'If I did cause her death, I didn't know I did,' accused killer testifies

Accused killer Bradley Barton admits he lied repeatedly in June 2011 after he found a dead woman in his blood-soaked hotel bathroom. 

Warning: This story includes graphic and disturbing details

In a court exhibit previously shown, Bradley Barton and Cindy Gladue are captured on surveillance camera leaving his hotel room on the first of two nights they spent together. (Yellowhead Inn/Court exhibit)

Accused killer Bradley Barton admits he lied repeatedly in June 2011 after he found a dead woman in his blood-soaked hotel bathroom. 

"I lied to a lot of people that morning," Barton testified Tuesday in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench.

"I lied to everybody. I didn't know what to do. I was in shock. My head was spinning. Waking up to that sight wasn't very good, very pleasant to see anything like that."

Barton, 52, is on trial for manslaughter after the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a retrial in the case. 

He has admitted he had sex with Cindy Gladue on two nights while staying at the Yellowhead Inn in west Edmonton. Both nights he inserted his fist into her vagina. Gladue died from blood loss after suffering an 11-centimetre wound to her vaginal wall. 

Barton testified he fell asleep on the second night they were together, after Gladue went to the washroom. He told the jury he was shocked when he found her body the next morning. 

"On the second night, at any time did you have any arguments with Ms. Gladue?" defence lawyer Dino Bottos asked. 

"No, I did not," Barton replied. 

He denied he was trying to act out a sexual fantasy or trying to harm her in any way. 

Cindy Gladue in an undated photo posted on the Facebook site, In Loving Memory of Cindy Gladue. (In Loving Memory of Cindy Gladue/Facebook)

In the three months leading up to Gladue's death, Barton used his laptop computer to conduct more than 900 searches for pornography. 

One morning, a week before she died, Barton searched seven times for information about vaginas being ripped or torn by "huge objects."

Barton told court the search results did not show any injuries or what he thought was a ripped or torn vagina. He testified he wasn't sure why he kept using that search term. 

"It was probably easier for me to spell than stretched out," Barton told his lawyer. "My spelling is not very good. Torn meant stretched to me." 

'I didn't cause a woman's death'

During cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon questioned Barton about his conduct after he found the body in his bathtub. 

"Why did you lie so much?" Snowdon asked. 

Barton said he didn't want his wife to find out he'd had sex with another woman. 

"The fact you caused a woman's death, right?" Snowdon asked. 

"I didn't cause a woman's death," Barton replied. 

"You put your fist in Ms. Gladue's vagina," Snowdon said. "She sustained a large wound. She bled to death. In what way did you not cause her death?"

"If I did cause her death," Barton said, "I didn't know I did."

He admitted he lied to friends and co-workers, then continued to build on those lies when he was interviewed by police. 

"I lied a lot," he admitted. "I was in shock. I panicked. I had no idea what to do." 

Snowdon suggested he even lied to the front desk clerk at the hotel after checking out, then asking for a room key so he could call 911. 

"Do you agree it looks bad to leave a body in your room?" Snowdon asked. 

"It doesn't look good," Barton said. 

Room 139 at the Yellowhead Inn on the June day in 2011 when the body of Cindy Gladue was found in the bathtub. (Edmonton Police Service/Court exhibit)

"The lie allowed you to pretend from that point that you had never left, right?" Snowdon said. "You weren't panicking. You were calculating." 

Barton said that wasn't true.

He was arrested two days after Gladue was found dead. He said he spent five weeks in the Edmonton Remand Centre before being released on bail and allowed to return to his home in Mississauga, Ont. 

He lost his job as a long-distance trucker while he was in custody. 

"We lost our house. I filed bankruptcy," Barton testified. "[My wife] and I split up for two to three weeks. Pretty well lost everything." 

The cross-examination is expected to continue on Wednesday. 


Janice Johnston

Court and crime reporter

Janice Johnston was an investigative journalist with CBC Edmonton who covered Alberta courts and crime for more than three decades. She won a national Radio Television Digital News Association award in 2016 for her coverage of the trial of a 13-year-old Alberta boy who was acquitted of killing his abusive father.