Life sentence for murder of Sherbrooke woman

MONTREAL – Hugo Bernier has been convicted of first degree murder, forcible confinement and sexual assault in the 2002 death of Julie Boisvenu.

Jurors at his trial returned their verdict Friday afternoon, and the judge handed down an immediate life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Jury members said they did not believe Bernier, who testified in his own defense, that Boisvenu’s death was accidental.

Bernier said he met the 29-year-old at a bar in Sherbrooke, they drove to a wooded area and had consensual sexual relations in a car. An autopsy report revealed the woman died shortly after, in the early hours of June 22, 2002.

Her body was later found in a ditch in Bromptonville.

Bernier had no reaction to the verdict and had nothing to say when Judge Lise Coté handed down the sentence.

Lawyer Marc Labelle said Bernier was expecting the jury’s decision.

“We’re not surprised by the verdict. Basically it confirmed that what the accused said was not believed,” Labelle said.

He believes there are several grounds for an appeal, though he would not elaborate. Bernier has not said if he will challenge the verdict.

Judge Coté urged Bernier to get treatment for his behavioural problems. Boisvenu was the second woman he had assaulted in ten years.

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