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'Mommy's not waking up': Court sees texts in murder trial when child finds mother's body

·2 min read
Windsor's first criminal jury trial since COVID-19 began is taking place on Oct. 12, 2021. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)
Windsor's first criminal jury trial since COVID-19 began is taking place on Oct. 12, 2021. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)

Text messages became public Tuesday in a Windsor murder trial that show how the victim's nine-year-old son reached out to his father when he found his mother lifeless in her bed.

It was the second day of the first-degree murder trial of Jitesh Bhogal. On June 10, 2018 Autumn Taggart's body was found in her third-floor apartment in the city's west end.

Chris Sherwin, Taggart's former partner and father of their son, testified that he last heard from her via text message around 12:30 a.m. on June 10. When he woke up in the morning, he texted again but didn't receive a response. At that point, he said he was worried, the court heard.

It wasn't until later that day that he said he received a text from Taggart's phone. He quickly realized it was his son. A copy of the text messages was displayed in court for the jury to see.

Windsor Police Service
Windsor Police Service

"Mommy's not waking up," the son texted.

"Ok buddy daddy is coming," Sherwin replied via text message. "Hold on to the phone please."

He arrived to find his son visible from the 3rd floor balcony living room, behind the glass sliding door, he testified. Sherwin said his son came downstairs to let him in. He went up to the apartment, and told his son to wait with his fiancée outside.

When he went into the apartment, Sherwin testified Taggart wasn't moving, appeared very white and had a bruised and bloody nose.

He "went out into the living room and fell down," Sherwin told the court.

Crown Attorney Kim Bertholet plans to call roughly 30 witnesses over the course of the eight-week trial. It's the first jury trial in Windsor in approximately 20 months, the courts having shut down due to the pandemic.

On Monday, Bertholet outlined to the 14 jurors and Justice Renee Pomerance how the accused allegedly came into Canada using the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel at around 2:15 a.m. on June 10, 2018.

After purchasing and consuming cocaine, Bertholet alleges Bhogal broke into Taggart's apartment. Once inside, he allegedly told Taggart's son, who was nine-years-old at the time, to go back to his room and go to bed.

Proceedings continue Wednesday.

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