Bizarre encounter worried couple days before their deaths

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Bizarre encounter worried couple days before their deaths

Three days before Alban and Raymonde Garon were found bound, gagged and beaten to death in their Ottawa apartment, they told dinner companions about a bizarre visit from a man claiming to be a courier, relatives testified at the first-degree murder trial of Ian Bush Friday. 

Bush, 61, has pleaded not guilty to three charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of the Garons and their neighbour, Marie-Claire Beniskos.

Their bodies were discovered in the Garons' 10th-floor apartment at 1510 Riverside Dr. on June 30, 2007. Police believe they died the day before, on June 29.

On Friday, Crown lawyer James Cavanagh called Richard Lurette to the witness box. The brother of Raymonde Garon was among the friends and relatives who attended a dinner at Bistro Saint Sauveur in Saint-Sauveur, Que., on June 27, 2007.

Troubling visit

Lurette testified he was concerned when his sister told the gathering about a man who had recently shown up unannounced at the couple's door.

Lurette said his sister described the man as being dressed like a courier, and said he claimed to have a package for her husband. When she told him Alban Garon wasn't home and offered to accept the package on his behalf, the man told her it was downstairs in his truck.

She offered to go down with him to pick it up, but the man said he'd return the next day, Lurette recalled.

Lurette said his sister found the visit troubling because 1510 Riverside Dr. was normally a secure building where visitors had to register at a guard house before driving onto the property. A guard would then call up to the tenant to make sure the visitor was expected before allowing access to the parking lot. Once inside the building's main entrance, visitors had to be buzzed in by the resident.

Planned to inform police

Lurette advised the couple to call police, and said as far as he knew, they planned to do so.

Raymonde Garon's cousins Danielle and Micheline L'Ecuyer, who also attended the dinner in Saint-Sauveur, gave similar testimony about the encounter with the courier. Danielle L'Ecuyer told court she recalled hearing the incident took place the same day as the dinner, June 27.

Micheline L'Ecuyer testified she assumed the encounter had happened early in the morning because that was when Alban Garon would normally be out for his daily walk.

On cross-examination defence lawyer Geraldine Castle-Trudel asked Lurette whether his sister had described the courier in terms of his accent or racial background.

Lurette replied that he had assumed the man was white because his sister didn't specify otherwise. She did say the man was wearing a sweater with a crest of some kind, indicating that he worked for a courier company, Lurette testified.

On Wednesday the Crown said it plans to enter into evidence identification cards for a hydro worker, a government worker, an RCMP inspector and a courier company employee, all found at a residence belonging to Ian Bush in 2015.

The trial resumes Monday.