A man accused of killing a 15-year-old Indigenous girl and dumping her body in Winnipeg’s Red River has been found not guilty of second-degree murder.
Tina Fontaine’s remains were discovered eight days after she was reported missing in August 2014; Raymond Cormier was charged more than a year later.
The jury deliberated for 11 hours before coming to its decision.
There were gasps in the courtroom when the verdict was read, and Tina’s great-aunt, who raised the girl, was crying.
The Crown had argued in its final submission that Cormier, 56, convicted himself with his own admissions on secret police recordings.
But the defence said numerous forensic holes in the prosecution’s case had left reasonable doubt.
Tina was being sexually exploited after coming to Winnipeg from her home on the Sagkeeng First Nation. Her death prompted renewed calls for an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
There was no DNA evidence linking Cormier to the teen, and doctors who were called to testify said they could not definitively say how Tina died.