Saskatoon murder trial hears Greg Fertuck took police to place where he allegedly buried his wife's body
A man accused of murdering his wife took undercover officers to the place he had said he buried her, court heard on Tuesday.
Greg Fertuck is charged with first-degree murder in connection to the disappearance of his estranged wife, Sheree Fertuck.
Sheree was last seen on Dec. 7, 2015 leaving her family farm to go haul gravel near Kenaston, Sask.
While Fertuck told officers he killed Sheree and buried her at a rural location near the pit, her body has never been found.
Fertuck was the target of a “Mr. Big sting” — where undercover officers pose as criminals, befriend a suspect and aim to confess.
The technique is controversial and even banned in several countries. Defence lawyers argue that targets are manipulated into giving false confessions.
In Fertuck’s case, he befriends the undercover cops after winning a fake contest trip to Canmore.
The officers tell Fertuck they run a vehicle hauling business that has a criminal side, transporting contraband.
Eventually, Fertuck starts working for the criminal organization.
After months of garnering Fertuck’s trust, the undercover RCMP launch “the crime boss scenario” on June 21, 2019.
In this scenario, Fertuck meets the boss of the fictitious criminal organization in a Saskatoon hotel room rigged with cameras and microphones, according to the RCMP officer who set up the operation.
In the elevator up to meet the boss, Fertuck’s coworker, also an undercover officer, tells him to “tell the truth,” that the organization has his back to “clean up messes.”
In the hotel room, Fertuck tells the boss that he killed Sheree.
In another location, the officer who designed the scenario listens in.
He took the stand, for the second day, in Fertuck’s trial.
“[Fertuck] seemed very certain about aspects of Sheree’s location,” the officer testified.
The undercover officer said Fertuck appeared sober and was making jokes during the search.
They searched for three days, but never found her body.
The officer testified Fertuck told officers he disposed of the rifle he used somewhere near Biggar, Sask.
Fertuck was arrested on June 24, 2019. He was charged with first-degree murder and causing indignity to human remains.
Undercover cops who testify can’t be named under a publication ban to protect the officers’ identity.
The recorded confession may not be accepted as evidence by the judge.
The trial is currently in a voir dire, a trial within a trial, to determine the admissibility of evidence.
First, the details are laid out. Then, the judge will decide if it can be used.
BRAIN INJURY CREATES ROADBLOCKS
Months before the arrest, on Jan. 1, 2019, the undercover tactic got put on hold because Fertuck suffered a brain injury.
The officer testified Fertuck slipped on ice outside a Saskatoon bar and hit his head.
Against doctors’ advice, Fertuck checked himself out of the hospital, the officer testified.
Shortly after, Fertuck fell in his home. Fertuck’s girlfriend called the undercover officers asking for help to get him off the ground.
He had soiled himself, and it was believed he had been on the ground for three-to-four days, the officer testified.
The undercover cops, posed as the couple’s friends, called an ambulance against Fertuck’s wishes.
“We were in a spot in that scenario where there was no other option. He told us he would never talk to us again,” The officer testified.
“That didn’t weigh in on our decision (to call the ambulance) … His health trumps the operation.”
Fertuck was hospitalized from Jan. 10, 2019 to Feb. 15, 2019. Fertuck suffered a brain bruise and a blood clot in his lung.
As officers saw Fertuck’s condition improve, the Mr. Big sting was reignited. But Fertuck showed to have suffered some memory loss during the injury.
“It appeared that he was forgetting certain aspects of what we showed him prior to the head injury,” The officer testified.
As a result of the memory loss, officers had to reintroduce scenarios.
In one of the scenarios, Fertuck witnessed a fight between an undercover officer and his fake girlfriend where she left him on the side of a back road.
Fertuck told the officer if she was his girlfriend he would have “hit her so hard” and made a comment about leaving her body in a rural area.
Prior to Fertuck’s injury, in another scenario, Fertuck was brought to British Columbia and was told to watch over a thumb drive in a hotel room.
Fertuck was believed to think this was part of the criminal organization duties.
Fertuck told the undercover cops that someone broke in, so he killed the person and put the body in the dumpster.
Langley RCMP investigated the claim and watched surveillance footage, but found no evidence.
“It’s my belief that nothing like that occurred,” the officer testified.
The defence has yet to cross-examine the officer.
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