Edmonton man accused of strangling a lady in his dwelling

An Edmonton man on trial in the Court of Queen’s Bench for second degree murder this week said he felt like a monster after strangling a woman.

Gregory Tessman, 53, is accused of killing Valerie Maurice in August 2017. At the time, the Edmonton Police Department described Maurice as a woman who led a high-risk lifestyle and often traveled between her Montreal and Edmonton home.

The 29-year-old’s body was found in Tessman’s basement suite in north Edmonton after a friend of the victim asked police to check her welfare.

By this point, Tessman had fled the scene and a Canadian warrant was issued against him.

He was arrested by Vancouver police at a homeless shelter five days later.

The next day, Edmonton Homicide Detective Ken Bruns flew to Vancouver with his partner to interview Tessman. During the interview, Tessman confessed to strangling Maurice.

The three-hour video was played at Tessman’s trial on Tuesday and Wednesday in a so-called voir dire or a process within a process.

Judge Doreen Sulyma will hear arguments from the crown and defense on Thursday about the admissibility of the tape.

Tessman pleaded not guilty to a single charge of second degree murder on Monday.

Tessman was very emotional during most of the interview with Bruns when the detective finally convinced him to reveal what had happened at his apartment the night Maurice died.

At the beginning of the interview, Tessman said he regretted what happened.

“I’d rather be dead now,” Tessman told the detective.

Tessman said he didn’t know Maurice but contacted her through a website. He said she arrived after midnight and the two were sitting on a couch in his living room.

“People heard a fight,” Bruns said during the interview. “Slap or smack your lips and a little roar. She was loud. She screamed.

Valérie Maurice, 29, was from Montreal. (Facebook)

Tessman said he had no money to pay her and that made her angry. He told the detective they weren’t having sex. She wanted to go and he was afraid she would call the police.

He said he had been to jail before and didn’t want to go back, so in a panic he decided to keep her calm.

“She started screaming and scratching and freaking out,” said Tessman. “I silenced her. I put my hand on my mouth.”

‘I feel like a monster’

Tessman said he took a blanket off the couch and placed it over her head, then put his hands around Maurice’s neck.

“She had spots on her face,” said Bruns. “She had bruised muscles on both sides of her neck. You held her neck until she passed out. ”

He said Maurice was passed out but was still alive. Tessman told the detective that he tied her up and then dragged her arm into his bedroom. He covered her face with the blanket.

While she was on the floor on her back at the foot of his bed, Tessman told the detective to put his hands on her throat a second time until she stopped breathing.

“When you physically put your hands around someone’s neck and push the life out of them, that’s a big deal, isn’t it?” Bruns asked. “That bothers you, doesn’t it?”

“Yes,” replied Tessman. “I feel like a monster. If I could take it back, I would.”

After his confession, Tessman asked for a cheeseburger with Pepsi.

The process alone should take four weeks.

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