'A lot of blood:' Officer describes hotel room on first day of manslaughter trial

EDMONTON — Blood was splattered nearly everywhere in thebathroom of an Edmonton hotel room, when police found the lifeless body of Cindy Gladue in a bathtub a decade ago.

Edmonton police Const. Meghan Hawrish described for a jury Monday the graphic scene in Room 139 of the Yellowhead Inn.

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Ontario truck driver Bradley David Barton, 52, is accused of killing Gladue, a 36-year-old Métis and Cree woman, after a night of drinking.

Wearing a grey T-shirt and pants, Barton stood tall in court on the first day of the trial and pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

Hawrish was the first witness to take the stand and described where Gladue was found on the morning of June 22, 2011.

The officer pointed to photos she took of drops of blood on the hotel bed and a pillow. There was significantly more blood on the bathroom floor, the sink faucet, all over the bathroom walls, on towels, in the soap holder, on the bathroom door’s frame and in the tub with Gladue's body.

Next to the bed, there was also a bundled up comforter with more blood stains, Hawrish testified.

"There was a lot of blood," testified Det. Nancy Ho, with the crime scenes investigations unit, who responded to the call with Hawrish.

GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.

Gladue’s mother, Donna McLeod, sat in the gallery at Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench as a judge warned that evidence during the trial will be graphic and unsettling.

Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon said in her opening statement that an autopsy found Gladue died from blood loss due to a catastrophic and unusual wound in her vagina wall.

"Her vagina was torn all the way through," Snowdon told the jury.

"The fatal wound spanned 11 centimetres," she said. "It perforated the entire thickness of her vaginal wall."

Snowdon added that after calling police, Barton gave different versions of his interactions with Gladue to officers and a colleague.

Barton, who was working at the time as a long-distance furniture mover, had been drinking with Gladue the night before, said Snowdon. Security footage showed the two going to Barton's room.

The next morning, at about 7:40 a.m., footage showed Barton checking out of the hotel and meeting a colleague in the parking lot, the prosecutor said.

She said Barton told the colleague that a woman had knocked on his room door the night before and asked to take a shower. The next morning, Barton told the colleague, he woke up and found her unresponsive and naked in the tub.

The colleague told Barton to call police, so he went back to the room and did so, said Snowdon.

She added that when police arrived, Barton told a longer story to investigators about how he met Gladue. He said the woman arrived at his door and she offered herself to him sexually, but he declined.

Snowden said that during the trial, evidence about Barton's internet search history will be presented to show that nine days before Gladue's death, he did a Google search of "vaginas getting ripped or tornby large objects."

Barton's trial, set for about seven weeks, is to resume Tuesday afternoon.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story; a previous version said Snowden said that Barton said he had been drinking with Gladue.

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