ST-JEROME, Que. — Friends and relatives of Ugo Fredette’s two victims addressed the court Tuesday to explain how the murders of Veronique Barbe and Yvon Lacasse changed everything for them.
A jury last month found Fredette, 44, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder.
One by one, those close to the victims — linked by the actions of Fredette on Sept. 14, 2017 — took the stand to describe the loss they experienced.
On that day, Fredette stabbed Barbe, his ex-wife, 17 times at their home in St-Eustache, Que., before going on the lam with a child who was inside the home. He then killed Lacasse, 71, a stranger, in order to steal the man’s car before continuing his attempt to evade authorities. Fredette was finally arrested the next day in rural Ontario, and the child was rescued.
Tuesday’s hearing proceeded with heart-wrenching testimony thick with tears as witnesses, including a teenager, took the stand before Quebec Superior Court Justice Myriam Lachance to illustrate to the court the consequences of Fredette’s actions.
The six-year-old boy who was taken by Fredette is a “broken child, witness to two murders,” the woman who takes care of him now wrote in a letter. He is a child for whom a song can trigger a terrifying memory, who when he sees blood, is in a state of shock and sees images of death his head, according to the letter read into the record by prosecutor Steve Baribeau.
A teenager who was 14 at the time of Barbe’s murder and who cannot be identified, drew this conclusion from what transpired: “I learned that trust and love can kill.” He said the last image he has of Barbe, 41, is “the one where we see the 17 stab wounds inflicted by the one who said he loved her.”
Lacasse had the misfortune of crossing paths with Fredette at a Lachute, Que., rest stop.
“You stole my father from me,” his daughter Jennifer Lacasse said. “I will never forgive you,” she added, locking eyes on Fredette in the courtroom.
Barbe was remembered as smiling, sweet, loving — “a ray of sunshine” — by her father as he addressed the court.
Fredette by contrast was described as a controlling man who tried to keep his wife from her family.
“It’s your fault Ugo!” said Jovette Biard, Barbe’s godmother, her voice raised through tears. ”Veronique became another woman. You treated her as your object, your possession, right up to cutting her off from her family.”
A first-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence without possibility of parole for 25 years, but the Crown is seeking to have that ineligibility doubled to 50 years.
Lawyers will return to court on March 11, 2020 to determine when sentencing arguments will take place.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Nov. 12, 2019.
Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press