Mother of victim forced to crowdfund trip to Montreal murder trial

A little over two weeks ago Sylvie Berthiaume says she received an unexpected call that brought with it a rush of panic.

The trial of the man accused of killing her 30-year-old son Maxime in 2013 would begin March 13 — almost 10 months earlier than she had expected.

"It made me dizzy, I thought it was a year away," said Berthiaume, a former Montrealer who moved to Dax, France, about eight years ago. "It's a helpless feeling."

She said the trial was originally scheduled to begin in January 2018, but it was possibly moved forward because of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that set out guidelines for how long it should take a trial to be completed.

Maxime Berthiaume and his 29-year-old partner Marjorie Dammier were killed on Oct. 8, 2013.

The couple were found dead in a Lasalle apartment after neighbours reported hearing gunshots.

Altamond Jr. Little was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in their deaths a little more than a week later.

Berthiaume had hoped to save up some money over the next year, but after being told the date had been moved up, her mind began to race.

Seeking closure

She wondered how she would be able to afford the cost of travel, how she would get to and from the courthouse, and even if she would have enough money to feed herself for the duration of the trial.

"When I found out, it was like when they told me my son was murdered," said Berthiaume.

With just days to get the money together, Berthiaume turned to a crowdfunding website to cover the costs of her trip to Montreal.

At first she received few donations, but after getting some media attention she was able to get enough money together for a flight to Montreal.

For Berthiaume, the trial brings with it the possibility of closure and hopefully answers about the night her son died.

"Since Maxime was murdered, I've had no life," she said.

"I've been trying to live a normal life, but it's not working. What will help me get my life back is really this trial."

Berthiaume said her flight will arrive on Monday, just in time for the start of the trial.

She plans to stay with her parents in Chambly for as long as it takes.