EDMONTON — A judge has sequestered a jury but has instructed them to begin their deliberations Friday morning in the trial of a man accused of killing a woman whose bloody body was found in the bathtub of his Edmonton hotel room.
Bradley Barton has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the death of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old Metis and Cree woman, at the Yellowhead Inn in June 2011.
Barton, 52, testified that he arranged to pay Gladue for sex and was shocked when he woke the next morning to find her dead in the tub.
The Crown has argued Barton performed a sexual act on Gladue while she was passed out and, when she was bleeding profusely, dumped her in the tub.
Medical experts have testified that Gladue bled to death from a wound in her vagina and had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her blood.
Jurors have been told they must determine whether Gladue consented to the sexual activity and whether Barton knowingly injured her.
This is the second trial for Barton in relation to Gladue’s death. A jury found him not guilty in 2015 of first-degree murder, which sparked rallies and calls for justice for Indigenous women.
Gladue was repeatedly referred to in the first trial as a "native" and a "prostitute." The Crown also showed the jury her preserved vaginal tissue as an exhibit in an effort to explain her injury.
The Alberta Court of Appeal set aside the acquittal and ordered a new first-degree murder trial. The Supreme Court of Canada later agreed, ruling that Gladue's sexual history was mishandled and all Canadians are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect under the law.
In his instructions to jurors Thursday, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Stephen Hillier cautioned them about stereotyping Indigenous persons.
"This is particularly significant as Indigenous women and girls have been subjected to a long history of colonization and systemic racism, the effects of which continue to be felt," Hillier said.
His charge to the jury lasted several hours and stretched into the evening.
The delay happened because two members of the initial 13-member jury were excused. It was brought to the court’s attention that they were not impartial.
During the afternoon break, Judge Hillier was notified that one of the jury members had expressed that working in the sex trade was “bad” and that Gladue would have lived had she not exchanged sex for money with Barton.
Another jury member was excused because he was trying to sway the opinion of other jurors.
An Indigenous drumming ceremony was held in the afternoon outside the courthouse for Gladue's family while they wait for a verdict.
Up to 30 people gathered outside the courthouse.
"We need to let Canada know that we are listening and that Cindy is still waiting for justice," said an invitation to the ceremony.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press