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Murder trial hears police calls

Accused calls cops from tent where woman was dead

A man accused of killing his common-law wife by stabbing her 18 times in the chest told a 9-1-1 operator that he'd discovered his wife dead in a flat, emotionless voice.

"I'm at Lighthouse Park," Alexander LaGlace told a 9-1-1 operator just before 3: 30 a.m. on May 19, 2009. "My wife is dead."

"Do you need an ambulance?" asked the call taker.

"No she's gone," said LaGlace on his cellphone.

"I'm at Juniper Point," he said after being transferred to a West Vancouver police operator. "My wife is dead. She's been stabbed."

"When did this occur?" asked the operator, Nikki Daroza.

"I came back," he said. "She's in a tent."

"You left the tent and you came back and she had been stabbed and she was dead?" asked Daroza.

"Yes," said LaGlace.

The 9-1-1 recording was played Monday in B.C. Supreme Court, where LaGlace, 47, is on trial without a jury before Justice Terry Schultes for the second-degree murder of Tammy-Lynn Cordone. An autopsy revealed she had been stabbed 18 times in the chest.

The Crown's theory - outlined by prosecutor Nicole Gregoire at the opening of the trial - is that LaGlace killed Cordone in a violent rage, then took a bus into West Vancouver where he buried the knife he stabbed her with in a bushy area behind Park Royal Shopping Centre. LaGlace then went into Vancouver and returned to the park campsite much later that night, said Gregoire. She said he stayed with Cordone's body for several hours before calling 9-1-1 after 3 a.m.

"Are you sitting in the tent with her right now?" asked the 9-1-1 operator on the recording.

"Yes," said LaGlace. "She's cold."

Daroza asked him several times on the tape if he knew of anybody who might be responsible for stabbing Cordone, or if she was planning to see anyone that day. "No," said LaGlace.

Because the camp was in such a remote area of the park, LaGlace had to call out repeatedly to guide West Vancouver police officers to the tent.

Cpl. Grant Gottgetrui of the West Vancouver Police Department described Monday how he and two other officers followed the sound of LaGlace's voice through the heavily wooded park in the pitch black that night.

Gottgetrui said he found Cordone's body inside the tent, her left arm bent at the elbow and her right hand lying across her chest. There was dried blood on her forearm and her face, he said, and a small hole visible in her chest.

Two other police officers took LaGlace back to the West Vancouver police station, where Kevin Williams - at the time an officer with the detachment - sat with LaGlace for two hours in an interview room.

During that time, LaGlace slept on and off, Williams testified, sometimes waking up and mumbling.

In cross-examination, LaGlace's defence lawyer Paul McMurray asked Williams to describe LaGlace's emotional state. "His emotional state was flat, would you agree with that?" he asked.

"Yes," said Williams.

Just before 8: 30 a.m. another officer, Const. Robert Reid of the Vancouver Police Department's homicide squad, told LaGlace that he was being detained for murder as part of the investigation and had the right to call a lawyer.

In the videotape of that conversation played in court, LaGlace appeared slumped over in a chair and unresponsive to most questions about whether he understood what was happening, telling police officers, "I have to go to the hospital."

"Without medication I can't understand a lot of things," he told Reid at one point.

The trial continues.

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