Trial hears Quebec man stabbed his former partner, beat stranger to death

SAINT-JEROME, Que. — The trial of a Quebec man accused of murdering his partner and killing another man for a getaway vehicle began Friday at a courthouse north of Montreal.

Crown prosecutor Steve Baribeau told the jury Ugo Fredette couldn't accept the end of his relationship with Veronique Barbe, 41, so the accused allegedly stabbed her 17 times, in front of a child. Baribeau claims Fredette then fled with the child and while on the lam, allegedly murdered another man before stealing his car.

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None of the Crown's allegations have been proven in court.

Fredette, 43, was arrested Sept. 15, 2017, in Ontario. He was reportedly spotted by citizens across Quebec during his alleged run from authorities. Barbe was found dead Sept. 14, 2017, at her home in St-Eustache, Que., northwest of Montreal.

The Crown will call 25 witnesses, including a neighbour who allegedly saw part of the attack on Barbe. A child is also expected to testify via video conference.

Baribeau told jurors Fredette and Barbe had been in a relationship since 2009, but things weren't going well in the months leading up to her death. The Crown is also planning to call the couple's therapist to the witness stand.

"Pay attention to that testimony," Baribeau said. "Pay attention to what happened in the preceding days."

The Crown also alleges Fredette murdered a 71-year-old man named Yvon Lacasse after the two met at a highway rest area near the town of Lachute, Que., about 70 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

Fredette allegedly severely beat the man, killing him, and then disposed of the body in a nearby wooded area.

The accused is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Barbe and Lacasse. Fredette on Friday pleaded not guilty.

Superior Court Justice Myriam Lachance told jurors at the St-Jerome courthouse Fredette is innocent until proven guilty. The accused was present in court, handcuffed and wearing glasses and dark clothing. He took notes during the proceedings.

Fredette's lawyer, Louis-Alexandre Martin, did not address jurors Friday.

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