Jeanenne Fontaine killed during drug debt collection: Crown

A trial for two men charged in the death of Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, began Monday.

Christopher Brass and Jason Meilleur have pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the March 2017 homicide.

The Crown says Fontaine was killed because she was at a home when three people showed up looking to collect a drug debt.

Court heard it was 9:30 in the morning on March 14, 2017 when the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service responded to a blaze at a home on Aberdeen Avenue.

Firefighter Kevin Luptak testified, during a search of the building with three other firefighters, he discovered a woman who was unresponsive.

“She had burns to her stomach area and she had some burns on her right arm,” Luptak told court.

Fontaine was rushed to hospital but later died.

Crown attorney Geoffrey Bayly told the 12-member jury the Crown intends to introduce evidence showing three individuals attended the home to collect a drug debt. A debt, Bayly told jurors, was owed to Meilleur’s girlfriend from Fontaine’s boyfriend, who the accused believed was home at the time.

Bayly told court when the trio noticed the man wasn’t home, the situation turned into a robbery.

“It was during the course of that robbery Jeanenne Fontaine was killed,” Bayly told court. 

Bayly told jurors Fontaine was shot in the head, chaos ensued and the home was set ablaze.

On Monday, jurors also heard from a forensic identification specialist with the Winnipeg Police Service, as well as Sandra Peterson, an investigator with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

Peterson testified there were four sources of fire in the home: two in the dining room area and two on a stovetop in the kitchen, which Peterson concluded were fires set using combustibles such as paper and clothing.

Peterson ruled out electrical or mechanical issues as a source of the fires.

The Crown told jurors they will hear from several more witnesses during the course of this trial including Jeanenne Fontaine’s brother, the girlfriend of one of the men accused in her death, as well as Fontaine’s boyfriend.

The trial is scheduled for three weeks.