'I was in panic mode'
Ex claims she tried to help victim of deadly beating
By Derek Puddicombe, Ottawa Sun

Fri, October 15, 2004

The ex-girlfriend of a man who was killed in the kitchen of her Vanier apartment, stuffed into a shopping cart and dumped in the Rideau River told court yesterday she did what she could to revive him. Even though the woman, who is charged with being an accessory, told court Robert Baker beat and verbally abused her during their almost six-year relationship, she didn't want him dead.

"I was in panic mode," said Josee Chouinard, 34, after she and the accused, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, could not find a pulse. "I tried giving him CPR for a couple of minutes."


During two hours of questioning by Crown prosecutor James Cavanagh, Chouinard said someone had come up with the idea of getting rid of the body by throwing it in the river, but she didn't recall who. She said her live-in boyfriend and a friend living in an apartment above put Baker, 45, in the cart.

Earlier in the morning, the upstairs neighbour, also charged in the crime, testified he reluctantly helped dispose of Baker's body. He said they used sheets and garbage bags from Chouinard's apartment to hide the body while they wheeled the cart to the river.

"He tipped the cart on its side, pulled the body to the river and pushed him in as far as he could," said the youth. "Then he threw the cart in the river."

The trial continues today.