Sheree Fertuck wanted three things from a court battle with her estranged husband Greg Fertuck: a divorce, child support and what she felt was a fair division of their property, according to the lawyer who represented her in family law proceedings.
Sheree approached Tammi Hackl in November 2011, looking for information about how she could separate from Greg Fertuck. Sheree feared being kicked out of her Saskatoon home and Greg Fertuck had threatened to have her removed, Hackl testified Tuesday.
“Sheree struck me as being very down to earth, very practical,” Hackl said, adding she wasn’t “given to hysterics or drama.”
Greg Fertuck, 67, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and offering an indignity to a body in Sheree’s Dec. 7, 2015 disappearance.
In her last discussion with Sheree, in October 2015, Hackl said her client was looking to settle several divorce-related issues outside court.
“She wanted to try to resolve their marital property issues and child support issues between them,” Hackle said. “She didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a lawyer.”
Defence lawyer Morris Bodnar previously suggested Sheree and Greg Fertuck were in the process of getting back together. Hackl testified otherwise.
“She never expressed any interest in reconciling with him,” she said.
In a December 2011 petition for divorce, Sheree stated she wanted financial support for her children who were teenagers at the time. In July 2012, a judge ordered Greg Fertuck to pay $871 per month in child support. His wages were later garnished, according to Sheree’s lawyer.
By the time their child support dispute reached a pre-trial, Sheree had already been missing for almost three years. Greg Fertuck owed Sheree’s estate $26,000 to $33,000 as of Sept. 12, 2018, Hackl said.
“Child support was a big issue,” Hackl said.
During their separation, Sheree also sought full possession of their home in Saskatoon, and about one third of Greg Fertuck’s roughly $430,000 locked-in retirement account (LIRA). Sheree’s approval was needed on all transactions with the account, and on one occasion, she blocked her estranged husband from withdrawing $15,000.
“I did not get the impression at all that she would allow him to get one cent of that LIRA until they had worked out the property division,” Hackl said.
After accounting for all of their debts, roughly $790,000 in assets were at stake during the family law proceedings, Hackl testified.
During cross-examination, defence lawyer Mike Nolin mentioned a $200,000 gravel hauling contract Sheree obtained prior to her death. Because she periodically hired Greg Fertuck to drive a semi-truck for her, Nolin said Sheree was “worth a lot more to Mr. Fertuck alive” than dead.
Greg Fertuck was charged in June 2019 following a Mr. Big sting involving Saskatchewan RCMP.
Mr. Big operations are controversial. They involve undercover police officers posing as members of a criminal organization, and then befriend the suspect in what is typically a cold case. The undercover police befriend the suspect with the goal of eliciting a confession.
The Crown expects to enter all of its evidence in a voir dire, or admissibility hearing. There is no jury. Justice Richard Danyliuk will determine whether evidence from the voir dire can be applied to the trial proper.
In other testimony Tuesday, a DNA expert linked blood on the inside tailgate of Greg Fertuck’s Dodge Ram pickup to his estranged wife. The DNA profile was from a female, according to Susan Borys, a forensic DNA specialist and analyst.
The tailgate blood matched two samples taken from Sheree’s razor: one from the razor head and the other from the handle. The odds of finding a match outside the subject’s genetic family in the Canadian Caucasian population is one in 68 quintillion, Borys testified.
During his opening statement, Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss said Greg Fertuck drove to the gravel pit near Sheree’s family farm before shooting her twice with a Ruger 10/22 rifle. Bliss said Greg Fertuck then used a front-end loader to lift Sheree’s body into his pickup truck.
Her body has never been found.
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