RCMP investigators pulled out all the stops when they arrested and interviewed Greg Fertuck on Oct. 25, 2017, in connection with his wife Sheree Fertuck's disappearance.
Two veteran officers went head-to-head with the suspected killer for six hours at the Saskatoon detachment. Staff Sgt. Charles Lerat did the primary interview, while Sgt. Chad Clark did an evidence presentation using still photos and video that laid out the police case against Greg.
At one point, they enlisted the help of Lanna Fertuck, the youngest daughter of Greg and Sheree, to try to shock a confession out of the 64 year old.
"It was a shot in the dark," Lerat testified prior to the tape's playing in court.
"Perhaps if Greg was an emotional person, it would be beneficial to find Sheree."
But Greg never broke and, although arrested, he was not charged. He maintained that he did not kill his wife, did not hire anyone to kill her and he did not know what caused her to disappear from a gravel pit near Kenaston on Dec. 7, 2015.
Greg could not, however, explain why a cell phone tower near Kenaston "pinged," or marked, a call to his phone at 1:20 p.m. CST that day.
He also had no explanation how a blood spot that matched Sheree's DNA profile came to be in a seam on his truck tailgate.
"If I had a bad knee, how could I load a 250-pound woman in my truck," he said.
The Crown began playing the full six-hour interview recording Monday at Court of Queen's Bench. This is the third week of Greg's first-degree murder trial.
The Crown's theory is that Greg shot his ex-wife twice during a confrontation at the gravel pit and then moved her body to another location in the country.
The theory is based on disclosures Greg made to undercover police officers posing as criminals in an elaborate sting operation. The admissibility of these statements has yet to be determined by Justice Richard Danyliuk.
The six-hour interview offers a glimpse into how police interrogate murder suspects.
Greg was arrested at 10 a.m. CST that day, but the interview did not begin until just after 6:30 p.m. Lerat apologizes on the tape to Greg for the delay, saying that he'd been detained in Prince Albert.
In fact, Lerat testified Monday that he had been interviewing Doris Laroque, Greg's landlady and lover, that afternoon hoping to glean details he could use when he interviewed Greg.
Lerat says at the start that he's interviewing Greg because the other investigators may be too close to the case and have tunnel vision.
"You are a suspect, but I'm going to be neutral on this," he said.
"We've considered that she has disappeared to parts unknown. We have to look at everything."
Lerat then asks outright, "Did you kill Sheree?"
"No," Greg replies.
"Did you have anything to do with it?"
"Did you hire anyone?"
Greg chuckles. "I had no money. No."
Lerat spends the first hour of the interview with small talk to build a rapport with Greg. They talk about guns, hunting and trucks, growing up in the Biggar area, possible mutual acquaintances at CN where Greg worked more than three decades, and Greg's struggles with drinking.
At one point, Lerat suggests that Greg's first interview with the RCMP, done two days after Sheree disappeared, would be ruled inadmissible because he'd been drinking that day after four years of sobriety.
On Sept. 17, however, Justice Richard Danyliuk ruled it admissible for the purposes of the voir dire.
At several points in the interrogation Greg hesitates to continue speaking, saying that his lawyer Morris Bodnar had clearly instructed him not to talk to police.
Lerat thanks him for his honesty up until that point, saying that he's clarified things that have troubled investigators, and then asks Greg questions to re-engage him in the interview.
For instance, Lerat suggests that Greg deliberately misled RCMP about whether he washed his truck on the day that Sheree disappeared. Lerat said that Greg told police he had not washed the truck, but that there was video evidence from Vern's Car Wash showing him there on Dec. 7.
Greg counters that he never said he hadn't washed his truck that day, and then moves on to explaining why he had washed it.
Lerat uses that same tactic at three different junctures when Greg suggests he should stop talking. The interview continues each time.
Justice Danyliuk will rule after whether the interview can be entered as evidence in the voir dire after it is done being played.