Edmonton

Crown suggests Bradley Barton killed Cindy Gladue, then dumped her body in bathtub

Bradley Barton was grilled for a second day on the witness stand during cross-examination. Barton, 52, is on trial for the June 2011 manslaughter death of Cindy Gladue.

Warning: Graphic and disturbing details

Bradley Barton spent Wednesday on the witness stand answering questions under cross-examination. (Jim Stokes)

Bradley Barton fatally injured Cindy Gladue during sex and let her bleed to death, then spent several hours trying to concoct a cover story, a prosecutor suggested Wednesday during intense cross-examination.

The accused has told the court he awakened in his hotel room the morning after he had sex with Gladue and wasn't sure whether she was dead or alive when he found her body in the bathroom.

But Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon insisted he must have known Gladue was dead.

"The reason you knew she was dead is because you killed her the night before," Snowdon said. "You forced your knuckles into her vagina. She was in the middle of the bed. You picked her up off the comforter that she was profusely bleeding on and dumped her in the bathtub. You let her bleed to death."

 Barton denied that version of events, said he never used force and did not put Gladue's body in the bathtub. 

"After you did those things, you sat in your room and calculated your options," Snowdon suggested. "You thought about how you were going to get out of this." 

Barton denied planning the lies he eventually told co-workers, hotel staff and police over the next two days. 

"The reason you needed to lie ... was because the truth made you look very bad," Snowdon said.

Gladue died from blood loss after suffering an 11-centimetre wound to her vaginal wall. Her naked body was found in a blood-soaked bathtub in Barton's hotel room at the Yellowhead Inn in June 2011. 

Barton has testified he fell asleep after Gladue went into the bathroom, and said their intimacy ended after he got blood on his hand.

The Crown pointed out that Barton, who is on trial for manslaughter, added a new detail to his current testimony, one he didn't mention at his earlier trial in 2015. 

Police found this blood-soaked comforter balled up beside the bed in Barton's hotel room. (Edmonton Police Service/Court exhibit)

During direct examination this week, Barton said the blood-soaked comforter was just outside the bathroom door and he used his foot to move it to the side of the bed.  

Asked why he hadn't mentioned that detail at the first trial, Barton said he wasn't asked about it. 

Earlier this week, Barton testified that as he rushed to leave the hotel room, he reached between the mattress and box spring to retrieve the wallet he had hidden there, and said the fitted sheets flipped up as a result. 

The Crown challenged his version of events by pointing to the placement of the pillows on the bare mattress. 

Barton testified the sheets flipped up when he lifted the mattress to retrieve his wallet. (Edmonton Police Service/Court exhibit)

Barton insisted his testimony was true. 

Stress, shock and panic 

According to the timeline provided by Barton, he called 911 about 40 minutes after he discovered Gladue's body, despite the fact that he said he didn't know if she was dead or alive. 

"Instead of getting help for her, you immediately started thinking about yourself," Snowdon said. "You certainly weren't thinking about Ms. Gladue were you?" 

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

Barton said he was in shock and panicked. He got blood on his feet when he first walked into the bathroom, and used a towel to wipe the blood off. He said he later threw the towel into a garbage can in the hotel parking lot. 

He admitted that he used the toilet and might have brushed his teeth in the bathroom. 

"So you sat there and you brushed your teeth while Ms. Gladue was bloody and unresponsive in the bathtub," Snowdon said. "You were thinking about your teeth before you were thinking about her." 

Snowdon said Barton showed "callous disregard" for Gladue. 

More lies to an undercover police officer 

Barton was arrested in Calgary after a two-day investigation and returned to Edmonton in a prisoner transport van, along with another man who was actually an undercover Edmonton police officer. 

During the trip, Barton admitted he had a whole new cover story. 

He told the other man that he had allowed two "swampers" to stay in his hotel room for two nights while he slept in his truck. Barton said they were gone when he let himself into the room for a shower and discovered the body in the bathtub. 

"It was all a lie," Barton admitted under cross-examination. 

He said he embellished the story by describing what he would have done had he killed Gladue. 

"If I did it, I would have buried the girl," Barton said on a secretly recorded tape. "Wrapped her up in my carry out or my truck, cleaned the room up.  She would have disappeared down the highway, 2,000 miles away from here."

"Lying came very easily to you," Snowdon said. 

"Yes it did," he replied. "Under those circumstances, yes."

Barton's cross-examination is expected to conclude on Thursday. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston

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