N.B. man pleads not guilty in murder trial
Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012 11:47AM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 17, 2012 6:38PM ADT
The family of murder victim Sabrina Patterson is hoping justice will finally be done, almost two years after her body was found in a wooded area of Shenstone, N.B.
Today, 33-year-old Fred Prosser of Shenstone pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, sexual assault and sexual assault causing bodily harm in a Moncton courtroom.
Seven men and five women were selected today from a pool of 300 possible jurors, to hear evidence in the murder and sexual assault case.
Today was the first day in the trial, which is expected to last five weeks.
“It’s nice to see it get underway, put it behind us,” says Dale Patterson, the victim’s brother. “We don’t want to do it quick and easy, we want it done right and hopefully we get justice.”
The 25-year-old Riverview woman disappeared in October of 2010. Her body was found in the Shenstone area, nearly two weeks after she was reported missing, in November.
Patterson was Prosser’s former girlfriend, as well as the mother of his two children.
“It’s been a long two years almost and it’s been in the papers, the Internet, and people have been talking about it and coming from a small town it’s something you see everyday,” says Dale Patterson.
He also says someone from his family plans to be in the courtroom for each day of the trial.
“We don’t want to be forgotten. We wanted to show our support and make sure people know that, you know, we’re behind her.”
For only the second time, the jury selection process was held at the Moncton Coliseum. The first time was for the Romeo Cormier trial. Cormier was convicted of abducting a New Brunswick woman in 2010 and keeping her prisoner for almost a month in his home where he sexually assaulted her.
Officials say the Moncton Coliseum is the only venue large enough to hold such a large jury pool.
“The Moncton courthouse presents a few logistical issues, such as parking and meals,” explains Sheriff Mike Boudreau.
Judge George Rideout gave the jury instructions this afternoon and the prosecution will begin its case Wednesday morning.
A publication pan on the victim’s name was in place earlier today, but the ban was lifted at the request of her family, who say they want her to be remembered.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Mike Cameron
Fred Prosser was convicted in December 2012 of first-degree murder, sexual assault causing bodily harm, and sexual assault.