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Christopher Garnier takes the stand in murder trial

Christopher Garnier
Christopher Garnier FILE

UPDATED 12 p.m. Dec. 12:

Under cross-examination, Garnier said that "I was feeling a lot of things," the day of his arrest and his friend Mitch Devoe told him earlier that police had searched both his home and the nearby dumpster.

Regarding the night Campbell died, Garnier recalled the conversation about domination as it stood out from everything else up to that point. He recalled how Campbell got onto the pullout couch bed. Regarding the domination aspect, Ball told Garnier, "you're uncomfortable because this person you don't know, according to you, has suggested domination." She also said, "You're so uncomfortable you can't even look this stranger in the face but you hit her three times." Ball pointed to Garnier's testimony that he hit Campbell with his non-dominant hand while not looking at her.

 

UPDATED 11 a.m., Dec. 12.: 

Christopher Garnier is back on the stand today and prosecutor Carla Ball is going through is police interview transcript line by line, picking apart alleged inconsistencies in what he told police.

For example, his first responder training taught him not to move injured people, especially those with suspected neck injuries. However, Garnier shook/moved Campbell and Ball said this would make a neck injury worse. Garnier said that, "I wasn't thinking about what I was doing."

Ball also focused on the noises Campbell made as she died, saying, "You're a trained first responder and you don't know what the noises is you're hearing?"

Earlier, Ball also asked Garnier about Campbell’s positioning on the pullout couch mattress on 5714 McCully Street the night she died. She noted that Garnier was haunted by the image of it but there were inconsistencies in how he recalled her positioning.

Garnier said that, "I told them what they wanted to hear," regarding his police interview on Sept. 16, 2015.

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HALIFAX – Christopher Garnier took the stand and fought back tears as he revealed his recollection of what happened between himself and Catherine Campbell at his trial in Halifax Monday.

He told the court that he remembered choking Campbell in what he described as consensual 'erotic asphyxiation' sexual play in the early hours of Sept. 11, 2015.

Earlier, the pair had met at the Halifax Alehouse before taking a cab back to his friend's place on 5714 McCully Street, where Garnier said that Campbell asked him to choke her.

"I put my right hand on her neck," Garnier said.

Garnier added that the two of them kissed in the apartment as well, and Campbell asked him to apply more pressure, so he placed a second hand on her neck.

Garnier said he then led Campbell down the hallway as his hands cupped her jaw.

Garnier, using a courtroom table, then demonstrated how they lay on a pullout couch mattress in the apartment.

As he placed his forearm on her neck, lying on his left side, Garnier said that "I was masturbating her at this point."

While there was masturbation, there was no sexual intercourse, according to Garnier.

He said that Campbell asked him to slap her, which he did three times.

Garnier told the court that Campbell did not resist at any point, but he would have stopped if she had.

Soon after, Garnier felt and saw blood. He got up to grab a towel and noticed something was wrong.

"I shook her a little bit and I could hear air coming out of her lungs," Garnier told the court.

He told the court that he stared at her from the nearby doorway, saying that is ears rang and at one point he vomited.

"I was getting sick to my stomach," said Garnier.

He remembered the mattress and looking at the Macdonald Bridge and the on-ramp.

The Crown alleges that Garnier used a green bin to transport Campbell's body to the bridge and left it underneath in the early morning of Sept. 11, 2015.

But Garnier did not remember the bin or arriving back.

Garnier said that he remembered his friend, Mitch Devoe, waking him up the next day.

He told the court that him and Campbell never fought or argued on the night they met.

"She was nice to me all night," recalled Garnier.

He gave his testimony weeks after defence lawyer Joel Pink laid out a hypothetical situation of how erotic 'breath play' could lead to accidental death.

However, the Crown alleges that Garnier committed second degree murder.

"The Crown's belief is absolutely wrong," said Pink in his opening remarks.

Garnier was staying at Devoe's place starting Sept. 10, when he and his girlfriend Brittany Francis decided to separate.

The two of them met up at the McCully Street apartment, where they drank some rum and smoked a little marijuana before heading downtown.

After drinking more at Cheers, Garnier said that they went to the Alehouse later that night.

There, Devoe left soon after and ended up in the drunk tank.

Garnier stayed on and met Campbell, who was sitting at a table near his.

They started kissing and making out, being told to cool it twice by bar staff before leaving for McCully, Garnier told the court.

While on the stand, Garnier read a letter to Campbell's family in court as he fought back tears. One of the family members shook her head.

Under cross-examination by the prosecution, Garnier said that he said what he said in the interrogation room because he was telling police what he thought they wanted to hear about Campbell's death. The Crown pointed out that both his mother and friend Mitch are nurses and EHS were across the street, but he did not do anything to determine whether or not Campbell was actually dead. Garnier said that he could not remember everything. "It was like watching someone else in my body."

Garnier himself was a firefighter and had training.

He said that he returned to the Macdonald bridge a number of times between Campbell's death on Sept 11 and his arrest five days later. He said that he convinced himself Campbell was only missing and that "I knew something bad had happened."

Prosecutor Carla Ball asked him about the mattress from the sofa bed and questioned aspects of Garnier's version of events.

She said "You're thinking well enough to find the most dense piece of brush between McCully Street and the Harbour," when it came to his alleged hiding of Campbell's body.

The Crown also questioned Garnier about the half-can of gas, gloves and tarp in his vehicle. He said he wanted to go to the woods.

Ball said he wanted to move the body from the bridge. "You knew the police were on to you."

Ball also brought up his use of Cipralex, an anti-depressant that he had stopped taking 10 days before the arrest. She mentioned the searches about Cipralex and violence found on his seized computer. There were no searches relating to punching or strangling people, Garnier said.

Ball also brought up the images that Garnier had in his head of Campbell.

"You had killed her in Mitch's apartment and dragged her out into the back yard."

Garnier maintained that he did not murder her and that her death was an accident.

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