Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar mentioned he does not belief Greg Fertuck.
However Bodnar nonetheless plans to defend Fertuck in a first-degree homicide trial.
“When he drinks, he is not a pleasant particular person. Simply because he is an individual that is not a pleasant particular person — that could be obnoxious, could also be violent at instances, etcetera — does not imply he killed anybody,” Bodnar mentioned.
Greg is accused of killing his estranged spouse Sheree Fertuck in 2015. He informed undercover police that he killed Sheree. The five-week trial was supposed to start Monday, however on Friday afternoon it was adjourned on the final minute till September due to COVID-19 issues.
“The well being and security dangers are simply too nice,” wrote Justice Richard Danyliuk.
The Eleventh-hour adjournment was prompted by a spike in coronavirus variant circumstances within the Regina space and the general public well being suggestion to keep away from journey.
Police suspected Greg of homicide not lengthy after her disappearance, however he wasn’t arrested till 2019.
He known as Bodnar, 72, from jail.
“I used to be fairly properly retired and I keep in mind getting a telephone name at house from Greg in custody. They’d arrested him for the homicide.”
The decision wasn’t sudden. Bodnar, 72, mentioned he had warned Fertuck earlier that this might occur. Bodnar mentioned Fertuck contacted him about “matrimonial work” after Sheree’s disappearance.
Bodnar “hates” matrimonial work, so he did not take it on and as an alternative suggested Greg.
“I mentioned, ‘your spouse is gone and in case you ever get into bother that they determine they’ll cost you on this as a result of they often go after the husband, then give me a name.'”
Fertuck’s trial will start Sept. 7 — pandemic allowing — at Saskatoon’s Court docket of Queen’s Bench. Justice Danyliuk famous in his resolution to adjourn that at the least a dozen witnesses would want to journey from Regina to testify. He mentioned they wanted to attend in particular person to make sure a good trial.
Bodnar informed CBC Information earlier than the adjournment that he anticipated the Crown will give attention to Greg’s character, a report of violence towards Sheree and Greg’s confession to undercover cops.
Police haven’t discovered Sheree’s physique. She was 51 when she disappeared.
Sheree’s semi-truck was discovered deserted on the gravel pit the place she labored in a distant space simply east of Kenaston, Sask., south of Saskatoon. Her coat, keys and cellphone had been nonetheless contained in the truck.
The case appeared to go chilly within the years after her disappearance. What the general public did not know is undercover officers had been focusing on Greg in a Mr. Large operation.
Mr. Large stings contain police pretending to be criminals and forming relationships with cold-case suspects to acquire a confession.
Greg reportedly informed undercover officers he “removed” his spouse Sheree and “threw her within the bush.” After his arrest in 2019, he informed CBC that story was fabricated.
“We went out supposedly searching for the physique. Effectively there was no physique. So we simply drove round completely different locations as a result of it was all B.S.. I by no means — I did not kill her and there was no physique on the market.”
Within the interview, Greg mentioned he liked Sheree and would not damage her.
Bodnar mentioned Mr. Large stings can produce false confessions.
“These Mr. Large eventualities shouldn’t even be allowed in Canada,” he mentioned. “It is a horrible, horrible rip-off that is arrange by the police.”
The case will probably be a check how this Mr. Large operation holds up in court docket, however Bodnar mentioned it is additional difficult by Greg’s alleged reminiscence loss, which Bodnar mentioned occurred after Greg fell and hit his head.
Bodnar mentioned a key issue within the trial will probably be what data gathered throughout the undercover operation the decide permits as proof.
Bodnar first defended Greg virtually a decade in the past after he was accused of assaulting Sheree and having prohibited weapons together with an Uzi.
Greg pleaded responsible to assault towards Sheree and different gun costs. In response to the court docket report, police had been known as after Greg grabbed Sheree by the top and dragged her out of a room throughout an argument.
Bodnar informed the court docket it was truly Sheree who purchased the Uzi and that Greg had an “alcohol drawback.” On July 31, 2012, Fertuck acquired a six-month conditional sentence to be served in the neighborhood.
“He agreed to the responsible plea as long as he did not go to jail. It does not imply that he feels he was responsible,” Bodnar mentioned.
This time round, Bodnar is looking for an acquittal. Bodnar mentioned he does not imagine the Crown has sufficient proof to corroborate the confession, ought to the decide settle for it as proof. Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss declined an interview with CBC earlier than the trial.
Bodnar insists the upcoming trial will probably be his final earlier than he retires. The defence lawyer has practised for practically half a century, spending a long time taking up high-profile circumstances of rape, drug trafficking, confinement and homicide.
Bodnar has labored so many homicides that he cannot hold observe.
There’s one specifically he cannot let go: George Allgood, who was charged of first-degree homicide after he was focused in a Mr. Large sting. He was sentenced to life in jail. Bodnar mentioned he does not imagine that was simply.
Bodnar mentioned something however an acquittal is a “demise sentence” for Greg, who’s 67-years-old.
Greg has been in jail since he was arrested in 2019. Bodnar mentioned in mid-March that his shopper “cannot look forward to the trial to go forward” and neither can he. But it surely was Bodnar who requested the adjournment due to the coronavirus, waiving his shopper’s Constitution rights to a well timed trial. Justice Danyliuk famous the Crown wished to proceed in some trend.
Bodnar mentioned it is bittersweet as he seems to what’s past: hopping into the cellular house together with his spouse and heading west to see their grandchildren. Nonetheless, even after 48-years, he is hesitant to depart the job behind.
He mentioned digging into the proof within the lead as much as a trial appears like flipping by means of the crime novels he enjoys, however he holds the ability to affect the ending.
“It is a good thriller, nevertheless it does not have an ending,” he mentioned. “You are making an attempt to find out the ending to go a sure method, realizing the Crown’s making an attempt to make it go a unique method — and that I discover very satisfying.”