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Former Sask. Mountie claims he was forced into sex with man he's accused of killing

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A former Saskatchewan Mountie charged with first-degree murder said he was sometimes blackmailed and forced to have sex with the man he’s accused of killing.

Bernie Herman, a 33-year member of the RCMP, took the stand in his own defence on Thursday.

The 55-year-old is on trial charged with the murder of 26-year-old Braden Herman in May of 2021. 

The two are not related.

Herman said he did not intend to kill Braden when they drove to the isolated area where his body was later found.

On the day of the alleged murder, Herman said he took an ATV training course through work. He testified he took his uniform and “gun belt” home to clean it, because the machine he would normally use was broken.

He said on his way home, Braden asked him for a ride, so he picked him up. He said they went for coffee and then grabbed some food. He told court while in the drive-thru Braden pulled-down his pants and made him perform oral sex.

Herman said Braden then suggested they go to Prince Albert’s Little Red River Park. He said Braden was the one who took them to a secluded area in the park.

Bernie Herman, left, and Braden Herman, right, pose in a handout photo provided by Braden's family. Bernie Herman, a former Saskatchewan Mountie, is on trial for first-degree murder in the 2021 death of Braden Herman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Brett Herman

“I know his motives, he wants to have sex,” Herman testified.

He said they parked and got out of his truck, and Braden took off all of his clothes.

“He pushed me against the door and started kissing me and then he put his hands down my pants,” Herman testified.

He said Braden was upset because he didn’t have an erection.

Herman told court Braden said, “You better not be cheating on me because you know what I’m going to do to you.”

He said he doesn’t remember drawing or shooting his gun.

“All of a sudden, boom, my gun went off,” he said.

Herman said his ears were ringing.

“I seen him falling on his back and then I panicked and took off,” he testified.

He said he drove to an area near the Prince Albert airport, and then contemplated suicide.

“I was staring down the barrel of the gun, ready to pull the trigger,” Herman said.

He said he then called his friend. Court heard he told his friend, “I shot him and ran him over.”

Court heard earlier that day, he called Braden dozens of times.

A recording of one of those calls were played in court. Court heard Braden said “I love you” and wanted Herman to say it back.

(Source: Facebook / Rochelle Rockley Ryley)

According to previous trial testimony, Braden moved into Herman’s home in 2018 and lived with him for about a year.

Herman testified during that time he would sleep with him to help calm Braden's anxiety.

He said Braden began touching him without consent, and eventually they formed a sexual relationship.

Herman said at times the sex “was not consensual”.

He said Braden would “force” him to have sex by threatening to hurt him, send his nude photos to his wife and friends and tell them about their relationship.

Crown prosecutor Jennifer Schmidt expressed skepticism about Herman's testimony, arguing that Braden would have a tough time putting his hand in Herman’s pants since he was wearing a duty belt.

“You have to keep it clipped to your body,” she said.

“I don’t wear it tight,” Herman replied.

She said Herman had the truck keys, while Braden was naked and barefoot.

“You could have got in the truck and drove away,” she said.

Herman said he was scared of future repercussions.

Schmidt said as a trained police officer, Herman should have performed life-saving measures or called for help.

“You waited an hour before calling for help,” she said.

Closing arguments from the Crown and defence councils are scheduled for Wednesday morning. 

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