Shakespeare said it best, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’. In other words, what someone is called or labelled is subjective compared to their fundamental qualities. And although our heroine’s story has a tragic end, this is not Romeo and Juliet.
Our story begins in the summer of 1974. Liberal leader Pierre Trudeau, the father to Canada’s current prime minister, just won the federal election for the 3rd time. The impeachment process started against President Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. The IRA had just bombed the Tower of London in the UK, killing one and injuring 14. But Donna had other things on her mind. Heavily pregnant, waiting for her daughter, a promise, to be born. Cindy Ivy Gladue was born on July 23, 1974, at a small, now-closed hospital in Athabasca, Alberta. Athabasca is a small town of about 3000 people, about 150 km (90 m) north of Edmonton. It was just her and her mom for her first few years. Her mom eventually got married and had a few more children, Cindy’s younger siblings. Finally, Donna and her husband, the father of her three younger children, separated. He was a heavy drinker and had a violent temper. In 1983 or 1984, when Cindy was 9, her mom and the four kids moved to Edmonton. Even though Donna wasn’t thrilled with moving to a bigger city, she needed to leave. She did not want to subject herself to more abuse and have her children witness it. Cindy had a stable upbringing. She went to school, lived in a well-kept home, spent time playing volleyball, going on bike rides, drawing, and playing Nintendo with friends. She was loved and supported and had a hard-working mom. Eventually, Donna got remarried. Cindy was close to both her Stepdads but longed to know her bio dad, who was absent for most of her life.
Cindy was funny, with a sharp tongue and a strong will. She was loyal and a good friend. Cindy had a close circle of friends and dreams. She wanted to go to university, get a decent job and raise a family. Grade 9 was coming to an end. She would celebrate at her junior prom in a blue dress and a promise with friends to stay friends no matter what through high school and even after graduation, well into their older years. Unfortunately, things would begin to turn, and that high school diploma and that university experience would never come. Not long after starting High School, Cindy began to hang out with the wrong crowd, she started drinking, and things just went south from there. She stopped going to school mid-way through the 10th year.
She tried to hold down some odd jobs here and there, like cleaning jobs, but those +never seemed to last. She depended on friends, family, and social assistance to get by.
Cindy became a mother when she was 22 in 1996. Something she always dreamed of becoming. She was young and scared but ultimately overjoyed with the birth of her daughter. Her mom helped her get and set up her own place for her and her daughter. Things mainly were smooth sailing for a few years. Cindy became pregnant again and had another daughter in 1999 when she was 25. Following her second child’s birth, it’s unknown if she was suffering from postpartum, she started drinking heavily. It had gotten so bad that she lost custody of her kids, but with her mom’s help, she was able to get them back again. Together, Donna and Cindy would care for the girls, and things would once again feel as though they were turning around. Cindy had started dating someone. They were together for several years, and he was the father of her youngest daughter, who was born in 2001, her baby. But things would turn once again, and the struggle would return. Things had gotten so bad by 2010; Donna had to kick her out of the house. Donna would continue to care for her three granddaughters.
Ms. Gladue had her own challenges, according to those who met her. She was an alcoholic who used crack cocaine and sold her body to sustain her addiction. She even lived on the streets with her boyfriend of two years, Steven Reid, for at least a period.
But through her struggles, she always remained close with her mom and her daughters, maintaining constant communication and visiting frequently. She loved cooking, and when she would pop in or stay the night at her mom’s, she would be cooking and feeding her family. She was artistic; she always loved to draw. And she loved Christmas and would make the yearly pilgrimage to Lac Ste Anne every summer as part of an indigenous catholic tradition. Lac Ste Anne was once called God’s Lake by the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation. It is one of the most unique and spiritual gatherings in North America, according to their website.
Bradley Barton, a 42-year-old long-married distance furniture mover from Mississauga, ON, worked with a crew of a few other guys doing a long-distance moving job. Bradley was a tall, burly man. Bradley was 6’1, weighing 220 lbs and was strong, as was needed for the physical work. They were hired to moved someone from Soda Springs, Idaho, about 1500 km south of Edmonton, Alberta, to Edmonton in the late spring-early summer of 2011. He and two other individuals were assigned to pack and load the house in Idaho and then drive the contents to Edmonton.
They packed the house and got back on the road. They arrived near Edmonton at around 5 pm on June 19, 2011. They stopped for the night just south of the city as the shipment had to clear customs to be delivered the next day. However, the load failed to clear Canadian customs, and the delivery couldn’t be completed that morning. The job was put on hold, and the crew rented rooms at the Yellowhead Inn. This hotel is commonly used for long-distance truck drivers. It is located on the corner of 149th street and Yellowhead Trail in Edmonton, Alberta. The hotel has a bar or lounge within it, which was called ‘Lady Luck.’ Bradley Barton rented room 139, just a couple of doors down from a colleague.
Steven Reid was hanging around the Lady Luck lounge outside on Monday, June 20, 2011. He met Bradley Barton. Bradley Barton mentioned that he was looking to be with a woman for the evening during their conversation. Steven Reid suggested that he know someone and then went home and told his girlfriend, Cindy, about the trucker. Sometimes Cindy would partake in sex work to earn some cash for her and Steven to feed their addictions and other items they needed, like food, clothing and gifts. Of course, this wasn’t the only way; they would sometimes scrounge for things to turn in for recycling and earn some that way as well.
On this particular evening, Cindy agreed to meet Bradley. They returned to the Yellowhead Inn. Bradley and Cindy talked about terms and agreed to a price for full intercourse. She went to his room, room 139, and stayed there for about an hour. Bradley escorted Cindy from the hotel hand in hand and hugged her goodbye when the activities were completed. Cindy then met with her boyfriend Steven, where he waited outside. They then bought some beer and a half-gram of cocaine and went home. Cindy did not mention anything odd with regard to the interaction with Bradley.
On Tuesday, June 21, 2011, Canada Customs cleared the delivery, so the crew went to the acreage outside of Edmonton to finish the moving job, but, unfortunately, the moving truck was too large to reach the house. They had to retreat and arrange for a smaller truck the next day. Bradley Barton made his way back to the Yellowhead Inn for a second night. After sitting in the bar for a bit, he called Cindy, having gotten her number the night before, and made arrangements to see her again. Cindy and Steven had been drinking all day and probably thought she could use some extra cash. She had agreed to meet, after all the evening before proved things would be safe. Steven, her boyfriend, was apprehensive. However, Cindy got into a taxi and left for the hotel. Steven jumped on his bike and followed her to the hotel. Cindy was sitting in the Bar with Bradley and another one of his co-workers, Kevin Atkins. Bradley told his co-worker that Cindy was a furniture packer in the area and used her on Edmonton jobs. Steven showed up and tried to pull Cindy away physically. He wanted her to come home. Bradley told him, “Oh, I promise you she’ll come home. She’ll be safe.” Bradley then gave him $5 to buy a beer. He said he went and kissed Cindy, not knowing this would be the last time he would see her alive.
Cindy, Bradley, and his co-worker Kevin stayed in the lounge until just after the last call. They continued to drink for the rest of the evening. Bradley was showing affection towards Cindy throughout the evening. The three of them left together and walked down the dimly lit hallway towards their respective rooms. This was at 12:42 am on June 22. Cindy was clearly intoxicated. She was swaying as she walked and would grab towards the wall and lean on Bradley several times as they walked down that hall. As they walked down the hall, Bradley asked Kevin if he “wanted a piece of this,” referring to Cindy. Kevin declined and told him that he just wanted to eat his food and go to bed. Bradley then said, “Kev, what happens on the road stays on the road; it doesn’t get back home.”
But when the door closed behind Cindy, it would prove to be a tragic evening, ending her life as she entered that room.
Bradley Barton packs his bag while in his hotel room, goes to the bathroom covered in blood, takes a towel from the bathroom, wipes parts of the floor and his shoes, and then leaves his room at approximately 7:35 am to 7:40 am.
He left the hotel through the northeast door, leading directly to a parking lot where his moving truck was parked. He disposed of the bloodied towel and threw it into the garbage can in the parking lot’s far corner.
He then threw his duffel bag into the truck’s cab and went back into the hotel to check out. He checked out of his hotel room and handed the hotel clerk his room key at 7:43 am. He then left the hotel, got into his truck and started the engine. He spoke to two co-workers and arranged for them to go to the job site.
He then called another co-worker, John Sullivan, a call and waited for him to arrive. John Sullivan arrived in the parking lot to find Bradley Barton sitting in the truck driver’s seat with the motor running. John Sullivan described Bradley Barton as looking “pensive” when getting in the truck. When John Sullivan asked if they would have a good day, Bradley Barton said something to the effect of “not until the police come.” He then went on to explain that there was a girl in his room bleeding. He claimed he didn’t know her and that she showed up at his hotel door. They spoke for a few minutes until finally, Bradley went back into the hotel. John then drove off with Bradley Barton’s duffel bag in it.
Bradley Barton re-entered the hotel lobby at 7:51 am. He then went to grab a coffee, walked around a little. At 7:58 am, he asked the hotel clerk for a new key card. He told the clerk that forgot some papers in the hotel room and that he needed to get back into the room. He was given a new key card at this time and walked towards the room he had occupied. He entered the room. At 8:03 am, he used the hotel room telephone to call 911. This set off an emergency alarm in the hotel, alerting the front desk that a 911 and shows from which room it was made. Once notified, the hotel clerk sent a maintenance worker to check on the room.
When Bradley Barton calls 911, he asks for the police. Bradley tells the 911 operator that a woman he didn’t know had come to his room and knocked on his door at 10:30 pm on Tuesday, June 21, 2011, the night before, and wanted to use his shower. He then told the operator that he went to bed, and when he woke up the following day, he found her dead in his bathtub. Then told the operator that he was physically shaking. When questioned, he was unwilling or reluctant to give his home address, saying he didn’t want his wife to find out but also claimed he did nothing wrong.
During this phone call, Hotel maintenance worker Daniel Chartrand arrived to check on the trouble. He entered the room using his emergency key card after knocking several times. Bradley Barton was sitting on the bed, facing him, using the phone. Daniel asked Brad what the issue was, and Brad just gestured towards the bathroom and told him to look in there.
Daniel Chartrand did so and was horrified by what he said. He saw a tremendous amount of blood covering some of the walls and a pair of woman’s legs in the tub. He strongly suspected she was already dead. Accompanying the awful sight was the dreadful, overpowering smell. He was totally and utterly shocked. He felt endangered. To Daniel Chartrand, Bradley Barton was very awkward, considering the situation. Then he didn’t seem a-particularly bothered by the fact there was a severely injured or possibly deceased person in the bathroom.
He quickly turned around and then told Barton to stay in the room, promptly made his way back to the front desk, and told them paramedics were needed as someone was either severely injured or dead.
The police would dispatch several police units to the Yellowhead Inn. The first two officers, constables Dukart and Sled, arrived on the scene at 8:08 am, roughly five minutes after receiving a priority-one dispatch call. They met the maintenance worker, who appeared to be in an “excited state,” and followed him to the suite.
As they approached room 139, the officers could smell a strong odour which they described as “the smell of a dead body.” A man sat on a dirty, stained bed, holding a phone to his ear, as the door to the room was open.
Bradley was still on the call with the 911 Operator. One of these two constables asked if he was Bradley Barton, and after he confirmed he was, he was asked to hang up the call with the 911 operator.
Upon entering the bathroom, the other officer observed that there was blood on two walls and in the bathtub. There was a naked woman within the tub. The blood appeared dry, and the shower curtain was closed about a third of the way. He checked for a pulse, but the body was cold, and he did not see any obvious signs of trauma like stab wounds.
Under the sink, he found a bag of what appeared to be women’s clothing. He went back into the hotel room and noticed the bloodied, crumpled bedding.
Gradually, more and more officers and crime scene experts would arrive as well. Around this time, the 3rd and 4th officers, constables Sliwa and Jones, arrived. As the two first officers were just entering the room, Bradley was trying to leave. He was stopped by Constable Jones, who asked to see his driver’s license, which he provided. Bradley Barton was calm and appeared cooperative, and did not appear to be drunk or on any drugs.
EMS had also arrived. Shortly after constables Sliwa and Jones’ arrival, sergeant Metselaar, the patrol supervisor for the area, came and took control of the scene and investigation. They were not 100% certain of the situation they were walking into; the dispatch had indicated a possible aggravated assault and that there was a woman covered in blood in the bathtub of the man’s hotel room. By this time, it was a little before 8:15 am.
Dukart escorted EMS into the bathroom, who confirmed the woman was deceased. He then called out that she was deceased to the other individuals present. Sergeant Metselaar then instructed constables Sliwa and Jones to take Bradley away from the scene. Constables Sliwa and Jones then escorted Bradley Barton from the room, down the hall, to the front lobby and then out to their unmarked patrol car.
An examination of the room and the bathroom started. A petite woman in her mid 30’s was found lying, naked, in the bathtub of the hotel bathroom. She was lying on her back in the bathtub. The blood patterns were examined within the bathtub, on its edges, and on the taps. The patterns here were consistent with the woman repeatedly moving within the bathtub while actively bleeding. Three areas within the bathroom were “consistent with clean-up activity”: the flooring near the bathtub, the front vertical surface of the bathtub, and the front vertical surface of the toilet bowl below the toilet seat.
The forensic investigators found the bedspread crumpled on the floor beside the bed (between the bed and the wall closest to the bathroom) in the hotel room itself. The bedspread itself had a substantial amount of blood pooled near the centre. A beige-coloured blanket, which was still on the bed, showed transfer and saturation stains near the center of the bed. The stains were consistent with liquid blood directly coming into contact with those surfaces and that the blood would have soaked through the bedspread. There was some evidence of clean-up efforts in and around the bed as well. There were diluted bloodstains on the lower half of the bedsheet, which remained on the bed below the beige blanket. There were altered stains (diluted) on the west pillowcase. The east pillowcase had a transfer stain with liquid blood, making contact with the pillowcase.
An inspection of the carpet was completed; there was no blood spatter evidence on the carpet from the hotel bed and the bathroom.
The garbage bins within the room were examined, and the bedding, clothing and personal belonging were collected into evidence. Officers also searched the garbage bins outside of the hotel. In one of the exterior bins, they found a hand towel with small red stains. The hand towel looked as though it had been wet and the air-dried; they also found a pipe, which they took. It did not appear to have any blood on it. They also found a note with “Brad,” along with room number 139 and a phone number with an Ontario area code.
Some police had started canvassing the area, speaking to other tenants, and others were going through the process necessary to obtain and review surveillance footage from the hotel. A woman in the room beside Bradley Barton’s said that she heard a loud thud coming from Bradley Barton’s room at around 2:00 am. She said it sounded like a person falling against the wall separating the two rooms. She woke again at around 5:30 am to hear another loud slam of what sounded like an exterior door. She never heard any screaming or angry words. There were no complaints called down to the front desk about any noises coming from that room.
After Barton was escorted to the unmarked patrol car, he wasn’t searched or placed in handcuffs. While Barton was getting into the back of the car, he spilled his coffee he was carrying, and constable Jones asked if he wanted another coffee. Barton said yes, and he left to get him one. Barton entered the back of the patrol car, and the door closed. The doors cannot be opened from within the car. There is plexiglass separating the rear seat and the front seats where constables Sliwa and Jones would be. Constable Jones came back with a coffee for Barton, and it was given to him. They all sat in the car between 8:15 am to 8:30 am. During the time, Barton kept trying to talk to the officers about the situation in the hotel. Constables Sliwa and Jones did not interview or interrogate Barton. Barton, at some point, mentioned that his duffel bag was in the moving truck, and then the truck was no longer at the hotel. Brad Barton was then trying to tell Constable Jones about coming to Edmonton on June 19 for his job and that he first saw the woman in his bathtub outside the bar at the hotel when he was having a smoke with a group of men. The woman said “hi” to the group and asked for a smoke.
At around 8:30 am, having waited about 15-20 minutes for further instruction, constable Jones placed Bradley Barton under investigative detention. He chartered and cautioned him. He didn’t tell Barton that he heard that the woman might be deceased, nor did he tell him they were taking him to the homicide department. He didn’t get into the reason for the investigative detention other than to say that he may have something to do with “it” because of the nature of the incident. They asked Barton if he wanted a lawyer, and he said no and that he didn’t do anything. A few seconds went by, and he further stated, “I didn’t do anything. I’m married and don’t do this stuff.” Then he went on to say that he had been drinking the previous evening with a bunch of guys and gave constable Jones John Sullivan’s phone number. However, all Constable Jones knew was that the number had been given to Barton by an unnamed drinking companion. He then gave the names Paul and Allied and then said something about Paul and one or two others sleeping in the truck (referring to a moving truck as all of these people were involved in the long-distance furniture moving business). They left the hotel parking lot at about 8:40 am, and they drove in silence to the police headquarters, arriving at 9:00 am. They escorted Barton to a soft interview room on the 3rd floor in the homicide unit and turned over to homicide detectives.
Bradley Barton was eventually released after initial questioning.
The woman in the bathtub was identified the following day as 36-year-old Cindy Gladue. A small, petite mother of three and her next of kin were notified of her death. Law enforcement allegedly informed her family that she had died in her sleep. The truth of her death would be revealed to them through the media.
Police were investigating the death but were not sure if it was a homicide or not.
An autopsy was performed on June 23, the day after her lifeless body was discovered. The forensic pathologist, Dr. Dowling, noticed bleeding on the right side of the pelvis. Cindy suffered a catastrophic injury involving a gaping hole in her vaginal wall. The hole was over 11 cm in length (4 inches), which passed entirely through her vaginal wall and ran almost the entire length of her vagina. She had died as a result of blood loss. In addition, she also suffered other less severe injuries to her labia and bruising between her anus and vagina. It was Dr. Dowling’s opinion that a sharp object caused the hole. Dowling said it was a “clean” cut, without scrapes along the edges that would indicate a blunt object. Considerable force would be needed, Dowling said. Cindy’s body showed no other signs of struggle or choking. He also concluded that Cindy was not on her period.
Toxicology was completed as well. These test results showed that Cindy’s blood-alcohol level was four times the legal driving limit at the time of her death. Dr. Jones, the toxicologist, specified that even a person who drinks regularly or has a higher tolerance to alcohol would still be impaired and show some impairment signs.
After the forensic pathologist concluded that Cindy died from a sharp instrument wound inside her vagina, the police returned to the hotel to find a weapon. Law enforcement re-searched hotel garbage containers, the parking lot and the grassy area behind the hotel. The search in the grassy area wasn’t exhaustive because the grass was really long. No weapon was ever found.
Based on the results of the autopsy, Cindy’s death was declared a homicide. Because it was such a highly uncommon injury, Dr. Dowling preserved Cindy’s vagina.
Bradley Barton is arrested on Friday, June 24, 2011, in connection with Cindy’s death.
Bradley Barton was being transferred on June 25 in a prisoner transport van. There was an undercover officer in the van as well. Barton told yet another lie of how Cindy came to be in his room and the circumstances around her death, and how she came to be arrested. He told the undercover officer that he allowed two “swampers” he knew from the trucking industry to use his room instead of sleeping in his cab. Barton claimed he entered the hotel room the following day and found it “trashed,” with a woman’s body in the bathtub. “If I fucking did it, I would have buried the girl,” Barton told the undercover officer, “Fucking wrapped her up in my carryout or my truck, cleaned the room up. She would have disappeared down the highway fucking 2000 miles away from here.” Then he insisted that the fact that he called 911 showed that he did nothing wrong.
Sometime after Bradley Barton was arrested, his duffel bag was seized. Investigators found a laptop within the duffel bag and filed a search warrant to examine to see what internet sites or pages he searched a-or attempted to search. A warrant was granted, and his laptop was forensically searched. His laptop had 191 searches or website accesses on June 13, 2011. Most of the sites were pornographic and easily accessible on the internet. He accessed sites showing beach nudity, anal sex, porn movies and videos looking up women’s skirts. In seven instances, Barton’s computer was used to search about vaginas being ripped or torn by “huge objects.” He also accessed a medical website to learn what the impact of childbirth is on the vagina of the mother.
The analyst found various searches for pornography and information about vaginal injuries, including vaginas being ripped or torn by large objects. A laptop belonging to Mr. Barton contained a search history of what the judge described as pornography depicting “gaping vaginas and extreme penetration and torture.”
he accessed websites involving…insertion of foreign objects into the vagina, and on at least one occasion, the issue of torture of women.” In a report, an Edmonton police forensics investigator wrote that the websites depict women being tortured in many cases. He searched for such terms as “girl.get.ram.huge.objects.rip.open,”
Bradley Barton was charged with second-degree murder on Monday, June 27, 2011
Bradley would be released on 15,000$ bail and given a curfew at his home in Mississauga that he needed to follow while he was not in Edmonton for legal proceedings. He was also ordered to avoid contact with sex workers.
The preliminary hearing took place in the spring of 2012. His web searches were part of the evidence given during the preliminary hearing. It would be another three years before he would stand trial. The trial took place between February 17 and March 18, 2015.
The evidence of the web searches was not admitted into evidence during this trial. There were some arguments that the evidence was not obtained lawfully. It all stemmed from that conversation between Constable Jones and Bradley Barton while sitting in the unmarked patrol car outside of the Yellowhead Inn before he was put under investigative detention. The officers were not questioning or interrogating Bradley. Still, during that conversation, he let Constable Jones know that his overnight bag/ duffle bag was in the cab of his truck, which was with his colleague. Later, investigators would apply and obtain a search warrant for the duffle bag and the laptop.
The trial itself was a spectacle marred with injustice, biases, and indignity, although prosecutors, I am sure, felt like they did what they could.
The first thing to mention about the overall event was that Cindy was referred to by the defence and the crown throughout the entire trial as “Native Girl” and “Native Prostitute.” There are two significant issues with this: One, that there is widespread racism, whether conscious or unconscious, in Canada against Indigenous peoples, specifically against women and girls who are seen as there for the taking, and the continued terms used as a sole descriptor for Cindy would likely negatively influence jurors, none of which were indigenous people, and two, even though Cindy’s employment may have been somewhat relevant to the case, as this is how they met, the court generally doesn’t allow the victim’s previous sexual history on the basis that people often think that the person is more than likely to have consented or that she’s less believable because of that sexual history.
The second thing that came out of the trial was that two forensic pathologists, one being the Acting Chief Medical Examiner from the crown, were in agreement that the 11 cm gash along the length of Cindy’s vaginal wall would have either been done with a significant amount of force or with a sharp object, although no weapon was ever found. The medical examiner, the pathologist, had preserved the tissue from Cindy’s vaginal wall and brought it to court, donned his gloves, and manipulated the tissue while on the stand. A first in the Canadian courts. The family was enraged by the move, as this further dehumanized Cindy, which was already happening during the trial. The doctor defended his action, saying that the injury was unusual and photos didn’t depict it properly. The defence called on their own expert, who also went on the stand, donned gloves and manipulated the tissue in front of the jury. In the defence’s expert’s opinion, the 11-cm wound was caused by a blunt tear instead of a sharp cut. “You can see that it is not a straight incision. The wound edges Barton’s hand.
Bradley’s story now was that he and Cindy engaged in consensual sexual activity in the early morning in question. He indicated that he and Cindy had agreed to 60$ for full sex the previous evening. Although no specific monetary or acts were discussed the evening of the 21st, they basically agreed to the same. Bradley Barton said that he had made his hand into a conical shape and inserted it into Cindy on the 20th and that she moaned from pleasure, and everything went well. Of course, there is no proof of this taking place on that day. Cindy herself didn’t mention this, and there is no one alive to state otherwise. Then, he said that he did the same thing the following night while she was sitting on the bed corner, giving him oral sex. He says that she started bleeding and that he removed his hand and asked her if she got her period, and she said maybe. He went to the bathroom to wash up, and then she went to the bathroom, and he went to bed. He claimed he woke up the following day at around 7 am or so and discovered her dead in the bathroom, freaked out, wiped some blood from his shoe and the floor, grabbed his wallet he stashed under the mattress, threw his stuff in his bag, left the hotel, threw out the towel, tossed his bag in the back of the truck and then went back into the hotel to check out of the room.
Bradley was a big guy and had large hands; in fact, the length of the fingers to where he inserted them into Cindy measures about 11 cm, so it is possible that this played a part in her death, but he would have had to use a significant amount of force. There are a few things to point out that really make his story a bunch of bullshit. First, he said that Cindy was giving him oral sex at the same time while sitting on the corner of the bed. We’ll get to the forensic evidence in a second, but take a second and think of the logistics of that. Does he have record-breaking arm length, and is she a contortionist? The forensics just don’t back this story. The blood evidence was in the middle of the bedspread. The wound’s size and type would have bled profusely, and that was evidenced in the centre of the bed. She would have been lying down. Also, Bradley claims that Cindy walked to the bathroom, used the toilet, etc. But there was no blood on the carpet between the bed and the bathroom. How would that be possible if she bled that much on the bed and then got up and then walked to the bathroom? There would have been some blood on the floor. And women generally know if they are starting their period or not and the difference between menstrual blood and blood from an injury. If she was conscious, there is a very low likelihood that she would have told him that yes, maybe she was starting her period. Plus, it would have been excruciating.
The fact is Cindy was very intoxicated, over four times the legal limit. She was seen walking to room 139 with Bradley. Her gait was uneven; she was grabbing at the walls and at Bradley to remain steady. She may have had another drink in the room with Bradley after as well. She was likely passed out in the middle of the bed when Bradley decided to act out the sick fantasies he had recently been searching for online. When she started bleeding, he likely wrapped her small 110 lbs frame up into the bedspread and dumped her in the bathtub around 2: 30 AM, when the neighbour heard the thump, tried to clean up a bit, crumpled the bedspread in a ball and tossed it on the floor between the bed and the wall and then sat there and tried to figure out what he was going to do while she threw in the bathtub, heavily intoxicated and bleeding to death. The reality is if he had called EMS and she got medical treatment right away, she possibly wouldn’t have died. But he didn’t, and she died. Then the following day and days following, he told lies after lies. Bradley’s whole defence was that this was a consensual act gone wrong. But you can’t consent to violence. There is actually common law or precedence on that. If two guys start a fight, they’ll still get charged for assault. Also, just because someone is a sex worker, either by choice or the choice was made for them, doesn’t mean they’ll say yes, every time no matter what OR consent to any degree of force her sex partner chooses to use. There are similar laws for that as well, explicitly surrounding marital rape. Just because you are married to someone doesn’t mean they can’t rape you. No one can consent to violence. A ‘rough sex gone wrong’ defence is allowed in Canada is a terrible joke, a defence banned in other parts of the world, such as the United Kingdom.
It was a mistake for the judge to say that Cindy’s consent on the first night she and Barton had sex could lead to a finding of an honest but mistaken belief in consent on the second night. He also made a mistake by telling the jury that the prosecution’s lack of motive could be used as an argument in the defence’s favour. The trial judge also disregarded legal requirements that restrict how often a victim’s sexual history may be addressed trial. These provisions should have been followed before introducing evidence about Cindy’s sexual activity with Bradley on the first night. And, if any of that would be deemed admissible, then the judge should give careful instruction to the jury on the permissible use of that evidence.
On March 18, 2015, a jury acquitted Brad Barton of 1st-degree murder in Cindy Gladue’s death. The jury didn’t convict him of the lesser degree of manslaughter either. He was completely exonerated.
Bradley Barton’s acquittal was a sign of many of the injustices indigenous people and women face within the Canadian Justice System. Several hundred people organized several protests across Canada the country. The rally in Edmonton was on April 2, 2015, the same day the crown prosecutor announced that they were appealing the court’s decision. They said that significant mistakes in the jury instructions were made, justifying a new trial. On questions of manslaughter and motive, the jury was given incorrect instructions. The nine men and two women on the jury were told they could convict Barton of manslaughter or acquit him during jury instructions. The judge made a mistake when he told the jury that Cindy’s consent on the first night that she and Barton had sex “might be used to justify a finding of honest yet mistaken belief in consent” on the second night, according to the prosecutors’ appeal.
Alberta’s court of appeal started hearing arguments on whether to overturn the acquittal in September 2016. It wouldn’t be until June 30, 2017, that the court actually overturned his acquittal, and Bradley Barton was ordered to be retried for first-degree murder in relation to Cindy’s death. The court of appeal found that there were serious errors during the trial and in the jury instructions in the areas of sexual harassment, sexual conduct, and consent and that the mistakes represented broader concerns with the Canadian Justice system’s inability to keep up with changes in sexual offences laws. Fair justice under the law is put at risk as a result of this.
His second trial was then set for February 2019, but his defence counsel escalated the decision to overturn the acquittal to Canada’s Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of Canada started hearing arguments in October of 2018. In May of 2019, in a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court ordered a new trial for manslaughter in Cindy’s death.
The second trial finally took place in January of 2021. Bradley again pleaded not guilty to manslaughter. The jury was selected, and even though there were still no indigenous peoples represented, there was at least a more even split between male and female jurors. There was a total of 14 jurors selected, which included two alternates. Stephen Hillier of the Court of Queen’s Bench presided over this case.
This time, during the trial, Bradley’s violent, pornographic searches leading up to Cindy’s death were admitted into evidence. The trial took a little longer than initially anticipated. At the end of January 2021, Bradley Barton started showing symptoms of Covid-19, so everything was put on hold until a test would confirm that he did not have Covid-19. Bradley also took the stand in his own defence, trying to explain his many lies, cover-up, and why he never called 911 until urged by his co-worker. The whole cross-examination by the crown prosecutor did not go over well for Bradley. The crown prosecutor pointed out that despite Bradley’s claims of being in a confused state of panic that he had no problems concocting “self-serving falsehoods” to explain Cindy’s death in his hotel room. And not only that, but that Bradley also told lies to try to cover up his involvement. After Bradley denying he lied for nefarious reasons, the crown prosecutor reminded him that he cleaned the blood off his feet and disposed of the towel in the trash outside and not in his room.
The crown prosecutor also suggested that when Cindy started hemorrhaging after Bradley forced his hand all the way past his bottom set of knuckles into her vagina. At the same time, she was very drunk and then he dropped her in the bathtub using the bed’s comforter. “after you did those things, you sat there in your room, and you calculated your options,” the prosecutor said.
The prosecutor also argued that Bradley was interested in “the concept of ripping and tearing vaginas,” based on his internet search history days before Cindy’s death. Bradley said even though he searched for terms like “girl.get.ram.huge.objects.rip.open,” he was only looking for images of vaginas being “stretched.”
During cross-examination, the prosecutor said, “You let her die, and you let her die because you couldn’t call the police. You couldn’t call the police because you violently sexually assaulted her. You only cared about yourself the whole time you were with Ms. Gladue; you did not care about her at all.”
Bradley went on to say the act was consensual and that Cindy was moaning and groaning from pleasure. The prosecutor stated that this didn’t count as consent. “You had drunken, garbled moans from a stranger, and to you, that was a green light?”
The prosecutor also argued that Bradley invented the whole story about doing the same thing to Cindy with his hand the night before. She also said his description of the act – that he placed his hand Cindy, up to the knuckles, while standing, while she sat on the bed – made no anatomical sense. Snowdon further noted the majority of the blood found on the bedding was in the centre of the bedspread – not the corner – and that there was no blood leading from the bed to the bathroom.
The court earlier heard Cindy’s blood alcohol content was about four times the legal limit when she died. The prosecutor said the most believable explanation is that Bradley “forced” his hand into Cindy while she was near passed out or very drunk in the middle of the bed, acting out porn searches he made on his laptop days before. The prosecutor then argued Bradley picked Cindy up in the bedspread when she started bleeding and dumped her in the bathtub. Bradley denied this.
The defence had one final witness they called on February 5, 2021. An OBGYN stated that Cindy’s overall health could have made her more prone to this type of fatal injury. The defence’s OBGYN also noted that the consumed alcohol that night could have affected how she felt pain and the bleeding. Then the defence lawyer went on to say that Cindy wasn’t healthy because she drank and smoked. The prosecutor suggested, on cross-examination, that there was basically no evidence to conclude that Cindy was in poor health.
Cindy’s fatal wound would have taken an enormous amount of force, according to the crown’s OB/GYN, who had testified earlier. She said that she had never seen someone with such a severe injury.
Closing arguments were delayed for a short time due to an issue with a juror. Two jurors ended up being dismissed. One of the jurors reported that another juror made biased comments about sex workers. The juror admitted this to the trial judge, and both jurors (the one who made the remarks and the one who reported them) were dismissed. After closing arguments, the judge instructed the jury. The remaining jury members were sequestered until they reached a verdict. The second trial took a total of 6 weeks. The jury deliberated for 8 hours and found Bradley Barton guilty of the manslaughter of Cindy Gladue.
On Friday, February 19, 2021, Bradley Barton trudged out of the prisoner door in Edmonton courtroom B201, surrounded by sheriff’s officers, a moment of redemption for Cindy’s friends and family that had been nearly a decade in the making. The sentencing will take place from June 1 to 4.
Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Alberta, Canada, 23 Jun 2011, Thu * Page 9
Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 13 Oct 2011, Thu • Page 4
Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 30 Jun 2011, Thu • Page 6
Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 25 June 2011, Sat * Page 3
Edmonton Journal, 28 Jun 2011, Tue * Page 4
Edmonton Journal, 18 Feb 2015, Wed * Page 4
Edmonton Journal, 28 Feb 2015, Sat * Page 8
Edmonton Journal, 06 March 2015, Fri * Page 8
Edmonton Journal, 11 Mar 2015, Wed * Page 7
Edmonton Journal, 26 Mar 2015, Thu * Page 16
Edmonton Journal, 26 Mar 2015, Thu * Page 1
Edmonton Journal, 30 Mar 2015, Mon * Page 3
Edmonton Journal, 03 April, Fri * Page 1
The Gazette, 04 Aug 2015, Tue * Page 7
Edmonton Journal, 25 Nov 2015, Wed * Page 3
Edmonton Journal, 07 Sep 2016, Wed * Page 3
Edmonton Journal, 01 Jul 2017, Sat * Page 5
Edmonton Journal, 02 Sep 2017, Sat * Page 11
Edmonton Journal, 28 Sep 2017, Thu * Page 5
Edmonton Journal, 09 Oct 2018, Thu * Page A3
Calgary Herald, 11 Oct 2018, Thu * Page NP2
Edmonton Journal, 24 Oct 2018, Web * Pahe A10
Whitehorse Daily Star, 24 May 2019, Fri * Page A19
Edmonton Journal, 12 Jan 2021, Tue * Pag AS1
Edmonton Journal, 12 Jan 2021, Tue * Page AS7
Edmonton Journal, 19 Jan 2021, Tue * Page AS5
Edmonton Journal, 26 Jan 2021 * Page AS5
Edmonton Journal, 02 Feb 2021, Tue * Page AS8
Source: Edmonton Journal, 03 Feb 2021, Wed * Page AS2
Source: Edmonton Journal, 04 Feb 2021, Thu * Page AS5
Source: Edmonton Journal, 05 Feb 2021, Fr * Page AS9
Source: Edmonton Journal, 06 Feb 2021, Sat * Page AS5
Source: Edmonton Journal, 17 Feb 2021, Wed * Page AS2
Source: Edmonton Journal, 19 Feb 2021, Fri * Page AS4
Source: Edmonton Journal, 20 Feb 2021, Sat & Page AS9
Source: Edmonton Journal, 27 Feb 2021, Sat * Page AS7