The 15-year-old girl’s body was pulled from the Red River on Aug. 17, 2014, wrapped inside a duvet cover and weighted down with rocks.
WATCH: ‘We’ve all failed her’: Indigenous leader reacts after Raymond Cormier found not guilty in death of Tina Fontaine
In a statement, Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said his thoughts were with Fontaine’s family and with members of the Sagkeeng First Nation.
“Winnipeg and Canadians may have different views on today’s outcome in the case. I think it is important, however, to be mindful that for many people, today is a day marked by grief, anger and broken hearts,” read the statement. “No one can be blind to the racial tensions in our country.
“There’s no question in my mind that we all failed Tina. And we are all continuing to fail other young Indigenous people in communities across our country.”
After a more than three week trial, the jury started deliberating Wednesday afternoon.
The 11 person jury heard from nearly 50 witnesses before closing arguments Tuesday. Cormier never took the stand and his defence team did not call any witnesses.
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The Crown presented no physical or forensic evidence linking Cormier to the crime.
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Witnesses testified they saw the 56-year-old and Fontaine together in the days before she disappeared in early August.
The largely circumstantial case relied heavily on a series of audio recordings made by police over a six month undercover operation dubbed ‘Project Styx.’
The project, which ran from June to December 2015, involved undercover police officers and ‘bugs’ that were placed inside Cormier’s Winnipeg apartment suite.
In a number of those recordings, Cormier spoke about having sex with Fontaine, who was a minor, and talked about “finishing the job.”
However, Cormier has maintained his innocence since he was arrested.
During his initial arrest on Oct. 1, 2014, Cormier was interrogated by two police officers.
Throughout the interrogation video, Cormier repeatedly told officers he did not do it.
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“You’re investigating the wrong person,” Cormier shouted to officers. “Do your job. Go find the f-ing person who did this.”
At one point Cormier yelled, “I don’t know what happened to that f-ing girl. Do you understand. All I know is she got f-ing murdered.”
Cormier has been in jail since he was charged in December 2015.
The Crown will now decide if there is grounds for an appeal.
WATCH: Anger spills out of courtroom after Raymond Cormier found not guilty in death of Tina Fontaine
The Winnipeg Police Service said it conducted an “extensive investigation” into Fontaine’s murder, and that court proceedings and the case would be examined to determine if an appeal is possible.
“We understand that this is a difficult time for Tina Fontaine’s family, our community, and all those personally affected by her loss,” read the statement. “Our thoughts today are with everyone impacted by this tragedy.”
— With files from Rahul Kalvapalle
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