MIRAMICHI, N.B. - The mother of a 16-year-old New Brunswick girl allegedly killed by her cousin said she felt relieved Wednesday after testifying at the first-degree murder trial of Curtis Wayne Bonnell.
"It's about time the process starts because I couldn't get over any of this," said Pam Fillier, Hilary Bonnell's mother, outside the Court of Queen's Bench in Miramichi.
"I couldn't even begin the grieving process when I still feel like I have to be strong for her because she needs justice."
Earlier in the day, Fillier told the court that she spoke with her daughter hours before she was last seen alive on Sept. 5, 2009.
She said Hilary, who was attending a house party in Esgenoopetitj (Es-geh-no-peh-titch) First Nation on Sept. 5, 2009, phoned her shortly after 3 a.m. and sounded happy. She said it appeared her daughter may have been drinking.
"She sounded giggly," Fillier told the jury.
Fillier said she phoned Hilary later that morning but there was no answer.
"I thought she was still sleeping," Fillier said.
The jury was then shown surveillance video from a local gas station that showed a girl enter and leave the store between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. that day. Fillier identified the girl as Hilary.
The video also showed a man arrive at the station about three minutes later and drive off in a red pickup truck. Fillier identified him as Curtis Bonnell.
Bonnell, 32, has pleaded not guilty in Hilary's death.
In opening arguments Tuesday, the Crown said the jury would hear evidence that the accused picked Hilary up while driving on a rural stretch of road, sexually assaulted her and killed her before burying her in the woods.
Hilary went missing after going to the house party. Her disappearance gripped the local community and triggered an exhaustive search.
Her body was found two months later, and Curtis Bonnell was charged in December 2009.
Eight weeks have been set aside for the trial.