Court

Garnier told police he heard Catherine Campbell’s ‘last breaths’

Christopher Garnier gave his version of events in police interrogation video

Christopher Garnier walks into courtroom 304 with his girlfriend, Brittany Francis, on Wednesday.   Grace Power

The man accused of killing Catherine Campbell told police he stood nearby as she died, the jury heard Wednesday.

The police interrogation video of Christopher Calvin Garnier was shown all day in Nova Scotia Supreme Court as his second degree murder trial continues.

In the video, filmed shortly after Garnier’s arrest on Sept. 16, 2015, Garnier told Cpl. Jody Allison of the Halifax Regional Police the first thing he remembered after returning to 5714 McCully St. that night was seeing Campbell lying face-up on the pullout couch. He said she was bleeding from her nose, with blood to the left side of her head on the mattress. Garnier said she died shortly after.

“I could hear her take her last breaths,” he said on the video.

Garnier, 30, is also charged with improper interference with human remains. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Garnier was photographed by police after his arrest on Sept. 16, 2015.   Screengrab of court exhibit

The Crown alleges Garnier strangled Campbell, an off-duty Truro police officer, and disposed of her body in a compost bin. Her remains were found under the Macdonald Bridge in Halifax on Sept. 16, 2015.

Garnier said in the video he and his friend Mitchell Devoe, who lived at 5714 McCully St., started the night watching television, playing video games, drinking and smoking a bong. They went downtown to Cheers and finally to the Halifax Alehouse.

Garnier said he could recall talking to Campbell at the Alehouse, but couldn’t remember the cab ride to McCully Street. Allison said Campbell paid for the cab, which meant Garnier hadn’t dragged her home.

Garnier said he couldn’t remember entering the house, but that it must have been unlocked because he didn’t have a key. He told Allison he couldn’t remember his interactions with Campbell inside the house until he saw her lying on the pullout couch, bleeding.

Key memories missing

Repeatedly, Garnier told Allison that he couldn’t remember how the bleeding started, but Allison said he didn’t believe that. He said Garnier wasn’t nearly intoxicated enough to black out, so “logically speaking,” he should remember.

Garnier told Allison he thought Campbell had her clothes on when he was standing over her on the pullout. He added he didn’t think he had sex with Campbell that night.

The next thing Garnier said he remembered was dragging Campbell’s body outside on the mattress. He said he must have put the mattress in a dumpster because he didn’t “know where else I could’ve put it.”

Garnier said he couldn’t remember where he got the compost bin or how he put Campbell inside, but that he remembered seeing her in it.

Allison asked Garnier how he knew Campbell was dead before putting her in the compost bin, and whether it happened quickly. Garnier said he thought her death was quick.

“She wasn’t moving; she wasn’t breathing,” he said in the video.

Garnier said he couldn’t recall dragging the compost bin down the street in his bare feet, or dumping it under the Macdonald Bridge.

He said he did remember waking up the next day at Devoe’s house. He also remembered having his bag ready because he said he wasn’t sure if he was leaving, or how far he was going to go.

Garnier said he drove back to the place where Campbell’s body was found on the day he was arrested, but found it difficult to go see her.

“I didn’t want it to be real,” he said.

Garnier told Allison he didn’t want people to think he was a monster.

“I remember watching the news on my phone and I couldn’t stop watching it,” Garnier said. “I would never do something like that.”

Det. Const. Michelle Dooks-Fahie was also present in the interrogation video. She questioned Garnier during the video, along with Allison.

Court is set to reconvene Thursday at 9:30 a.m.