New Brunswick

Accused kidnapper claims plot to kill woman's husband

Romeo Cormier told a Moncton, N.B., court the woman who claims he kidnapped and sexually assaulted her for almost a month was "my boss."

Romeo Cormier told a Moncton, N.B., court the woman who claims he kidnapped and sexually assaulted her for almost a month was "my boss."

Cormier, 63, is facing six charges, including kidnapping and sexually assaulting the woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

Cormier continued his testimony on Tuesday morning, saying the woman could have left his rooming house at any time and they "treated each other with dignity and respect."

"She could come and go as she pleased," Cormier told the court.

Cormier began testifying on Monday, saying he had known the woman since 1993.

Last week, the woman testified that she was taken by knifepoint from the Highfield Square Mall in February 2010. She said  Cormier held her captive for 26 days and repeatedly sexually assaulted her.

During his testimony on Monday, Cormier offered the jury a conflicting story about what happened over the course of that month. 

On Tuesday, he told the court that the woman wanted him to help kill her husband.

Cormier said he took Valium and smoked marijuana because he was "under a lot of stress" during the 26 days due to the alleged plan to kill the woman's husband.

"I never told that woman what to do. She was my employer. She was my boss," he said.

Inside his room, Cormier testified how he had a .22-calibre gun, scissors and a knife collection. He described one of his knives as a mini-sword.

Cormier told the court how he showed the woman how to use a gun while in his apartment. He said he was attracted to her skills with the gun.

He said he tried to warn the woman about the risks of them killing her husband.

"If we do this, there's no turning back," he said he told her.

At one point, Cormier testified he found his gun pointing in a different direction than he remembered. He said he thought she may have had her own ideas, so he hid the weapon. No gun was entered into evidence at the trial.

Cormier questioned why the woman didn't hit him in the head with a hammer when he was napping.

He said, "There was nothing stopping her from doing whatever she wanted to me while I was sleeping."

'My little woman was gone'

On the morning the woman escaped, Cormier said she woke up that morning temperamental and cranky.

Around 12 p.m., Cormier said he was in a rush to get to a nearby food bank that closed at 1 p.m.

When he left the room, Cormier said the woman was not tied up or gagged. Instead, he said the woman was watching television.

Cormier also testified that he will never forget "the look of fear and abandonment in her eyes ... maybe she was scared, I was going to the cops."

When he returned to his Moncton rooming house, he found his apartment door open and he realized "my little woman was gone."

Before long, he said he began getting paranoid and he went outside and asked his neighbour if he had seen his "girlfriend."

Cormier said he didn't run and hide after the woman left. He said he expected the RCMP to show up at his apartment and question him about his relationship and possibly charge him with conspiracy to commit murder.

He said he was in shock when police arrested him for kidnapping.

Throughout the morning, Cormier appeared agitated as he testified.

While he was testifying, Cormier, at times, instructed his defence lawyer about what evidence photos he wanted to look at.

The defence wrapped up its questioning of Cormier on Tuesday. The Crown prosecutor will begin cross-examination on Wednesday.

The Crown expects the cross-examination to last roughly two hours.

Conflicting stories

Cormier testified on Monday that he and the woman went to her house on the evening she went missing and "we were going to commit a crime."

"Her husband was to be deceased between 10 and 11 p.m.," he said

He said they went to her house and he was looking in the husband's bedroom window but the woman cut her hand. Cormier said he was angry because he didn't want to leave blood at the scene.

After a car drove by the house, Cormier said he and the woman left and went to his downtown rooming house.

Cormier said they partied for a few days, did drugs and had sex. He said he had no idea the woman had been reported missing until he saw it on a newscast.

Cormier was asked by his defence lawyer if the woman was held against her will.

"No, she was not,'' he testified.

Cormier told the court the woman didn't want to leave and go home.

During her testimony, the woman said she told Cormier things to make him think that she wanted to be there.

Jury told to disregard parts of testimony

On Monday, Cormier told the court he has known his accuser since 1993 after first meeting her in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He also detailed for the jury several chance encounters he had with the woman in the Moncton area over the years.

However, after a lengthy recess, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Zoël Dionne instructed the jury to disregard much of Cormier's testimony.

Dionne said the jury should only consider that Cormier claims to have met the woman before.

The judge asked Cormier's lawyer to "do something" about his client's rambling testimony.

The lawyer told Dionne that he could ask his client more focused questions, but could not do anything about Cormier's answers.