A Crown prosecutor continued to look for inconsistencies Wednesday in multiple lies a man told investigators, colleagues and his family on the morning he found a woman’s bloody body in his hotel room bathtub.
Bradley Barton, 52, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter in the death of Cindy Gladue, a 36-year-old Metis and Cree mother, at Edmonton’s Yellowhead Inn in June 2011.
A jury trial has heard that Gladue had four times the legal limit of alcohol in her system when she died. Medical experts have testified she suffered from a severe and painful wound to her vagina and bled to death.
Wednesday was Barton’s third day on the witness stand.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Julie Snowdon suggested that Barton pretended to be in shock the morning he found Gladue and lied to police about how he knew the woman to cover up his crime.
Barton, who is from Mississauga, Ont., has testified that he told many lies because he didn’t want his wife and twin sons to know he had paid Gladue for sex.
“Mr. Barton, you didn’t start telling detailed exculpatory lies because you were shocked. You started telling those lies because you were trying to conceal your involvement, right? That’s the obvious explanation,” said Snowdon.
“I can’t recall. Yes, I was involved with the young lady. Yes, I did lie to 911,” Barton responded.
This is the second trial for Barton in relation to Gladue’s death. His first trial in 2015 sparked rallies and calls for justice for Indigenous women. The case ended up before the Supreme Court of Canada. The high court ordered in 2019 that Barton be retried.
GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.
On Monday, Barton testified that after he checked into the hotel, he asked a man he saw picking up cigarette butts if he had a lady friend, and the man brought Gladue to him. Barton said he offered her $60, they had consensual sex, then Gladue left the hotel.
He testified that he called her the next day and she returned to the hotel for a second night of sex. He said he put all five fingers into her vagina up to his knuckles, then noticed blood on his hand. He said she went to the bathroom, fell asleep and woke up in the morning to find her dead in the tub.
Snowdon suggested Barton forced his knuckles into Gladue while she was intoxicated and lying in the middle of the bed.
“There was no force,” said Barton, who added that Gladue “wasn’t very intoxicated.”
Snowdon also suggested Barton picked up Gladue with a comforter, while she was bleeding profusely, carried her to the bathroom and dumped her in the tub.
“You let her bleed to death, and you didn’t call for help right after she was injured,” Snowdon said.
“No, I did not,” Barton said.
Snowdon read transcripts to the jury of Barton’s first 911 call the next morning. Barton told the operator that he was shaking because of the shock he felt after seeing Gladue in the bathroom with blood splattered everywhere.
“I suggest to you, Mr. Barton, that is one of your many fabrications that you were pretending to be shaken up because that’s how you thought a person should react,” Snowdon said.
“No, definitely not,” Barton responded.
Earlier in the trial, security footage was played showing Barton getting coffee and returning to his room after checking out.
Barton has testified that he met a colleague that morning and told him that he’d found the woman’s body. The colleague told him to call police. Barton said he lied to hotel staff about forgetting papers so he could get back into his room, where he called 911.
Snowdon suggested Barton appeared calm in the footage before he called, but during the call he sounded like he had just woken up.
“You left out the whole part about leaving the room for at least half an hour, right?” Snowdon asked.
“I called the police,” Barton said.
“You just left out things that made you look bad and you included things you thought made you look good,” Snowdon said.
“I don’t know if it made me look bad or not. Like I said earlier, I was in shock,” Barton responded.
The trial also heard about an exchange Barton had with an undercover police officer in a prison van five days after his arrest. According to a transcript, Barton told the officer that he had given his hotel room to Gladue and another man for two nights, and he slept in his truck.
Barton told the officer he didn’t kill Gladue, but “if I did it, I would have buried the girl, wrapped her up in my carryout or my truck, cleaned the room up. She would have disappeared down the highway 2,000 miles away from here.”
Snowdon said she expects to finish cross-examination of Barton on Thursday.