Officers who questioned murder suspect five months after death of Duane Brett Ledoux take stand at Court of Queen’s Bench

The police officers responsible for interviewing Marrissa Bird about her alleged involvement in the Duane Brett Ledoux murder case were back on the stand at the Court of Queen’s Bench on Tuesday.

Sgt. Scott Hayes and Const. Lisa Simonson of the Prince Albert Police Service answered questions about a more than seven hour interview they conducted with Bird in January 2018, roughly five months after officers found Ledoux’s body inside a Prince Albert residence.

Defence lawyer Patrick McDougall focused his questions on why police held Bird for such a long time, even though she made it clear she wasn’t willing to talk. Bird was already in custody for a different matter at the time of the interview.

The court viewed the final few hours of that interview Tuesday morning. That footage shows Bird repeatedly saying “I refuse to answer” when asked questions about her involvement with Ledoux and the Prince Albert chapter of the Terror Squad street gang.

When asked about the lengthy process, Simonson said there was no pre-determined plan to question Bird for so long.

“I had no timeframe in my mind,” Simonson told the court.

McDougall’s other questions focused on why officers did not ask Bird if she wanted a lawyer, and why they provided cigarettes to Bird during the interview.

Simonson testified that Bird provided them with the name and law firm of a someone who had represented her before, but officers found out there was no one of that name practicing law in Prince Albert.

Police were eventually able to track down Bird’s representative, but the lawyer’s arrival was delayed. Officers later moved Bird from Pine Grove Correctional Centre to a cell in the Prince Albert RCMP building for the interview.

Hayes can be seen on video reading Bird her rights at the start of the interview, but neither asked her a second time if she wanted a lawyer.

McDougall also raised questions about cigarette smoking during the interview. Hayes gave cigarettes to Bird during the interview and allowed her to smoke them. He told the court Prince Albert police sometimes allow suspects to smoke in the PAPS interview room when they’re speaking with police.

McDougall said that might be okay for city facilities, but it shouldn’t have been allowed at the RCMP building, since smoking is banned in federal government workplaces.

During the interview, Hayes showed Bird some of her social media posts and messages, which police say they recovered during their investigation. They include messages in which she claims to be at the “top of all (the) PA terror squad” and “well protected.”

Others posts and messages allege that Bird only pretends to be a sweet girl, and is in fact trying to make a name for herself as a hitman. In another message quoted by police, Bird allegedly writes “I stab, I smile, I shout, I laugh,” and that others should “know they’re f—ing place.”

Bird’s trial continues on Wednesday at 10 a.m. with another police witness set to testify, but what direction the rest of the proceedings will head has yet to be determined.

Crown Prosecutor Shawn Blackman said they’re still looking for two more non-police witnesses who seem to have disappeared. Dates for closing arguments also have to be set, as does a final date for Madame Justice Heather MacMillan-Brown’s verdict.

Bird is one of four people charged in connection with the death of Duane Brett Ledoux. Three of them were sentenced last year for their role in the killing.

Ledoux was found dead in a house on the 800 block of 17th Street West on Aug. 16, 2017. Witnesses have testified that he may have joined the Terror Squad while in jail, and was to receive a “one-minute beating” from gang members for kissing a senior member’s girlfriend.

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