Warning: this story includes graphic and disturbing content that may upset some readers.
Four years ago, Bradley Barton made a 911 call from a hotel room on Edmonton’s west end.
Barton had woken up to a horrific scene — the suite’s bathroom was covered in blood and Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old sex worker who Barton had spent the night with, was lying dead in the bathtub.
This morning, a jury of 11 people will get their final instructions before they meet to decide whether Gladue was the victim of a tragic accident or first-degree murder.
'Whatever you decide, this was not an accident,' - Crown prosecutor Carrie-Ann Downey
"He walks into the bathroom and walks into the nightmare of his life," Barton’s defence lawyer, Dino Bottos told the courtroom Monday.
Barton, a long-distance trucker from Ontario, rented the room at the Yellowhead Inn while he spent a couple of days in Edmonton on a job in June of 2011.
On his first night at the hotel, Barton met up with Gladue and the two went up to the room for sex. Closed circuit video from the hotel shows the two walking hand-in-hand after leaving the hotel room an hour later and exchanging phone numbers.
They met up again the next night. After sharing a beer in the hotel bar shortly before 1 a.m., the two went back to Barton’s room. Later that morning, Gladue would be dead.
The Crown prosecutor argues that Barton intentionally killed Gladue, stabbing her in the vagina with a knife and allowing her to bleed to death.
But Bottos said his client didn’t mean to harm Gladue, and that the wound was caused accidentally by Barton’s hand during rough sex. Barton went to sleep, his lawyer argued, unaware that a woman was bleeding to death in the next room.
"If this is the kind of steely-eyed killer the Crown suggests, why is he still around six hours later?” Bottos asked the jury.
“Would he go to sleep after he caused her death? If he really did want to kill her, what's he doing there at 7, 7:30 in the morning? It doesn't make sense."
The defence argued that if Barton really wanted to kill her, he would have done so while they were on the bed instead of letting her walk to the washroom.
Crown prosecutor Carrie-Ann Downey believes Barton carried Gladue into the bathtub after stabbing her.
"Whatever you decide, this was not an accident," she told the jury.
'I don't do that kind of stuff'
No weapon was found at the scene. Downey said that is because Barton was able to dispose of it. She pointed to how he threw out a bloody towel into the hotel garbage can and said that Barton lied when talking to the police the next morning.
Barton told an officer that he was a married man.
“I don't do that kind of stuff," he said.
The accused originally told the 911 operator that Gladue had knocked on his hotel room door the night before, asking to use the shower. He let her in and then went to sleep, only to find her dead the next morning.
Bottos said called his client’s comments “lies from a panicked man who knows he's deep in trouble.”
Barton was arrested two days later in Calgary. He spent five weeks in jail before being released on bail.
Doctors on both sides of the case differed on the central question of the trial: whether Gladue’s wound was caused by a sharp object or by tearing from rough sex.
Alberta’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Graeme Dowling, took the unusual step of bringing the woman’s vagina into the courtroom to show the jury, saying it was necessary for them to understand the dispute over what caused the 11 cm wound.
However, a medical examiner testifying for the defence said it wasn’t possible to know for certain what caused the fatal injury.
"You have honourable doctors disagreeing. Both who would suggest getting a second opinion, because mistakes happen,” he told the jury.
“Doctors make mistakes. They're not gods".
Downey said even if the wound was not caused by a cut, the amount of alcohol in Gladue’s system — four times the legal limit — meant she was not able to consent to the sex.
The jury will begin deliberations on the case later this morning.