Courts

Hours long interrogation video shown at Garnier trial

Second-degree murder trial into death of Catherine Campbell resumes

Christopher Calvin Garnier and girlfriend Brittany Francis walked into the courtroom together on Monday.   Taryn Grant

Video of the police interrogation of Christopher Calvin Garnier was shown to the jury Monday, as his second-degree murder trial continued in Halifax.

Crown witness Cpl. Joseph Allison testified in Nova Scotia Supreme Court that he interviewed Garnier, 30, after his arrest on Sept. 16, 2015.

The Crown alleges that Garnier strangled Catherine Campbell, 36, and used a compost bin to dispose of her body. Campbell was found under the Halifax side of the Macdonald Bridge on Sept. 16, 2015.

A barefoot man moving a compost bin, captured on surveillance footage.   Screengrab of court exhibit

Along with the murder charge, Garnier has been charged with improper interference with human remains. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Allison, a corporal with the integrated homicide unit of Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP, was the Crown’s second witness on Monday. With Allison on the stand, the Crown showed the jury more than two hours of video from the afternoon of Sept. 16, 2015.

The video showed Garnier and Allison entering and taking seats in a small interrogation room.

“What happened in there that got out of control? What happened in there that went sideways?” Allison said to Garnier in the video.

Allison continued his questioning in the video, asking Garnier if he and Campbell, an off-duty Truro police officer, had sex on the night of Sept. 11, 2015. Garnier said he wasn’t sure.

In the video, Allison repeatedly asked Garnier what happened in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2015, when Garnier and Campbell arrived at 5714 McCully St., after meeting at the Halifax Alehouse.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that you are responsible for her death,” Allison said to Garnier in the video.

Allison told Garnier in the interrogation the evidence linking him to the disposal of Campbell’s body spoke for itself, but it didn’t explain what happened inside the house on McCully Street.

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

Garnier didn’t respond to most of Allison’s questions.

“I’m not supposed to say anything,” Garnier said to Allison.

“That’s OK; I’m asking you these questions,” Allison responded. “I just want you to think about them.”

At the beginning of the video Garnier could be heard sniffling and seen wiping away tears. Later in the interrogation Garnier sobbed loudly and Allison laid a hand on his shoulder.

“You’re showing that you’re remorseful … you’re not a monster,” Allison said to Garnier early on in the interrogation.

When Allison asked Garnier how many people he had killed before Campbell, Garnier responded, “zero.”

Evidence displayed to the jury

Before Allison’s testimony Monday, the jury heard from Crown witness Sgt. Andre Habib, an officer with HRP. Habib testified he was involved in the processing of a white Ford Edge, which he said was driven by Garnier prior to his arrest.

A Ford Edge was seized after Garnier’s arrest and searched at HRP headquarters on Gottingen Street.   Screengrab of court exhibit

Habib said the vehicle contained a knapsack filled with clothing, toiletries, Garnier’s passport and two boxes of the antidepressant medication Cipralex.

Garnier told Allison, in the interrogation video, that he took Cipralex.

Habib also displayed evidence to the jury, including a dress and bra that he said was worn by Campbell and removed from her body at the time of autopsy.

Habib also showed the jury a teal T-shirt that was found in a dumpster across the street from 5714 McCully St. He said he believed the T-shirt was the same one worn by the barefoot man in a surveillance video from an alley off Agricola Street.

Court is set to reconvene Tuesday.