‘Shopping cart murder’: Two women plead not guilty to killing Andrea Berg

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Warning: This story contains graphic and disturbing details 

Andrea Berg died a horrific death.

She was punched, slapped, kicked, strangled, then her body was wrapped in duct tape and thrown out a third-storey window, loaded into a shopping cart and abandoned a few blocks away.

Lana Pelletier has already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the killing on June 15, 2015.

Pelletier is currently serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years.

On Tuesday, Pelletier testified as the Crown’s star witness against two other women also charged in Berg’s death.

Sophie Frenchman and Carrie Jones both pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder at the start of the trial Tuesday.

“The Crown will seek to show that Ms. Frenchman played an active and physical role [in the murder],” prosecutor Kevin Mark told the court. “While Ms. Jones aided by demonstrating and abetted by way of encouragement.”

‘Bring that bitch back to my apartment’

Pelletier testified about the day she helped to strangle Berg, saying she had been awake for days, constantly drinking vodka and injecting crystal meth.

The 38-year old was Berg’s regular drug dealer, so she was angry when she found out that Berg had bought drugs from someone else. Pelletier also became enraged when she discovered Berg had sex with a “john” and didn’t tell him she was HIV positive.

So Pelletier marched down to Berg’s apartment to confront her. They both lived in the same building.

Andrea Berg was strangled on the third floor of this central Edmonton apartment building, then dropped from the bedroom window, shown on the top left. (Edmonton Police Service )

“It escalated,” Pelletier told the court. “I started hitting Andrea.”

She admitted she told Frenchman, “Bring that bitch back to my apartment.”

The physical attack against Berg, 42, continued in Pelletier’s kitchen until Pelletier took a break to make lunch for everyone. Berg was not offered any food.

Afterwards, she said she and Frenchman took Berg into the bedroom.

Lana Pelletier testified that Andrea Berg was on her stomach on the floor, in the same location where the green suitcase is shown. (Edmonton Police Service )

“So she was sitting on the ground and again Sophie and I engaged in hitting her,” Pelletier told the court. “And it was getting violent. I needed her to slow down. I was going to do a shot of crystal meth. So I got a rig ready for her, filled with some bleach and crystal meth mixed together.”

Later, Pelletier admitted she knew the bleach could be deadly. But Berg resisted shooting up.

“That’s when it started to fall apart, I guess. I believe at that point she knew she was in trouble. So she started screaming and fighting back a little bit.”

Pelletier soaked a cloth in bleach and held it over Berg’s mouth for awhile. Then she said she got Frenchman to take over while she went to the kitchen for a knife.

She wanted to cut the cord of a speaker in her bedroom and use it to strangle Berg.

Pelletier said there was a fourth woman in the bedroom, her lover Carrie Jones. Pelletier asked her how to use the cord and said Jones demonstrated what to do, then dropped the cord and left the room.

At that point, Pelletier said she and Frenchman wrapped the cord around Berg’s neck and pulled for four or five minutes.

“It seemed like forever,” Pelletier testified.

The women finally let go of the cord and rolled Berg onto her back.

“She didn’t look alive,” Pelletier said. “She wasn’t moving. Her lips were blue.”

No one checked Berg’s pulse. An autopsy later determined she was still alive at that point.

‘I needed the body out of my apartment’

Pelletier said she sat on her bed and smoked a cigarette. She began to panic.

“I needed the body out of my apartment,” she said. They called on fellow drug user John Kisil for assistance.

Hours later, Kisil wrapped Berg in duct tape, put her in a hockey bag, then dropped the bag out the third-storey window. He placed the bag in a shopping cart and abandoning the cart in a driveway a few blocks away.

Kisil is serving a five-year sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of accessory after the fact to murder. He is expected to testify Wednesday.

Pelletier said after the attack on Berg she was overwhelmed by guilt.

“I guess my conscience got the best of me,” she said.

After she was arrested and charged, Pelletier eventually implicated Frenchman and Jones during interviews with police. By that time, the romantic relationship between Pelletier and Jones was over and Pelletier said she felt “betrayed.”

During cross-examination, Jones’s lawyer attacked Pelletier’s credibility.

“This is a thoroughly disreputable, rotten human being,” Naeem Rauf told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John Little.  “That’s the witness upon whom the Crown is relying in its attempt to establish guilt.”Andrea Berg died at age 42. (Supplied )



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