The parents of a man murdered in 2019 whose body was never found are appalled at the acquittal of two men charged with his murder, despite detailed confessions to the crime.
“The outcome of this trial is catastrophic. It haunts me to know that these guys are out, ”says Jean-Marc Dufresne.
Simon Dufresne was 31 at the time of the tragedy.
His son Simon disappeared around February 12, 2019. First considered a disappearance, the case was quickly treated as a murder by the Sûreté du Québec.
In May 2020, the police then made several arrests. The jury trial of Jonathan Provencher and Alfredo Rodriguez Farinas, accused of murder and conspiracy, opened last May at the Joliette courthouse.
The victim's blood was found in this Rawdon cottage.
Simon Dufresne was probably shot and killed in a chalet in Rawdon. Traces of his blood were taken there, the jurors heard.
A search had already been carried out in a residence in Saint-Calixte, in December 2019, during the investigation into the murder of Simon Dufresne.
If the body of the 31-year-old man was never found, it was because he was then wrapped in plastic bags , before being cut into pieces, then burned, also related witnesses during the trial.
“My son had made life choices that we did not accept. But he didn't deserve to die like this, it's inhuman,” laments Jean-Marc Dufresne.
According to the theory of the Crown, it was in revenge for a theft of $70,000 of cannabis and jewelry that Jonathan Provencher wanted to eliminate the victim.
Jurors heard tapes in which Provencher confesses to an undercover officer how the body was disposed of and discusses the involvement of Rodriguez Farinas.
Despite this, jurors ultimately acquitted both defendants on June 27 .
The defense lawyers have probably raised doubts as to the identity of the perpetrator of the crime. Indeed, despite the confessions obtained during the investigation, My Patrick Davis and Valérie La Madeleine tried during the trial to blame a suspected third party.
This third person was present on the crime scene, but did not participate in the murder, according to the Crown, which made him one of its main witnesses at trial. A publication ban protects his identity.
However, what the jury did not know was that in addition to Provencher's confessions, Alfredo Rodriguez Farinas had, shortly after his arrest, himself admitted to the police that he was the one who shot Simon Dufresne. However, Judge François Dadour did not allow these confessions to be presented in evidence (see text below).
When they were acquitted by the jury, Provencher, 44, and Farinas, 27, regained their freedom through the large doors of the courthouse.
The relatives of Simon Dufresne thus had to be escorted by the investigators to their car, so as not to cross paths with the suspects, who were celebrating with their lawyers in the parking lot.
“Our confidence in the justice is badly shaken, drops Lynda Courtemanche, Simon Dufresne's mother-in-law. To know them free, we think about it every moment since. »
The Crown, represented by Mes Caroline Buist and Geneviève Aumond, is “seriously considering” the possibility of appealing these acquittal verdicts.
– With the collaboration of Claudia Berthiaume
After 8 minutes, he had confided everything to an informant
It took less than eight minutes for one of the individuals accused of the murder of Simon Dufresne delivers sordid details of the crime to a complete stranger, who turned out to be a double agent.
Jonathan Provencher, acquitted
“They don't have a body, they don't have a truck, they don't have a murder weapon, they don't have a crime scene, which has been cleaned up,” Jonathan Provencher said in the spring. 2020, to the attention of a man who called himself “The Arab”.
The latter presented himself as a member of a criminal organization.
He wanted to make sure that the murder of Simon Dufresne, at this time still under investigation, would not draw the attention of the police to his shenanigans.
What Provencher did not know then, is that the criminal activities of “The Arab” were in fact fictitious, invented from scratch by the police.
He was an undercover agent, whose real identity is protected by a publication ban.
Provencher had quickly listed everything that had been done to eliminate the traces of the crime.
“I can tell you that there is nothing more to be done. All is correct. If I tell you, it's true. There were holes, there was no more bullet, there was no more bullet in the walls,” he said.
Blood: washed with acetone. His vehicle, in which the body would have been transported: disappeared. The barrel in which the body was burned: cut into pieces and thrown in the trash. The ground on which there was fire: raked.
Earlier in this conversation, he also sold the “Cuban,” presumably in reference to Alfredo Rodriguez Farinas, as being the one who “triggered” the victim.
Alfredo Rodriguez Farinas, very emotional, during police interrogation at the Saint-Jérôme detention center on May 7, 2020, a few days after his arrest in connection with the murder of Simon Dufresne.
Moreover, the latter made a confession to the police shortly after his arrest, in May 2020. He explained that he had received threats from Provencher and feared being killed himself if he did not take action.
“Then, me, it seems that I was not at all me, I was in fear of my life. I walked a lot around the house looking for the strength to do this. […] I decided to do it and I did it because it was my life or his that was at stake at that moment, ”Farinas detailed to the investigators.
It was afterwards that Provencher would have arrived with his truck, in order to place the body there.
“It was not I who planned the death or anything. I never did anything… I was badly taken when he was there, ”he justified.
But Farinas' confessions, the jury never heard them. Judge François Dadour excluded them from the evidence before the start of the trial, considering that the police had violated his right to speak to a lawyer.
The interrogation in which he delivered the police took place at the detention center, after his arraignment for the murder of Simon Dufresne.
He had already been questioned for 12 hours after his arrest, but had not said anything. He then gave himself up to investigators while being transported to prison.
Right to counsel
The police returned shortly after to detention, in order to continue this discussion, which this time was filmed. During this interview, the investigators twice reiterated his right to speak to a lawyer, which Alfredo Rodriguez Farinas waived. But he did so without knowing that a prosecutor appointed by his family was going out of his way to join him, noted Judge Dadour.
He had spoken to several lawyers since his arrest, but none was his.
Thus, according to the judge, the investigators should have informed him that a lawyer, appointed by his relatives, was trying to speak to him.
The magistrate thus concluded that including his statements made when his rights were violated would “bring the administration of justice into disrepute”.
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Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128