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Nova Scotia man accused in Ontario murder tells court: 'I did the crime, I’ll do the time'

Brandon Smeltzer of Bayside, N.S., has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ontario woman Emilie Maheu. - Facebook
Brandon Smeltzer of Bayside, N.S., has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Emilie Maheu in Ontario. - Facebook

By VITO PILIECI Ottawa Citizen

CORNWALL, Ont. — Making his first court appearance in the death of his former girlfriend, Brandon Smeltzer declined his right to an attorney and declared himself “guilty” in a Cornwall courtroom Friday morning.

“I did the crime, I’ll do the time,” he told the court.

The 25-year-old from Bayside, N.S., faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of Emilie Maheu, 26.

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Maheu, who went missing on Oct. 11, was found dead in a farmer’s field near Lancaster, Ont., two days later. Lancaster is about 20 minutes east of Cornwall.

Smeltzer was arrested in New Brunswick on Thursday and transported by the Ontario Provincial Police to Cornwall overnight.

Standing in the courtroom, Smeltzer appeared calm. The burly man wore blue jeans and a short blue tank top. He refused to speak with defence lawyers before entering the courtroom, despite the advice of Crown attorneys who will be prosecuting the case.

Smeltzer also turned down other attempts to provide him with legal counsel to help him understand the charges and evidence against him.

“This is a free country. I can do what I want. You guys are wasting your breath,” he said.

He then said he would “be with Emilie soon,” which prompted Crown attorney Elaine Evans to request that the courts order Smeltzer be placed under suicide watch while he awaits his next court date.

Smeltzer appeared alone at the sparsely attended hearing. No one from either his family or Maheu’s appeared to be in attendance.

Smeltzer was being transported to the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, where he will be held while he awaits trial.

Evans would provide no comment about Smeltzer’s remarks in court Friday.

Smeltzer and Maheu met several years ago, while working at Mills Heavy Hauling in Halifax. He was a driver and she worked in the office. The two have a 22-month-old daughter.

Maheu began working at the Alexandria Chiropractic Centre in July as a part-time receptionist. A native of Alexandria, about 100 kilometres from Ottawa, she had returned from Halifax to Ontario with her daughter early this year.

For the past week, the small town of Alexandria has been on edge, first dealing with the disappearance, then the knowledge that Maheu, a popular figure in the community, had been slain.

Friends say Maheu returned to Ontario early in 2018 with the child and she and the baby were living in Green Valley, just outside town.

She was last seen at the clinic on Thursday, Oct. 11, at about 1 p.m. Staff at the clinic were unsettled by the disappearance and shocked to discover she had been found dead just before noon Saturday.

She was described by friends as “a beautiful human being” who always had a smile on her face and went out of her way to help people. Friends said her daughter was the centre of her life.

Maheu’s body was found about 25 kilometres from her home, along Concession Road 3 in South Glengarry Township, a few kilometres north of Lancaster. An autopsy was scheduled in Ottawa this week.

After finishing high school in Alexandria, Maheu took a massage therapy course in Cornwall, a friend said, then relocated to Nova Scotia for a number of years.

Smeltzer attended Halifax West High School in Clayton Park, according to his Facebook profile.

Court records show that he pleaded guilty in October 2015 to assaulting a woman — not Maheu — in Bayside, for which he was handed a conditional discharge with a year’s probation.

With files from Kelly Egan and The Chronicle-Herald

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