Montreal man who strangled his girlfriend found guilty of 2nd-degree murder
Jury returned verdict after 6 days of deliberation
A 22-year-old man who strangled his girlfriend four years ago has been convicted of second-degree murder.
Jonathan Mahautière admitted to killing 17-year-old Gabrielle Dufresne-Élie in June 2014.
They were celebrating her high school graduation in an east-end hotel at the time of her death. He called 911 from a nearby phone booth after he strangled her.
At issue in the trial was whether Mahautière would be convicted of second-degree murder, manslaughter or found not criminally responsible. The verdict means the 11-person jury believed he intended to kill her but didn't plan it out beforehand.
In calling for a conviction of second-degree murder, the Crown argued Mahautière killed his girlfriend because she wanted to end their relationship.
The defence argued he should be found not criminally responsible due to mental illness, or be found guilty of manslaughter.
His lawyer, Marie-Hélène Giroux, said they used the defence of automatism, which would mean Mahautière's actions that night were involuntary. He has severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and impulsivity issues.
The defence presented testimony from his psychiatrist, his stepmother and as well as reports from his schools detailing his behaviour.
Another difference between the three conviction options is the sentence — a second-degree murder conviction comes with mandatory life sentence, whereas the sentence can vary for manslaughter.
The trial began Sept 10, and was presided over by Quebec Superior Court Justice Sophie Bourque. The jury came to its decision after six days of deliberation.
Mahautière stood trial for Dufresne-Élie's death for the first time in 2017, but a hung jury prompted the judge to declare a mistrial.
Those jurors couldn't decide between a second-degree murder or a manslaughter conviction.
With files from Valeria Cori-Manocchio