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Ugo Fredette has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murders of Veronique Barbe and Yvon Lacasse.HO/The Canadian Press

A Quebec man accused of the murder of two people, including his ex-wife, snapped the day of the killings but didn’t intend to kill anyone, his lawyer told a jury on Thursday.

Ugo Fredette has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murders of Veronique Barbe and Yvon Lacasse.

Louis-Alexandre Martin delivered his opening statement to jurors in the case of Mr. Fredette, asking them not to absolve him but to set aside the murder charges and find him guilty of manslaughter.

Mr. Martin said to find one guilty of murder, the Crown must demonstrate intent, adding that Mr. Fredette, 43, blacked out during much of the crimes he is accused of committing.

“Without intention, (premeditated) murder cannot be the verdict,” he told jurors.

Mr. Martin said the defence will focus on a man who was abused psychologically – and at times physically – who reached “his breaking point” but didn’t intend to kill anyone.

He painted a portrait of a man in love with his wife, whom he’d first met in elementary school. But for her, that relationship was less clear, Mr. Martin said, describing her as someone who screamed at Mr. Fredette and spoke ill of him in public and online.

On the day of the slayings, the couple had a violent altercation, and Ms. Barbe allegedly made a threat that put Mr. Fredette in a state of panic and “triggered something in his head,” Mr. Martin said. A court order prevents the nature of the threat from being revealed.

“He snapped,” Mr. Martin told the jurors, alleging that Ms. Barbe, 41, tried to push Mr. Fredette down the stairs and went for a knife. The lawyer said Mr. Fredette blocked her, and only has flashes of memory after that.

Mr. Fredette recalled a stab wound on the woman’s arm, and then he blacked out before remembering Ms. Barbe, on the ground, a knife planted in her.

A child was present at the scene and, fearful of the blood, Mr. Fredette left in a state of panic with the youngster.

According to his lawyer’s account, they travelled by car through a number of cities in Quebec before stopping at a rest area in La Tuque, where Mr. Fredette went to the bathroom and returned to find the child missing.

Panicked, he saw an elderly man pulling the boy’s hands toward him in his car- Mr. Lacasse. They got into a fight, and the elderly man fell and struck his head. Mr. Fredette thought he was dead. The actions suggest the accused wasn’t in a normal state, his lawyer said.

Later, he noticed the child had blood on his hands, and he realized that was probably why Mr. Lacasse had been inspecting the youngster’s hands.

None of the details presented by Mr. Fredette’s lawyer have been proven in court, and his account does not constitute evidence.

The Crown’s case against Mr. Fredette was that he couldn’t accept the end of his relationship with Ms. Barbe, 41, so he allegedly stabbed her 17 times in front of the child before fleeing. While on the lam, he allegedly murdered Mr. Lacasse, 71, before stealing his car at a rest stop.

Mr. Fredette was arrested Sept. 15, 2017, in Ontario. He was reportedly spotted by citizens across Quebec during his alleged run from authorities.

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