New Brunswick

Richard Valiquette's criminal negligence trial in death of Gavin Adams continues

A friend who was with Gavin Adams on the night he disappeared testified Tuesday he didn't realize the Saint John teen was missing until the following morning because they were both high and got separated.

Valiquette accused in drug-related 2013 death of Saint John teen

Richard Valiquette, 28, who was accompanied in court by a supporter on Tuesday, previously pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death in connection with the drug-related death of Gavin Adams. (CBC)

A friend who was with Gavin Adams on the night he disappeared says he didn't realize the Saint John teen was missing until the following morning because they were both high and got separated.

Adrian Goguen, 19, testified Tuesday at the trial of Richard Gerald James Valiquette, who is charged with criminal negligence causing death in connection with the drug-related death of Gavin, 17, nearly three years ago.

Goguen told the Court of Queen's Bench he and Adams would take hallucinogenic drugs, obtained from Valiquette, together.

4 tabs of 25i

On Dec. 14, 2013, they went to Valiquette's home to purchase four tabs each of the drug called 25i, he said.

It hit him harder than ever before, he said. He recalled having a difficult time speaking and they both struggled to put on their shoes and get down the stairs, he said.

They were walking together in the city's north end, near the Petro-Canada station, when Gavin went up the hill toward a church and Goguen went down.

Adrian Goguen, 19, was taken to the emergency department by a police officer after getting separated from his friend Gavin Adams on Dec. 14, 2013. (CBC)
Const. Jeff Hamilton, of the Saint John Police Force, testified he came across Goguen, who put his face up to his patrol vehicle "like a bug on a windshield."

Goguen, who was "twitchy," told the officer he had taken a hit of acid and wanted to go home. Hamilton transported him to the emergency department instead.

Emergency room Dr. Michael Howlett testified Goguen was suffering from a moderately severe drug overdose when he saw him at 10:13 p.m.

Goguen had "adrenaline overdrive" associated with an LSD-like substance, Howlett said. His heart rate was abnormal, he was disoriented, agitated and confused.

His condition was "not life-threatening," said Howlett, but the hospital would not have discharged him on his own. Goguen was treated with Ativan and his parents took him home.

Goguen told the court he woke up the next morning to text messages from Gavin's girlfriend about the Saint John High School student being missing.

Found buried in snow

The body of Gavin Adams, 17, was discovered half-buried in snow near the Chesley Drive bus terminal following a two-day search. (CBC)
On Dec. 16, a search and rescue crew found Gavin's body half buried in snow in a parking lot near the bus terminal on Chesley Drive.

Gavin's mother, father and younger sister left the courtroom when disturbing photos of his body were displayed.

Const. Matthew Weir, of the Saint John Police Force's forensic identification unit, testified Gavin's frozen body was transported in a black disaster bag to the morgue at the Saint John Regional Hospital and locked in a small cooler. Weir kept the key.

Items seized from Gavin's jacket, he said, included a small clear plastic vial and pipe, which both tested positive for N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogenic drug.

Valiquette, 28, is accused of giving Gavin a substance not intended for human consumption and in reckless disregard for his safety.

Goguen testified Gavin and Valiquette were making drugs together. That's how Gavin got a discount, he said.

It was Gavin who introduced him to psychedelic drugs, he added.

Manslaughter charge withdrawn

Valiquette was initially charged with manslaughter on Nov. 25, 2014, but that charge was withdrawn by consent in July 2015.

His trial began on Oct. 3, when he pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death.

He pleaded guilty that same day to producing N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogenic drug.

Two other charges against him — drug trafficking and possession of a drug for the purposes of trafficking — were dropped.

The trial resumes on Wednesday morning at the Saint John Law Courts building. Two weeks have been set aside. Justice Frederick Ferguson is presiding.

With files from Rachel Cave