Final arguments at Winnipeg trial of accused in death of woman found in barrel

Perez Cleveland is seen in this undated police handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Winnipeg Police Service

WINNIPEG — A Crown prosecutor says a man accused of killing a woman whose body was found in a barrel in their backyard used manipulation and fear to control multiple women who lived in the home.

“Mr. Cleveland had a great deal of power over the women in that house and he abused that power,” Breta Passler said Tuesday during closing arguments in the jury trial of Perez Cleveland.

Cleveland, 46, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2016 death of 42-year-old Jennifer Barrett.

Court has heard that Cleveland shared a house in Winnipeg with his adult daughter and five women, who were described by one of them as “sister wives.”

Passler said the women all had unique vulnerabilities and had eerily similar stories about how Cleveland was initially charming before he turned abusive and controlling.

Four testified that they experienced extreme physical abuse, surveillance and manipulation during their relationships with Cleveland.

Passler added that even though police uncovered a relationship document between Barrett and Cleveland, in which she described herself as his submissive, the woman began to fear for her life.

Cleveland became convinced Barrett was cheating, so he tortured her for days before she was killed, the prosecutor said. “(He was) physically and psychologically confining Jennifer Barrett.”

Barrett passed out after the prolonged violence, Passler said, so Cleveland threw water on her and shot her with a Taser. But the woman didn’t respond.

Cleveland put her body in a plastic container in the garage, the prosecutor said, and directed two of the women to dispose of it.

“Mr. Cleveland controlled every aspect of that home that he called his kingdom.”

The defence has argued that one of the other women was jealous of Cleveland and Barrett’s relationship and acted violently towards Barrett.

Passler said there was no evidence the women were violent. Officers did find weapons in the home and Barrett’s blood on a wall in the basement.

Court also heard that because of the body’s decomposition, there was no way to know what caused Barrett’s death. She did have several broken bones.

Passler said the death was not an accident.

“He simply did not care whether she died or not while he assaulted her,” she said of Cleveland.

Just Posted

No charges for Alberta officer who ran over injured deer

LETHBRIDGE — A southern Alberta police officer caught on video repeatedly running… Continue reading

Alberta wants to bring back elections for nominees to fill Senate vacancies

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government plans to bring back elections for… Continue reading

Canada extends leadership of NATO training mission in Iraq to November 2020

OTTAWA — Canada will lead a NATO training mission in Iraq until… Continue reading

Trudeau off to G20 summit, hoping for global help in disputes with China

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to a… Continue reading

With a third of 2015 MPs not running, NDP turnover highest in at least 20 years

OTTAWA — When the federal election campaign gets underway in earnest, parties… Continue reading

No charges for Alberta officer who ran over injured deer

LETHBRIDGE — A southern Alberta police officer caught on video repeatedly running… Continue reading

Alberta wants to bring back elections for nominees to fill Senate vacancies

EDMONTON — Alberta’s United Conservative government plans to bring back elections for… Continue reading

Canada extends leadership of NATO training mission in Iraq to November 2020

OTTAWA — Canada will lead a NATO training mission in Iraq until… Continue reading

With a third of 2015 MPs not running, NDP turnover highest in at least 20 years

OTTAWA — When the federal election campaign gets underway in earnest, parties… Continue reading

Trudeau off to G20 summit, hoping for global help in disputes with China

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is on his way to a… Continue reading

Ontario woman nearly dies — twice — after snake bite in Thailand

Ontario woman nearly dies — twice — after snake bite Shalabha Kalliath’s… Continue reading

Goalie Roberto Luongo retires after 19 NHL seasons

SUNRISE, Fla. — Florida goalie Roberto Luongo has decided to retire after… Continue reading

Europe, you’re up! Yankees top Blue Jays 8-7, head to London

Yankees 8 Blues Jays 7 NEW YORK — Buckingham Palace and Westminster… Continue reading

Most Read