OSHAWA, Ont. — The trial of a man accused of murdering and dismembering two young women got underway Monday in Oshawa, Ont., with the prosecution describing the gruesome scene officers stumbled upon when they responded to a call from two plumbers working at a local home.
The plumbers had been hired by the tenants of the main floor apartment to unclog the drains, Crown attorney Bryan Guertin said in his opening statement.
“The plumbers pulled out what appeared to be a flesh-like substance,” he said. “The plumbers, unsure of what they found, called police.”
It was Dec. 29, 2017 when a Durham Regional Police officer responding to the call knocked on the door to the basement apartment, Guertin said.
Adam Strong opened the door, he said.
“OK, you got me, the gig’s up, it’s a body,” Strong allegedly told the officer. “If you want to recover the rest of her, it’s in my freezer.”
Strong was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Rori Hache, who had disappeared months earlier. He is also accused of killing Kandis Fitzpatrick, 19, who vanished in 2008 and has not been heard from since.
Strong, 47, has pleaded not guilty to both first-degree murder charges.
Guertin said fishermen found a torso in the Oshawa Harbour on Sept. 11, 2017. After looking for missing persons and with the help of their families, they identified the torso as belonging to Hache.
“Mr. Strong was not on police radar until he was caught trying to dispose of Ms. Hache’s remains,” Guertin said.
Data from Google will also show Strong’s phone at the Oshawa Harbour a week earlier on Sept. 4, when he dumped Hache’s torso, Guertin alleged.
CAUTION: The following paragraphs contain graphic content some readers may find disturbing.
Months later, investigators would find the rest of Hache’s body inside a large freezer in Strong’s bedroom, Guertin said. Her blood was on Strong’s bedroom walls and ceiling, and his semen was found on her body, he said.
A medical examiner will testify that Hache had multiple injuries on her body, including two skull fractures, Guertin said. But the doctor could not discover a cause of death due to the state her remains were found in.
Forensic investigators also came across a large hunting knife specially designed for gutting and skinning animals, the prosecution said.
Kandis Fitzpatrick’s DNA was found on that knife. Investigators also found her blood in Strong’s freezer and in his bedroom.
“Ms. Fitzpatrick found the same fate as Ms. Hache,” Guertin said.
The prosecution is putting forth a similar-fact application in an effort to show court Fitzpatrick died in the same way and by the hands of Strong.
“Both girls were vulnerable, were essentially homeless with no fixed address,” Guertin said.
“Both girls suffered from drug issues and sometimes worked in the sex trade to help fund their drug habit.”
Strong’s statement to the officer who showed up at his door as well as two subsequent videotaped interviews he had with police are subject to legal arguments in the next few weeks about their admissibility.
The prosecution said it has a strong circumstantial case that will rely heavily on the forensic examination of Strong’s home and his digital devices.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020.