The Supreme Court of Canada will not be hearing an appeal in the case of Ugo Fredette, who was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder for 2017 killings that triggered one of the longest Amber Alerts in the province's history.
A jury found Fredette guilty in October 2019 of first-degree murder in the death of his ex-spouse, Véronique Barbe, and in the case of Yvon Lacasse — a man he killed at a rest stop to steal his vehicle.
Fredette had fled the scene of Barbe's murder with a six-year-old child, triggering an Amber Alert, one of the longest in the province's history, and later, killed Lacasse while on the run.
He was arrested the next day in Ontario, and Lacasse's body was later found near the town of Arundel, Qc. The child was unharmed.
Fredette was sentenced to life in prison without possibility for parole for 25 years.
However, he appealed the verdict, claiming that Superior Court judge Myriam Lachance had not properly instructed the jury.
To be found guilty of the first-degree murder of Barbe, the jurors had to unanimously conclude that he had harassed or kidnapped her, or both. In Lacasse's case, they had to conclude that the murder was either premeditated, or that the killer had already taken the child and was on the run when the man was killed.
Jury members did not have to be unanimous on which factor led them to their decision.
Fredette's lawyers argued that the jurors should have had to be unanimous on how they arrived at first-degree murder. They argued that there wasn't "overwhelming" evidence pointing to the aggravating circumstances that led up to the crimes.
The lawyers argued that a divided jury on the question could have led to an acquittal.
However, Quebec's Court of Appeal concluded that the judge had made no error. It ruled that the jury did not have to agree on all the circumstances and aggravating factors as long as they were unanimous that there were factors that led them to believe Fredette was guilty of first-degree murder.
Fredette's lawyers then attempted to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court, which was dismissed, officially exhausting his legal options to appeal the verdict.