WATCH: "Does he have to kill me before the police do something?": murder victim
A 22-year-old man has been charged with first degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend in Mont St-Hilaire in a case that has raised questions about how police handled her complaint about her ex-boyfriend shortly before she died.
Anthony Pratte-Lops appeared in court this afternoon for about a minute to be formally arraigned at the St-Hyacinthe courthouse. The tall, brawny man lumbered into the prisoner's dock, his wrists and ankles shackled, as he was escorted by three equally burly court constables. They made room in the prisoner's box by removing the three chairs normally placed there.
Pratte-Lops, sporting a beard and a close-shaven head, kept his gaze mostly to the floor, only nodding and saying yes when told by the judge he'd have to return to court next month.
Daphné Huard-Boudreault, 18, was killed yesterday after returning to the apartment she once shared with Pratte-Lops.
Huard-Boudreault's new boyfriend, Alexis Massé, was at the courthouse for the brief arraignment. He tearfully told reporters he had to be there in person because he wanted the accused "to look him in the eye" and "to understand it wasn't up to him to take the life of someone," calling Huard-Boudreault a "wonderful" person "with a huge heart."
Co-workers of Huard-Boudreault said she was on her way to work when she was met by Pratte-Lops waiting in her car. They said when the two arrived at the dépanneur where she worked, she called police out of concern for her safety.
Manager Shanon Meilleur said three officers showed up but reportedly told Huard-Boudreault they couldn't do anything and then proceeded to send Pratte-Lops off in a taxi.
Hours later, Huard-Boudreault was dead.
"So when I got here at about 9:30, she was crying, she was bawling her eyes out. She was at her limits, she didn't know what to do," Meilleur told CJAD 800 News.
"One of the last things she said to me at the cashier was, 'What, does he have to kill me before the police do something?' "
Meilleur and other co-workers said the former couple's relationship was a rocky one and described Pratte-Lops as an intimidating and tempestuous man who was trying to work out his behavioural issues.
The SQ is investigating the murder but Quebec's Bureau of Independent Investigations is looking into how police treated Huard-Boudreault's call. The bureau normally investigates civilian shootings involving police.