in the investigation.

During the press conference announcing Cormier’s arrest, Winnipeg police said Fontaine was an exploited child and that she and Cormier had “several encounters” and were linked to the same house in the city’s east end.

Parts of Cormier’s violent history have already been revealed through parole and court documents and they show he’s had over 92 convictions and served a total of about 23 years behind bars.

A copy of his criminal record obtained by APTN offers a detailed look at a life of crime took him across the country, with stops before judges in places from Truro, NS, to Guelph, Ont., along with stints in three federal penitentiaries before his last stay at Stony Mountain.

He also committed a string of crimes in Calgary before moving southeast to Medicine Hat, Alta. There he was sentenced to seven years for a 2009 Valentine’s Day knife-point robbery of a 72 year-old man and a short police chase with Cormier at the wheel of a stolen car he crashed, according to Medicine Hat News.

Raymond Cormier, 53, spent time in at least four penitentiaries and had his DNA in national police database. File
Raymond Cormier, 53, spent time in at least four penitentiaries and had his DNA in national police database. File

Cormier was first convicted in June 1978 for a break and enter in Shediac, NB, and received a two year suspended sentence and put on probation for six months. Two months later, in August, Cormier was again before New Brunswick court where he was convicted on two charges of mischief causing damage to property and sentenced to 60 days in jail.

He wasn’t long out of jail when he found himself before a judge, this time on assault and breach of probation and was sentenced to four months. In June the next year, Cormier was sentenced to 3 years in prison after he was convicted of arson and possession of a weapon.

He was released in 1981, but two years later, in March 1983, he was sentenced to 18 months behind bars for aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm and theft under $200. He was paroled on Jan. 23, 1984.

He wasn’t long on Shediac’s streets when he was again sent to in jail in March 1984 for 45 days on an assault conviction.

Cormier then appeared to have moved to Moncton, NB, and continued on his crime spree. He was convicted on a string of offenses committed throughout 1985 in Moncton, including sending threatening letters and calls, theft over $200 and assault.

He received his longest prison sentence to that point on Dec. 12, 1985 for a robbery in Truro, NS.

The record picks up again, this time in Guelph, Ont., in September 1988 when he was convicted of escaping lawful custody and sentenced to 60 days on top of the sentence he was already serving.

By 1991 Cormier was living in Kitchener, Ont., where he was convicted for a string of crimes in the city over  and eight year span. In 1991 he was sentenced to three years in federal prison for armed robbery and attempted escape from Waterloo, Ont., police. He was also convicted to drug trafficking inside Millhaven Institution during that time.

He was back on the streets of Kitchener by 1997 when he was convicted on a string of crimes that led to a Jan. 13 conviction on several charges including fraud, possession of counterfeit money and theft under $5,000. He was sentenced to 22 months.

In June 1999 he was given another 5 year prison sentence for crimes committed in Kitchener including armed robbery, forcible confinement, possession of a weapon, assault with a weapon and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, among others.

The next year, he was sentenced in a Napanee, Ont., court for possession of property obtained by crime and theft under $5,000, crimes committed while at the Collins Bay Institute, according to Cormier’s criminal record. He was also convicted of drinking and driving and dangerous operation of a vehicle on charges stemming from 1998 in Shediac.

Cormier was released from prison in March 2004 but was back in court, this time in Calgary, in September of the same year on charges of theft under $5,000 and fraud under $5,000 which stemmed from his time inside the Drumheller penitentiary.

He was recommitted that same month for violating his statutory release and he remained behind bars until December of the same year.

Cormier remained in Calgary where he committed another string of offenses—including mischief, obstructing a police officer and theft—between 2005 and 2007. That April he was sentenced to five months for possessing property obtained by crime over $5,000.

Then, on Valentine’s Day in 2009, he robbed a 72 year-old senior citizen of his wallet at knife point, according to Medicine Hat News. The senior citizen had seen Cormier in a parking garage pounding on the wheel of a stolen vehicle just before he was robbed, the newspaper reported.

Cormier then sped off in the stolen vehicle and led police on a short pursuit through the city’s downtown before crashing. Medicine Hat police officers then chased him on foot and finally cornered him as he tried smashing the glass door of a provincial building, according to the newspaper.

Cormier was initially sentenced to seven years for the robbery in 2010, but, with time served, he would only have to spend five years in prison, the newspaper reported.

Cormier tried and failed to appeal his sentence in April 2010. He was sent to Stony Mountain federal prison and appears to have been released under statutory provision allowing freedom after serving two-thirds of a sentenced. He ended up on the streets of Winnipeg and allegedly killed Fontaine on Aug. 10, 2014.

Fontaine’s body was pulled out of the river on Aug. 17 of the same year.

Fontaine was in the care of Manitoba’s child welfare system at the time of her killing.

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with files from Dennis Ward

 -with a file from Canadian Press

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