Lanna Fertuck says she suspected her dad in mom's disappearance
Greg Fertuck has pleaded not guilty to killing his estranged wife in 2015
Lanna Fertuck said she and her siblings had long suspected her dad was responsible for their mom's disappearance.
"We all had our suspicions that he had done something to her."
She testified Wednesday by video as a Crown witness at Greg Fertuck's murder trial got underway at Saskatoon's Court of Queen's Bench. Greg is charged with first-degree murder, accused of killing his estranged wife Sheree in 2015. He's also accused of getting rid of her body, which has never been found.
He has pleaded not guilty.
All Crown evidence is being called within a voir dire because the case hinges on an undercover police operation that led to Greg's confession. The judge will decide what will be admissible to the trial once the Crown's case is entered.
Mom doesn't come home
Lanna was 17 when her 51-year-old mom disappeared. She lived with Sheree in Saskatoon and said her mom was supposed to return home for supper after she finished her work hauling gravel.
"I was pretty worried that something had happened to her," Lanna said. "It was very odd that she wasn't home."
Lanna's calls to Sheree went unanswered. Her grandmother — who Sheree sometimes stayed with when hauling gravel — hadn't heard from her either.
The next morning, the two went to the gravel pit to look for Sheree. She said Sheree's dog was acting strange at the gravel pit, whining. She said Sheree's truck appeared abandoned, like she left it mid-task. They called the police not long after.
Lanna said that when she phoned Greg to let him know Sheree didn't come home, he seemed unconcerned and said "if you ever find her, let me know."
The Crown will call evidence intended to show that Greg shot Sheree at the gravel pit on Dec. 7, 2015 — the day Sheree didn't come home.
History of violence
Lanna testified that her dad had a history of violence toward her mom, saying he verbally threatened and injured Sheree when the two were together.
"My dad would be very violent with her."
She said his drinking and gambling created conflict, and they fought over finances. Lanna said Greg said nasty things about Sheree after their separation, calling her an evil witch or a "c--t."
Co-defence lawyer Morris Bodnar has represented Greg for years, and characterized Greg as a miserable drunk. Lanna agreed.
The defence lawyer put the blame on alcohol, suggesting his client would call people names and threaten them when he was drinking.
Bodnar also tried to direct attention to another potential suspect. The court heard there was another gravel hauler in the area who lost out to Sheree on a $2 million hauling contract. Bodnar pressed Lanna on why she mentioned his name to the police, but she said she was trying to give any information to police that could help, and testified that her mom only had animosity with Greg.
Bodnar said Sheree had hired Greg for help with the hauling, and her disappearance would mean his loss of income.
The defence lawyer suggested that Greg had everything to lose and nothing to gain by getting rid of Sheree.
"I don't agree with that," Lanna said.
Guns and blood
Cpl. Terry Heroux, who works with the RCMP forensic identification unit, also testified Wednesday. He spoke about two searches and evidence seizures at Greg's Saskatoon bungalow.
The first was Dec. 20, 2015 — days after Sheree disappeared.
They seized several clothing items and gun-related items, such as a rifle, a banana clip and .22 ammunition. Heroux helped search Greg's Saskatoon home once again on June 25, 2019 — one day after Greg's arrest.
Police found a shotgun barrel, multiple cell phones, ammunition and other items that were not found in the 2015 search. There was also additional .22 ammunition, 3-inch imperial magnum ammunition and 150 rounds of 9-mm Winchester ammunition.
The Crown has established a theory that in 2015 Greg shot Sheree at the gravel pit, then used a loader to move her body into his truck before dumping her body in a rural area, and washing his truck.
Sgt. Ryan Clunie, who works with the RCMP forensic identification unit, also testified in court.
There was no evidence found at the car wash, but Clunie found a spot of blood in the back of Greg's truck that matched a blood profile taken from Sheree's razor.
Clunie also had the loader left by Sheree's abandoned truck examined and found one slight indicator of blood, but it was never determined to be human. He also noted the machine had been used to move gravel as people searched for Sheree after her disappearance, and had filled with snow before it was tested for blood.
He said the scene and evidence had been contaminated by searchers who thought they had a missing person's case, not a homicide.
Testimony continues Thursday.