The retrial of Bradley Barton, the Ontario trucker who is facing a manslaughter charge for the death of Cindy Gladue, 36, a Cree mother of three children, started Monday in Edmonton.
Barton pleaded not guilty.
Gladue’s mother, Donna McLeod, sat in the gallery at Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench as the judge warned that evidence during the trial will be graphic and unsettling.
Jurors heard that Barton was working as a long-distance furniture mover when he met Gladue in Edmonton.
Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon said in her opening statement that an autopsy found Gladue died from a catastrophic and unusual injury to her vagina wall.
Snowdon said Barton gave various versions of his interactions with Gladue to police and a colleague.
She said Barton and Gladue had been drinking together on June 22, 2011, the night before she was found dead and they were seen going back to Barton’s room at the Yellowhead Inn.
The next morning, at about 7:40 a.m., security footage showed Barton checking out of the hotel and meeting a colleague in the parking lot, Snowdon said.
She said Barton told his colleague that a woman had knocked on his room door the night before and asked to take a shower. The next morning, Barton told the colleague, he woke up and found her unresponsive and naked in the bathtub.
The colleague told Barton to call police, so he went back to the room and did so, said Snowdon.
Snowdon added that when police arrived, Barton told a longer story to investigators about how he met Gladue. He told them that after the woman arrived at his door, she offered herself to him sexually, but he declined.
GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.
The injury to Gladue was severe, Snowdon told the jury.
“The fatal wound spanned 11 centimetres,” Snowdon said. “Her vagina was torn all the way through.”
The Crown prosecutor added that during the trial, evidence of Barton’s internet search history will be presented, which will show that nine days before Gladue died, he did a Google search that included “vaginas getting ripped by large objects.”
Barton was acquitted of first degree murder in 2015. Appeals of the case landed in the Supreme Court of Canada that ruled Barton should be tried again, but this time for manslaughter.
With files from the Canadian Press