Spawning the hashtag #JusticeForTinaFontaine over the past month and more, the CBC has just announced that a Canadian jury has found Raymond Cormier not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a 15-year-old First Nations girl by the name of Tina Fontaine.
Tina Fontaine’s 72-pound body was found in Winnipeg’s Red River, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighted down with rocks, on Aug. 17, 2014.
Cormier, a 56-year-old man seen arguing with the teen days before her death, had been seen with an identical duvet cover and had allegedly admitted on tape that he had committed crimes against the teen, was charged on December 8th of 2015. Cormier has a lengthy criminal record with 92 convictions in assault, weapons, drugs and fraud.
According to the CBC, The Crown had no forensic evidence or eyewitnesses directly linking Cormier to Tina’s death, and the cause of her death remains undetermined.
Cormier’s defense lawyers, Tony Kavanagh and Andrew Synyshyn challenged recorded evidence and argued the Crown’s case was built on “inferences made from recordings that are difficult to hear.”
At the verdict reading, family members of Tina Fontaine lined the courtroom, according to CBC national news reporter in Manitoba, Karen Pauls on Twitter, “#TinaFontaine‘s biological mother Valentina Duck just walked out of court and said “F&$! you if you think you can get away with this!”
Pauls also said Tina Fontiane’s great-aunt Thelma Favel, who raised her since she was four-years-old, “#RaymondCormier being led out. Thelma yelled at him before he left, now crying “My baby.” Supporters have circled her and are praying the Lord’s Prayer.”
Here are reactions as recorded live by the CBC.
Tweets from all over Indian Country are pouring in regarding the not guilty verdict.