Jury sequestered in case of man charged in murders of ex-wife, stranger
ST-JEROME, Que. — The fate of Ugo Fredette, a Quebec man charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his ex-wife and a stranger he met at a highway rest stop, is now in the hands of a jury.
Twelve jurors — nine men and three women — were sequestered Wednesday after a lengthy day of final instructions from Quebec Superior Court Justice Myriam Lachance. They will begin deliberating Thursday.
Fredette, 44, is on trial in connection with the Sept. 14, 2017 slayings of his ex-wife Veronique Barbe, 41, and Yvon Lacasse, 71, a stranger he crossed paths with at a rest stop in Lachute, north of Montreal.
Jurors have a range of verdicts available from first-degree murder to manslaughter. They will also have to decide if Barbe provoked Fredette, as the accused has claimed. The trial began sitting in late September.
Fredette has admitted to causing their deaths but has testified that he snapped and didn’t intend to kill anyone that day.
The Crown has argued that Fredette killed Barbe because he was unable to accept that Barbe wanted to put an end to the relationship and sell the family home.
“Use logic and common sense,” the judge instructed jurors, telling them to limit themselves to the facts and evidence presented in court. “You must not be swayed by public opinion.”
She also reminded them it was up to the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the elements necessary to find Fredette guilty of first-degree murder. “Ugo Fredette doesn’t have to prove anything,” Lachance said.
The defence has maintained that Fredette snapped on the day of the killings after fights and arguments with Barbe, alleging she came at him with a knife.