Key witness takes the stand at Joe Simonds murder trial
BARRIE -- "They murdered my son in cold blood over a lie," Diana Simonds claims "pure hate" lead to the death of her 34-year-old son in 2017.
Simonds was at the Barrie courthouse on Wednesday for the trial of two men charged with the first-degree murder of Joe Simonds.
The Orillia woman claims the mother of Brandie Lalonde, her son's ex-girlfriend, accused the deceased of sexually assaulting her grandchild.
Diana Simonds says it was that allegation that led to her son's murder.
In the spring of 2017, Joe Simonds left Quebec and moved back to Orillia.
Just months later, in June, he was gunned down near the doorstep of his home. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.
Brian Quesnel, Brandie Lalonde's boyfriend at the time of the shooting, and Lalonde's stepfather, Martin Forget, along with 23-year-old Sonny Brokenshire, who had children with Lalonde, were later arrested and charged with Simonds death.
Brokenshire pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit murder in January in exchange for his testimony against the other two accused.
The court heard from Quesnel's friend Roger Ranger who testified that Quesnel texted him 'I think I'm in trouble.' "He had done something, but he didn't tell me what."
Simonds' former girlfriend, Jessica Henry, also took the stand testifying that Sonny Brokenshire asked her to be his alibi for the night Joe was killed.
"He didn't say he had nothing to do with it," Henry said. "He promised me that he did not kill Joe himself." She and Brokenshire were close friends.
Henry went on to claim that she overheard Brokenshire and Forget talk about trying to find Simonds. "I am pretty sure he was at my house when he said Joe was going to be dealt with."
Diana Simonds listened to both testify and maintained her son died for no good reason. "He would never, ever, and I can't say this enough, harm a child."
The allegations against Joe Simonds were unfounded and no criminal charges were laid.
The trial is expected to last one more week.