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SAINT-JEROME, Que. — A former neighbour of a Quebec man charged with killing his young children has testified that he showed a flash of anger in him as he discussed the breakup of his marriage.
“You don’t know me,” Johanne Leclair quoted Guy Turcotte as saying as they chatted in 2009, not long before the slayings.
Turcotte, 43, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the killings of his son Olivier, 5, and daughter Anne-Sophie, 3, but has admitted to causing the deaths on Feb. 20, 2009.
She told jurors Tuesday the flash was a sudden change in his demeanour — one she’d never witnessed while living next door to him and his ex-wife since 2003 as well as often babysitting the two youngsters.
Turcotte had come to see her to ask if she could watch the kids on Feb. 21, 2009 — the day after they’d eventually be killed.
Leclair testified that Turcotte confided in her that his separation from Isabelle Gaston, the children’s mother, was difficult.
She said he described a run-in with Gaston’s new boyfriend, Martin Huot, at the couple’s former home, in which the latter was punched in the face.
Leclair said she tried to reason with Turcotte, reminding him he was a public figure with a career as a cardiologist at the Saint-Jerome hospital.
“I told him: ‘this isn’t possible, Guy, you are so nice,” she testified.
“He said, ‘You do not know me’ with a look I had never seen,” she said, describing an anger in him. “I didn’t know this look.”
She testified that Turcotte emphasized the words by pointing his finger at her, a gesture Leclair said frightened her and led her to back off.
Earlier on Tuesday, a police investigator who searched Turcotte’s laptop said the accused looked on the Internet for material related to suicide and methanol in the days leading up to the slayings.
Provincial police investigator Michel Dufour conducted the search, testifying the word ‘suicide’ did not come up prior to Feb. 15, 2009 — the same date Turcotte’s laptop was used to gain access to what was described as a discussion forum on suicide.
Dufour’s examination also turned up searches on methanol — a toxic alcohol — and thylene glycol.
The jury has heard Turcotte arrived at the hospital the morning after the slayings with an unknown level of toxic alcohol in his bloodstream.
A container of windshield washer fluid — which contains methanol — was seized by police in the bathroom of the family home.
Turcotte’s lawyer, Pierre Poupart, attempted Tuesday to discredit the information gathered as incomplete, error-laden and incomprehensible.
“Pages and pages of inexplicable scribbles,” Poupart said at one point about the computer records filed in evidence.
Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press
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