Tina Fontaine’s cousin killed during botched drug debt collection: Crown

On the first day of the trial into the men accused of killing Jeanenne Fontaine, Crown prosecutors say she was murdered over a drug debt between her boyfriend and the girlfriend of one of the accused.

Fontaine, 29, was found shot in the back of the head in her home in Winnipeg’s North End in March 2017.

Jason Meilleur and Christopher Brass are on trial for manslaughter. Both have pleaded not-guilty.

In opening statements, Crown Prosecutor Geoffrey Bayly told the jury Fontaine was killed during a botched robbery.

Bayly said Fontaine’s boyfriend had a methamphetamine debt owed to Meilleur’s girlfriend.

She asked Meilleur, Brass and another man to go collect but when they arrived at the home, Fontaine’s boyfriend wasn’t there.

“(The) situation rapidly turned to robbery,” Bayly told court Monday.

At some point, Bayly said Fontaine was shot in the back of the head. After the shooting, Bayly said “chaos ensued” and the house was set on fire.

Firefighter Kevin Luptak, who responded to the blaze, testified firefighters were searching the smoky house when he spotted a leg in one of the bedrooms.

He said Fontaine was wearing a T-shirt, pants and high-top shoes when he found her lying on her shoulder on the floor. She had burns on her stomach and her right forearm. She was unresponsive.

Firefighters carried the young woman out of the house to an ambulance waiting outside.

Fontaine was a mother of three and the cousin of Tina Fontaine, who’s own death sparked the call for the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

On Tuesday, Fontaine’s brother is set to testify. The crown says he was at the residence the morning of the incident.

The trial is scheduled to last for three weeks.

Jeanenne Fontaine is the cousin of Tina Fontaine who was murdered in 2014.

– with files from the Canadian Press

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