by Jake Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
*Content Warning: This story includes graphic and disturbing details.
(ANNews) – Bradley Barton has been found guilty of manslaughter in the 2011 death of Cindy Gladue.
Her death happened over ten years ago due to a fatal injury that was believed to be caused by Barton during a rough sex act in a west Edmonton hotel suite.
After experiencing an 11-centimetre wound within her vaginal wall, Gladue – who was working as a sex-worker at the time – bled to death in the hotel bathtub while Barton slept in the next room.
The Indigenous mother of three’s naked body was found the next morning on June 22, 2011.
Charging Barton has been a long, arduous process as this is the second time that Barton has been tried for the death of Gladue. The first trial happened in 2015 with the final verdict being an acquittal.
The 2015 acquittal caused many people in Canada and Edmonton to protest the decision with many calling into question the Canadian courts ability to judge an Indigenous case and to call for justice for Indigenous women.
The Alberta Court of Appeal (ACA) then set aside the acquittal and ordered a new trial in 2017. The Supreme Court of Canada however, partially overturned the ACAs decision and requested a new trial on the manslaughter charge only.
Much of the latest trial was centered on issues of consent, credibility, the wound itself, and the graphic evidence.
For instance, it was revealed that Barton had initially told the 911 operator that Gladue asked to use his shower that night and that he let her use it while he went to sleep. He said that he woke up the next morning to find her body in the bathtub. This story was also repeated to a homicide detective.
Meanwhile, closed-circuit video showed Barton and Galdue walking hand-in-hand into the hotel room the night before her death where it is believed they exchanged numbers to meet again.
It should also be noted that Barton only called the police after he had checked out, bought a coffee, and met with a co-worker. He said he didn’t call the police immediately because he didn’t want his wife to know that he paid for sex.
After admitting that their meeting was sexual, Barton said the activities were consensual however an autopsy revealed that Gladue had four-times the legal alcohol limit which brought her ability to provide consent into question.
“He lied shamelessly whenever he needed to,” prosecutor Lawrence Van Dyke told the jury. “Whenever he thought he had something to gain.”
Gladue, a woman of Métis and Cree ancestry, had lived most of her life in Edmonton. She is survived by her mother and three daughters.
“To have him being found guilty … Cindy has won her victory,” Gladue’s friend Kari Thomason said. “Cindy’s voice has been heard. And that is what has to happen to all of our Aboriginal women — their voices have to be heard.”
Meanwhile, Barton’s lawyer Dino Bottos said while he was disappointed in the verdict, he wasn’t surprised. “It is hard to address a jury just on the strengths and weaknesses of a case, based on evidence, when there is this large and overwhelming spirit in the community, and a cry for justice in the community, that wanted Ms. Gladue’s death vindicated,” he said.
“So there are those dynamics at play. I hope they didn’t get into the jury room but that was one of our fears.”
Bottos then announced that he would attempt to get the new verdict appealed.
Barton’s sentence hearing will be decided on Friday, Feb 26 when the crown and defence reconvene to find a date.