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News item  from Chris Morris–Legislature Bureau—Nov. 12, 2016

Boys  killed in snake attack would have fought hard  : grandmother

The death of 2 little boys in a horrific snake attack was the focus of a now-finished trial in Campbellton, but for relatives of the children, it is their lives they remember,helping the family carry on despite the devastating loss.

The Barthe brothers Connor,6,and Noah,4, were very close,accdg. to their grandmother,Linda Barthe, who attended every day of the 8-day criminal negligence trial in Campbellton.

On Thursday,Jean-Claude Savoie, the owner of the almost 4-meter long python that killed the children, was found not guilty by a jury of criminal negligence causing their deaths in the 2013 tragedy.

Linda Barthe said it was difficult to sit through the trial,which included details about the attack on the children after the snake escaped its enclosure in Savoie’s apartmetn and killed the boys while they were on a sleep over.

“We had to be there for the boys,”Barthe said,who showed up everyday  with her husband and the boys’ grandfather,Ernest.

“I said to myself,”The boys went through it. I can go through it.”

She said Noah,who kept everyone in the family laughing with his funny comments called “Noah-isms”,was excited to start kindergarten. Connor,serious and thoughtful and about to start Grade 2, was intensely protective of his little brother and often put his arm around the smaller chiled.

Barthe said she was told that Noah died first in teh snake attack- a detail that did not come out at trial. She said the family believes whoever  was attacked first, the brothers would not leave each other.

“No matter which one was attacked first, there is no question that the other would definitely have gone to help,’Barthe said in an interview with Brunswick News.

“There would have been no hesitation. I don’t remember who told me, but I was told that Noah died first. Connor would have been right in there, fighting tooth and nail. We know he would have tried to help.”

The battle against the snake would have been uneven. The African rock python that killed the children was known to be aggressive and bad-tempered and if one child had tried to free the other, a snake expert who testified at the trial said the reptile was long enough to wrap both boys in its deadly coils and constrict.

A pathologist said the brothers died of asphyxiation.

Barthe said she often looked after the children,occasionally picking them up at their daycare and bringing them to her home in Dalhousie.

She said she always smiles when she recalls the routine the boys had when they came to her home, including asking their granddad to make pancakes-their favorite meal when visiting.

“I would sit for hours watching them play in the yard,”she said.

“there was no fighting.They were just precious,precious,precious,beautiful boys. They had big,dark eyes. Connor was such a handsome little boy and Noah was very cute. They were happy children. They were loved and they knew they were loved. I think that makes a huge difference in the life of a child-to know they are loved.”

Barthe said the family still is in pain over the loss. She said there has been counselling for some family members.Others still cannot talk about it and others just carry on as best they can.

She said there is an ache that will never go away.

“It is difficult to explain the hurt,the physical and mental hurt,when you hear something like this,”Barthe said.

‘The pain is physical. My husband said when I was told they were gone, I screamed so loud i must have woken up everyone in the neighborhood.”

Barthe said that when it comes to Savoie and the trial,there has never been any doubt in her mind that he loved the boys. She said their deaths will be a burden for him for the rest of his life, a fact acknowledged by Savoie through his defense lawyers.

“I don’t know what he will think when he closes his eyes and remembers Connor and Noah,”she said. “But i know when I close my eyes, and see them playing in my yard once again, I smile.”

 

After reading this article, my thoughts and prayers for all those involved.

Josie

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Kevin Bissett,The Canadian Press—Nov. 2,2016

Python had escaped in weeks before brothers’deaths,negligence trial told

 

CAMPBELLTON,NB–The python that killed 2 boys had previously escaped its enclosure weeks before the tragedy, a New Brunswick court heard Wed.

Ocean Eagles,a volunteer at Jean-Claude Savoie’s reptile store,told Savoie’s criminal negligence trial in Campbellton that he told her the snake had escaped about 2 and a half weeks earlier through a ventilation duct . It soon escaped again and killed Noah Barthe,4 and Connor Barthe,6, in 2013. “He told me he was sitting down in his living room and he looked up and the snake was halfway out”,Eagles testified.

Eagles said she placed a cover over the ventilation duct,but warned Savoie,it needed to be screwed on. She said she often cared for the “dangerous” snake and fed it rabbits,but was very cautious.

“I knew what the snake was capable of. It can overtake any man,”she said.

The 2 boys died when Savoie’s 45-kg African rock python fell into the room where they slept.It’s believed the snake traveled through the ventilation duct.

Under cross-examination by defense lawyer Leslie Matchim Eagles said the snake appeared about 2 inches larger in diameter than the duct and she never thought it could escape through it.

“I would never think so when you look at the size of the snake. It would never cross my mind,”she said.

Savoie,who now lives near Montreal,owned the pet store below his apartment at the time.He wept Wednesday as the boys’ mother Mandy Trecartin,talked about her 2 sons.

She said she dropped them off for a sleepover that night certain they were in good hands.

“I felt they would be as safe with him as they would be with me,” Trecartin testified.

Trecartin says they lived behind Savoie’s apartment, and her sons were best friends with Savoie’s son. She says Savoie was a good friend,although she hasn’t seen him since Aug. 4, 2013.

They had spent that day with the boys at a farm owned by Savoie’s father,where  the boys played with a lot of animals.

That evening she and her boyfriend dropped the kids at Savoie’s apartment for a sleepover,something they often did.

At 6:49 the next morning, she heard pounding on her door,and heard Savoie saying”Oh my God, your 2 kids are dead.”

She said her boyfriend went next door with Savoie,and when he came back he told her”I’s true. It’s a fucking nightmare but it’s true.”

Also Wednesday, one of the 1st officers to arrive at the scene said he was surpried such a large snake could move so quickly. But RCMP Const. Eric Maillet said Savoie was able to recapture the python.

“The snake coiled around his arm”,Maillet said.

Savoie put the snake in its enclosure,where it could be seen through a large floor to ceiling window,he said.

“The snake started hissing  at us and lunging and hitting the window with its face.”

The python appeared to be trying to escape its enclosure again,said Maillet,who was concerned the snake wanted to feed and was trying to get back to the living room where the  bodies of the boys were.

“It was going straight up in the air towards the vent opening,she said.He said he was quite surprised how the snake was able to stand straight up – almost reaching the vent opening.

“I didn’t expect such a large reptile to be able to do that.”

He said the snake was put in a garbage bin and removed from the building.

 

 

—Trial resumes tomorrow—Nov. 3,2016

Josie

 

 

 

 

 

This latest news article came out today(Oct. 31,2016)  through the Canadian Press by Kevin Bissett…..

Jury selection begun at rink in case of NB Boys killed by escaped python

 

Campbellton,New Brunswick—A New Brunswick rink hosted jury selection Monday for the trial of a man charged in the deaths of 2 boys who were suffocated by a python.

Jean-Claude Savoie, who now lives in Montral,pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death as the case convened Monday at the Campbellton Civic Centre.

Four year old Noah Barthe and his six year old brother Connor ,died after a 45 kg African rock python fell on them as they slept in Savoie’s Campbellton apartment in august 2013.

At the time,the RCMP said the snake managed to get out of its tank overnight while the boys were sleeping.

The apartment was above the Reptile Ocean pet store,also owned by Savoie,who was a family friend and had taken the boys shopping and to a farm before the sleepover with his son.

Once jury selection is complete,the trial will be held at the nearby Campbellton courthouse.

2 weeks have been set aside for the trial.

Jury selection is being held at the rink to accommodate nearly 400 potential jurors. One end of the rink has been converted into a make-shift court.

“Your job will be to consider the evidence ,and in the end decide if Jean-Claude Savoie is guilty or not-guilty,Judge Fred Ferguson told the potential jurors.

By early afternoon,about half the jury pool had been excused and the process to pick individual jurors was set to begin.

Savoie,who has glasses and a short beard,sat quietly throughout proceedings.

In the days after the boys’deaths, 23 reptiles were seized from his store.

Environment Canada said one of its wildlife officers took the snake to Reptile Ocean in 2002.

Mark Johnson, a spokesman for the department,said they were asked to help take the snake to Reptile Ocean after it was abandoned at the SPCA in Moncton,NB.

In an email,he said department records indicate Reptile Ocean was operating as a zoo when the snake arrived at the facility in August 2002.

Canada’s Accredited zoos and Aquariums,the only nationally recognized body in the country that grants accreditation for zoos,said Reptile Ocean was never accredited nor requested accreditation.

 

Latest  news update——jury selection already completed today and the trial reportedly will start tomorrow Tues-Nov.1,2016.

Will keep all of you updated accordingly.

 

Josie

 

 

 

 

From a previous news article dated on Nov. 25,2015, the scheduled preliminary hearing began on Nov. 24,2015 in the Campbellton Provincial Court for Jean-Claude Savoie being charged with criminal negligence in the case of an African rock python weighing 45 kg  (under his care in the reptile shop –Reptile Ocean which he previously owned) which asphyxiated the 2 boys Connor(6 yo) and Noah Barthe(4 y/0) on Aug. 5,2013 after escaping from its enclosure.

Mr. Savoie ,38 y/0, who’s now living in Montreal,Quebec had earlier chosen to be tried by judge and jury in New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench and won’t enter a  plea to the charge until and unless he’s committed to trial ff. this hearing.

Subsequent news reports stated that the presiding judge—Judge Brigitte Sivret ruled that a trial should go ahead. More details to follow once I do get pertinent info regarding this matter.

Quoting the L’ETOILE article by Michel Gourd, the events that prompted such a legal case involved the ff:

“The boys were killed while they were sleeping at their friend’s place next door to their family home. Earlier,they had spent the day with Savoie’s son, at the Savoie family farm.

Police said at the time that they believed the African rock python that was in an enclosure in the apartment found an opening through the ceiling,made its way to another part of the apartment and fell through the ceiling onto the floor near where the boys were sleeping together on the floor.

The snake then asphyxiated the boys.”

 

Josie