Death of Charlevoix woman ruled homicide, partner charged with 2nd degree murder

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Carolyne Labonté was 40 and the mother of three children. (Facebook - image credit)
Carolyne Labonté was 40 and the mother of three children. (Facebook - image credit)

The death last month of a 40-year-old woman in the Charlevoix region has been reclassified as a homicide, and prosecutors on Tuesday charged the woman's partner with second-degree murder.

The victim, Carolyne Labonté, is the ninth woman in Quebec to have died this year in a suspected case of domestic violence.

Advocates say violence against women has increased significantly during the pandemic, and they have demanded action from the government.

"We have to instill a visceral intolerance to violence," Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said Tuesday, adding that people should signal alarming behaviour as soon as possible.

"We can't be afraid of involving ourselves in other people's business," she said.

Labonté was found dead on March 18 in her home in Notre-Dame-des-Monts, though the initial cause of her death wasn't clear.

A Sûreté du Québec spokesperson said Monday that subsequent ballistic analysis, as well as the autopsy results, led investigators to believe she was killed.

Labonté's partner, Éric Levasseur, was initially arrested March 26 on gun-related charges in Valleyfield, Que., around 450 kilometres away from the homicide scene.

The 46-year-old appeared via videoconference before a judge in La Malbaie on Tuesday morning. Along with murder, Levasseur also stands accused of three charges of illegally possessing a weapon.

He will remain detained at least until his next court appearance, May 5.