Witness heard Raymond Cormier talk about river in argument with Tina Fontaine

About two weeks before a 15-year-old Indigenous girl's body was found in the Red River, her accused killer argued loudly with her and mentioned something about a river, a Winnipeg courtroom was told Thursday.

Sarah Holland lived at home where Cormier says he last saw 15-year-old girl

A sketch from court on the first day of Raymond Cormier's trial shows him facing the front of the courtroom while seated next to a sheriff, left. (Tom Andrich)

About two weeks before a 15-year-old Indigenous girl's body was found in the Red River, Raymond Cormier argued loudly with her and mentioned something about a river, a Winnipeg courtroom was told Thursday.

The second-degree murder trial of Cormier, 56, accused in the August 2014 death of Tina Fontaine, heard Thursday from Sarah Holland. The trial enters its 10th day Friday in Winnipeg before a jury of eight women and four men and Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal.

Holland and her boyfriend at the time rented a townhouse and frequently let Cormier, who was homeless, sleep over.

Holland testified Tina Fontaine came to her house twice that summer, and was brought the first time by Cormier, who was 52.

The second time, Holland said, Tina arrived in the afternoon by herself and Cormier came later.

Holland said she was in her room upstairs when Tina came to her, complaining about Cormier.

"She ran upstairs and asked if she could spend time in my room because he was creeping her out," Holland said.

Cormier came upstairs with Holland's boyfriend and tried to grope Tina, Holland said.

"I observed him trying to grab her boobs a few times and [saying] 'Just do me.'"

Holland said she told Cormier to go back downstairs and he did, while Tina stayed with her.

A few hours later, Holland said, Cormier and Tina were outside on the street, arguing loudly.

"I heard her yell she was going to call the cops," Holland told the jury. "All I heard from Cormier was 'river.'"

Under cross-examination, Holland admitted she couldn't hear much of what Cormier was saying because he was not talking as loudly as Tina.

The dispute occurred on the night of Aug. 6, court was told.

Two days after that, Tina left a hotel where she had been placed by Child and Family Services workers. On Aug. 17, her body was pulled from the river, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks.

Court was told earlier in the trial that Tina was a sexually exploited youth who had recently left her home on the Sagkeeng First Nation to visit her mother in Winnipeg. Her great-aunt in Sagkeeng alerted Child and Family Services when she couldn't contact Tina. Tina left when placed in Winnipeg hotels and a youth shelter.

Cormier told police in a videotaped interview two months after Tina's death that he and Tina did indeed argue on the street outside Sarah Holland's home.

Raymond Cormier, top right, is interrogated by Det.-Sgt. Scott Taylor, bottom left, and Det.-Sgt. Wade McDonald, bottom right, after his arrest on Oct. 1, 2014. (Supplied)

He said Tina was angry because he had sold her bicycle for drugs and she walked away. He returned to the house and never saw her again, he told the officers.

Cormier also told police there was a man on the other side of the street that night, a little behind Tina, who might have followed her.

Cormier described the man as middle-aged with shoulder-length dirty blond hair, and said he looked like Robert Plant, the singer for the 1970s rock group Led Zeppelin.