Friends of accused killer, presumed victim left reeling by account of lurid Mile End death

Friends of Cédric Gagnon are trying to come to grips with the apparent gruesome death of the Montreal musician. A bandmate, Raymond Henry Muller, 51, has been charged with first-degree murder and committing an indignity to the body.

Raymond Henry Muller, 51, charged with 1st-degree murder of bandmate Cédric Gagnon, whose body is missing

Cédric Gagnon didn't show up to a gig with his band Pirates! at a festival in Gananoque, Ont., on July 6. Now a bandmate, Raymond Muller, has been charged with his first-degree murder. (Jackie Pronovost/Facebook)

Friends of Cédric Gagnon are trying to come to grips with the apparent gruesome death of the Montreal musician.

Raymond Henry Muller, 51, has been charged with Gagnon's first-degree murder and committing an indignity to the body or the human remains.

Sources tell CBC News that police believe Muller dismembered Gagnon's body and disposed of it and the tools he used.

"This whole thing is really hard," said Sean Jones, who was a friend to both men and played in the band Pirates! with them. "I know these people, and it just doesn't make sense."

The band played in various festivals and bars, often practising under the Van Horne overpass, not far from an apartment on Bernard Street East which doubled as a studio space, where the murder is alleged to have occurred.
Cédric Gagnon played in a band with the man suspected of killing and dismembering him, Raymond Henry Muller. Friends of both men say they're stunned by Muller's arrest and the allegations surrounding Gagnon's disappearance. (Jackie Pronovost/Facebook)

Another friend, Amanda Strawn, said she'd known Gagnon for 15 years, after meeting him at an open-mic event in a bar.

"He was loving. He loved his friends," said Strawn, explaining he struggled with alcohol at times.

"He had his issues with growing up, as a musician, as we all do, but he was a good guy. He was a musician — and a pirate to the core."

Jones said he met Muller, his partner and their four children a few years ago. They were living in an old school bus near the studio space. Jones offered the studio space to the family, and they used it on and off for about year before leaving on a trip across Canada in the bus.

While in Rouyn-Noranda, in September 2016, Muller pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

The family returned to Montreal shortly after that, and Jones said Muller and the mother of his children then split up. Raymond continued to live on the bus, sharing the studio space in Montreal, and his ex moved to Ottawa with the children.

Victim didn't show up for gig

On July 6, Jones said, the band had a show at a pirates festival booked in Gananoque, Ont. He said at the time, Gagnon was in "a bad space," getting angry and swearing at friends and band members.

"He didn't want Ray to come to the show," said Jones. "I wanted Raymond and Cédric and everybody to go down to the pirates festival."

"Cédric really wasn't down on that. He didn't want Ray to go there."

Once in Gananoque, Jones said Gagnon never showed up, and Jones just assumed that he was angry over Muller's involvement with the band. Muller arrived at the show the following day.

Jones said there was no word from Gagnon after the Gananoque festival.

"For the next month or so, we were worried about Cédric. We didn't know what happened. We didn't know if he went to see his kid out in Newfoundland," said Jones.

"He's a guy who disappears; he doesn't have a fixed address. He knows a lot of people. He could have been anywhere."

According to Jones, it was Gagnon's mother who persuaded police to open a missing persons file to find out where he was.

Muller's suicide attempt

Last Friday, Jones said, events got bizarre during a jam session at the studio.

Police believe Cédric Gagnon was murdered at this address, an apartment on Bernard Street East that was used as a studio for the band that both the victim and his accused killer played in. (Elias Abboud/CBC)

Jones said Muller had tried to commit suicide in the Bernard Street studio's bathroom. It was Jones who called 911.

"From there, the [forensics] trucks and everything were there for the investigation trying to put these two events together, Cédric's disappearance and Raymond's suicide attempt," said Jones.

Jones describes Muller as strange but not violent. He said he was someone who was generous, describing him as a "freegan" — someone who lives off anything free.

Jones says he doesn't completely believe that Gagnon is dead. He said he was in the Bernard Street studio recently and did not see any signs of violence.

"The important thing is that Cédric is missing, and we can't find this person," said Jones.

"The police they don't have anything. They don't have a body. There's nothing."

Friend Amanda Strawn is struggling with the fact that Gagnon's body has not been recovered.

"How can you say 'rest in peace' to something like this," said Strawn. "You can't say 'rest in peace, Cedric.'"

Montreal Police spokesperson Const. Jean-Pierre Brabant told CBC News investigators with the major crimes division are still trying to piece together elements of what happened. He said he cannot comment further so as not to harm the investigation.

Muller is scheduled to return to court Sept. 12.