Curtis Bonnell's police statement counters video evidence

Hilary Bonnell's accused killer, Curtis Bonnell, told police he never made any stops to get gas or buy anything on the day she went missing, a Miramichi courtroom heard on Tuesday.

Denied making any purchases the day Hilary went missing

Hilary Bonnell's accused killer, Curtis Bonnell, told police he never made any stops to get gas or buy anything on the day she went missing, a Miramichi courtroom heard on Tuesday.

Last week, the jury was shown videotape surveillance from a service station on the day in question, which showed Bonnell driving up in a pickup truck and making a purchase, just minutes after Hilary had been there.

Bonnell, 32, of the Esgenoopetitj First Nation in northeastern New Brunswick, is charged with the first-degree murder of Hilary, his first cousin.

The Crown alleges Curtis Bonnell picked up Hilary on Sept. 5, 2009, as the 16-year-old was walking along Micmac Road in the northeastern community after a party.

Bonnell is accused of holding Hilary against her will, sexually assaulting her and killing her.

On Tuesday, the jury was shown Bonnell's first videotaped statement to police, which was given on Sept. 19, 2009.

Never saw Hilary

Bonnell, who was not in custody at the time, told RCMP Const. Serge Minville he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

"She's a relative. My uncle's daughter," Bonnell said.

"I wouldn't hurt anybody. Especially now, I'm turning my life around."

Bonnell said he went to a bar, a few parties, and then to his sister's for some hard liquor during the evening of Sept. 4 and early hours of Sept. 5., but he never saw Hilary.

During his one-hour interview, he mentioned a few times that there had been some francophone males he had never seen before at one of the parties and the RCMP should find out who they were and what they were doing that night.

Although Hilary was his first cousin, Bonnell said he never saw her much and didn't really know her.

Asked what he thought should happen to someone that might have forced Hilary to have sex and then killed her, Bonnell replied life in prison with no chance of parole.

Hilary's body was discovered in a wooded area near Tracadie-Sheila after more than two months of searching.

The Crown told the jury that Bonnell had led police to the location where she was buried.

Bonnell's ex-girlfriend testifies of inconsistencies

The jury also heard Tuesday from Isabelle Benoit, who was Bonnell's girlfriend at the time.

She testified that she and Bonnell weren't together the weekend of Hilary's disappearance, but when she came back to their house a few days later, she noticed a cut on his finger.

Benoit said she had asked Bonnell repeatedly about what had happened, but he said he didn't want to discuss the matter. They argued about it multiple times for quite a while, she said.

There were also inconsistencies in Bonnell's stories about when he got home on Sept. 5, the day of Hilary's disappearance, Benoit said.

She also told the courtroom that the day before RCMP came to their home, Bonnell's truck had been cleaned completely , which was unusual.

During cross-examination, Bonnell's defence lawyer suggested Benoit had reasons to be angry and frustrated with Bonnell because he was not playing an active role in their son's life.

Benoit admitted that they had a hostile relationship, that they fought often during the 18 months they were together and that she moved in and out of their home several times during that period..

On Wednesday, the jury is expected to start watching subsequent statements Bonnell gave to police.

The estimated 40 hours of video could take five or six days to get through, the court heard.

The trial is expected to last up to eight weeks.

About 45 witnesses will be called, including Hilary Bonnell's parents, Pam Fillier and Boyd Bonnell.