Is Lise Fredette dead?
Is Andrew Watson responsible?
If so, did it happen in the course of his criminally harassing her?
Crown attorney Andrew Midwood put these three questions to the jury this morning as Andrew Watson’s murder trial got underway in Superior Court.
Watson has pleaded not guilty to the murder and harassment of 74-year-old Lise Fredette.
She was last seen leaving her workplace, the Chemong Rd. Walmart in November 2014. Family members arriving at her Bensfort Rd. home then the next day found only her glasses, her keys and a large red stain on her driveway near her car.
In his opening address to jurors, Midwood said he expects forensics experts to testify that that red stain was Fredette’s blood.
Midwood said the jury can also expect forensic experts to testify about blood stains found in and on Watson’s car, on Fredette’s glasses and on a shovel found in Watson’s Payne St. home. That shovel, Midwood told court, was found soaking in a bucket of what is believed to bleach.
“One of the scientific properties of household bleach is that it degrades and destroys blood and DNA,” Midwood said, adding that he expects forensic experts to tell court that some blood stains matched Fredette; Others were a match to Watson.
“The final piece of evidence you are going to hear on this is from Andrew Watson himself,” Midwood told jurors. “You’re going to hear what he has to say on this.”
The Crown says it will play Watson’s police interview for the jury, something that’s expected to take two to three hours. Midwood said Watson told investigators that he thought he and Lise would spend their lives together, that he did what he could to make her happy. That none of the blood found in his car belonged to Fredette.
But Midwood went on to describe Watson as a jilted, controlling ex-boyfriend. Court heard Watson and Fredette had dated for about two years, breaking up around Easter in 2014; Midwood said that in the months leading up to her disappearance, Fredette believed Watson was “spying,” on her, sending her letters detailing her activities and watching her from a parking lot across the street from her home.
The first witness to take the stand was Fredette’s daughter, Nathalie Leclerc.
The 46-year-old waitress described her mother as a woman who liked her job, a homebody and a creature of habit.
Leclerc testified her mother began dating another man after breaking up with Watson in the spring of 2014, and that she believed Watson was spying on her.
She told court her mother told her Watson would drop letters off at her home, detailing her comings and goings. Sometimes, she testified, Watson would leave homemade bread on her doorstep.
Weeks before she disappeared, Leclerc testified, her mother told her that she and Watson had gotten into an argument at his home. The fight moved indoors, and Leclerc testified that her mother found a list outlining her daily activities.
By then, Leclerc testified, Watson had been told by both Fredette and police to stay away from Fredette.
The Crown then played video footage of Fredette at her Walmart workplace hours before she disappeared.
The trial is expected to last six weeks.
Watson is being represented by Toronto lawyer Stefan Dimitrijevic.