Quebec man charged with 1st degree murder in partner's slaying southwest of Montreal

By The Canadian Press
October 5, 2017 - 10:45am

SALABERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD, Que. — A Quebec man who is accused of killing his partner and wounding a provincial police officer was arraigned on five charges on Thursday, including first-degree murder.

Quebec provincial police said Alain Castonguay, 72, appeared by video conference at the courthouse in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., southwest of Montreal.

Castonguay is charged in the slaying of his partner, Johanne Chayer, 65.

He was also charged with four counts of attempted murder involving provincial police officers — including a 27-year-old officer who remains in serious but stable condition.

The officer was shot as he responded to the call on Tuesday night.

Castonguay's defence lawyer said he didn't know much yet about his client, who he'd met just before the hearing.

"All I can say is, he was articulate enough to respond clearly to his lawyer," Jacques Vinet said.

"Clearly as you could see earlier, it's a family tragedy, it's really not easy."

As officers arrived at a home in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield on Tuesday at about 9:30 p.m., they were fired upon and one officer was hit.

Police entered the home hours later and Chayer was found unconscious before being pronounced dead in hospital. 

Police had said the accused was also facing a weapons charge but the Crown said only five charges were laid.

Crown prosecutor Helene Langis said the next step in the case will be to finish disclosing evidence to the defence.

"We're very early in the case, evidently," she said.

The case returns to court Oct. 30.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version wrongly said the suspect was facing six charges, he is actually facing five.

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