Jury Finds Quebec Man Guilty Of 1st-Degree Murder In 2000 Cold Case | CBC News


Both the Crown and the defence agreed that Marc-André Grenon caused the death of Guylaine Potvin but they disagreed on what he was doing in her apartment and how her death happened.

Marc-André Grenon also found guilty of sexually assaulting Guylaine PotvinCBC News

· Posted: Feb 20, 2024 5:23 PM EST | Last Updated: 6 minutes ago

Marc-André Grenon’s defence lawyer said Grenon broke into Guylaine Potvin’s apartment and killed her, but argued her death occurred during a robbery attempt. (Submitted by Sûreté du Québec)WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced​ ​​​sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

Jurors have found a Quebec man guilty of first-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old junior college student Guylaine Potvin in 2000.

The trial of Marc-André Grenon took place in Saguenay, Que., and the jury’s verdict was delivered Tuesday at 5 p.m., after less than three hours of deliberation.

Spectators in the packed courtroom could be seen hugging and wiping away tears after the verdicts were read.

Grenon, 49, was also found guilty of the aggravated sexual assault of Potvin in her basement apartment in April 2000 in Jonquière, Que., now a part of Saguenay, some 215 kilometres north of Quebec City.

The Crown was pushing for a first-degree murder conviction, arguing that Grenon killed Potvin during the course of a sexual assault that began while she was asleep in her bed.

The defence admitted that Grenon broke into Potvin’s apartment and killed her, but argued that her death happened during a robbery attempt and suggested he be convicted on the lesser charge of second-degree murder.

Earlier in the trial, Superior Court Justice François Huot reminded the jury that a first-degree murder is a homicide that is planned and deliberate, adding that a murder is also considered first-degree if it took place in the same chain of events as a sexual assault.

Contrary to the defence’s argument, Huot clarified that it was not necessary to prove the sexual assault took place before death, only that an assault or attempted assault occurred not long before the killing.

Meeting these conditions justifies a first-degree murder conviction, even if the victim dies before sexual activity begins, Huot said, dismissing the defence’s claim as an “erroneous” interpretation of the law.

First-degree and second-degree murder come with automatic life sentences, but with first-degree murder there is no possibility of parole for 25 years, compared to as little as 10 years for second-degree.

Guylaine Potvin was killed in Jonquière in April 2000. (Submitted by Sûreté du Québec)Huot mentioned the possibility of convicting Grenon of the lesser charge of manslaughter if the evidence didn’t meet the bar for murder, though neither the defence nor the prosecution argued for this. Acquittal regarding the homicide wasn’t presented as an option.

Potvin’s body was discovered on April 28, 2000. A pathologist testified that the CEGEP student died of strangulation with additional injuries, including blunt trauma to her head and shoulder, a bite mark on her left breast, and injuries to her genital area.

Although male DNA was found on the victim’s body, belt and a box of condoms at the scene, there was no match in the police database and no witnesses to the crime.

Police focused on Grenon more than 22 years later after a project by the province’s crime lab tracking Y chromosomes suggested a connection to the last name Grenon.

Grenon was arrested in October 2022 after DNA on two discarded drinking straws matched DNA evidence from the crime scene. This match was confirmed through a second DNA test after Grenon’s arrest.

Fourteen jurors initially heard the evidence, but two were released following the judge’s instructions. The remaining 12 jurors will remain sequestered until a verdict is reached.

Support is available for anyone affected by these reports. You can talk to a mental health professional via Wellness Together Canada by calling 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 686868 for youth or 741741 for adults. It is free and confidential.

with files from The Canadian Press

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