Aurore!  The Mystery of the Martyred Child

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LAUREAT COUTURE, of the City of Quebec, a constable of the Provincial Police, ------------------------

the eleventh ---------- March, --------

twenty, ------------------

Marie Anne Houde, wife of Télesphore Gagnon.

Examined by Maître Arthur Fitzpatrick, Crown Prosecutor:-

Q. Monsieur Couture, you are a constable of the Provincial Police, are you not?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Would you tell me if you were ordered, as a police constable, to carry out an investigation into an accusation that had been brought against the defendant, who is here present?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. You went to Ste. Philomène de Fortierville?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Was it you who arrested the accused woman?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. If I understand correctly, you arrested her husband at the same time?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Now, Monsieur, after you arrested the two accused, would you tell me if you searched their house, and would you produce the exhibits that you brought back to Quebec City?

A. Yes, Monsieur. On February 14, the day of the arrest, I went to the home of the accused woman, into the room of little Aurore. The room was very dirty. I found this switch about five or six feet from the bed.

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Q. This switch was already produced by Doctor Marois, as Exhibit P.3?

A. Yes, Monsieur. I was also given the axe handle that has already been produced by Doctor Marois, as Exhibit P.1, which I recognize. This axe handle was given to me by little Gérard Gagnon, the little boy. Also, the whip that has already been produced by Doctor Marois, as Exhibit P.2.

Q. Now, Monsieur Couture, would you tell us if you examined the room in which the child used to sleep?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Would you tell the Court what state that room was in?

A. First of all, it was dirty. In one corner, there was a little bed with a very little bit of straw. On the other side, there was a wooden bed; on it, there were only boards, no mattress. Beside the bed, I saw blood on the wall and on the floor.

Q. Now, did you bring with you, Monsieur Couture, and would you produce the straw mattress on which the child slept, and the other objects?

A. Yes, I brought the straw mattress the child slept on, and her night-gown, which were stained with blood, and a pillow.

Q. Now, were these objects produced by you in the case of the King versus Gagnon?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. And would you produce them in this case, the straw mattress and the pillow as Exhibit P.4, the night-gown as Exhibit P.6, and a mattress cover, as Exhibit P.5?

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A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Now, did you find anything else in the house or outside the house, Monsieur Couture?

A. No, Monsieur.

Q. Now, Monsieur Couture, would you tell me if you returned after that date to Ste. Philomène, and if you have other exhibits to produce?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. When did you return?

A. I returned last March 8.

Q. Did anyone give you some of these exhibits?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Who gave you these exhibits?

A. It was Marie-Jeanne who gave me a poker, which I produce as Exhibit P.7, a curling iron, as Exhibit P.8, and a rope, which I produce as Exhibit P.9.

Q. Was there anything else?

A. No, Monsieur.


Cross-examined by Maître Louis Larue, on behalf of the accused:-

Q. Did you notice that you had gone to the home of poor people?

A. They seemed to me to be farmers with sufficient means, without knowing much about it.

Q. Do you often have the opportunity to go to the homes of farmers?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. Some are clean, and others are dirty? Is that not true?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

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Q. It is not unusual to find a room that is dirty like that, sometimes?

A. The state that room was in – it was unusual.

Q. You say that you noticed blood there, in that room? Was there a lot of blood?

A. Yes, Monsieur.

Q. What do you mean by a lot?

A. There were stains of blood all over the floor, and on the bed, and on the wall. I saw it again on Monday; the blood was still there.

Q. How many stains were there, approximately?

A.I didn’t count.

Q. Did these stains of blood seem to you to be relatively recent, during your first visit?

A. They seemed to me to be blood.

Q. I asked you if they seemed recent.

A. They seemed to be blood. It was dry.

Q. You say that the night-gown was stained with blood also? Was there much blood on it?

A. On the lower part, in particular, there was a fair amount of blood.

Q. Wasn’t there any elsewhere?

A. I didn’t study the night-gown. I saw that there was blood on the night-gown and I brought it in.

Q. Was there a lot?

A. I saw two or three blood stains; there may have been more.

Q. Did it look fresh to you, that blood too?

A. It was like the rest; it was dry.

Q. Here again, you don’t know if it had been dry for a long time?

A. No, Monsieur.


Source: ANQ, TP9, S1, SS1, SSS999, 1960-01-35769, 3B 023 03-05-002A-01, Cour du banc du roi, assises criminelles, district de Québec, Déposition de Lauréat Couture, enquête préliminaire de Marie-Anne Houde, March 11, 1920, 4.

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