Trial begins in Calgary for man accused of killing girlfriend nearly 20 years ago

The second-degree murder trial for a man accused of killing his girlfriend almost 20 years ago began in Calgary on Monday.

Stephane Parent, 52, has pleaded not guilty to the 2002 Valentine’s Day homicide of his on-and-off girlfriend, 21-year-old Adrienne McColl.

McColl’s body was found in a ditch on a farmer’s field near Nanton on Feb. 17, 2002.

It wasn’t until 16 years after her death that Parent was arrested and charged.

Crown prosecutor Shane Parker said McColl was strangled and suffered a fractured skull from multiple blows to the head.

Shandi Bard (left) and Adrienne McColl are seen in a photo from 2000. Obtained by Global News

Court heard from the first two witnesses of the trial: Shandi Bard, McColl’s best friend since Grade 7, and a co-worker of Parent and McColl’s at Studio 82, a bar where they worked.

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Bard said McColl was witty, inclusive, friendly and soft-spoken.

She remembers McColl having a miscarriage and a stillbirth with Parent and how toward the end of McColl’s life, Parent was living out of his car.

Parent did not return to Calgary for her funeral, Bard said.

Adrienne McColl, 21, was found dead outside Nanton, Alta., on Feb. 17, 2002.
Adrienne McColl, 21, was found dead outside Nanton, Alta., on Feb. 17, 2002. Alberta RCMP

The co-worker recalled a fight one night at the bar when McColl asked him to call 911 after Parent allegedly choked her during a fight. The co-worker said the two fought often.

Thirty-five witnesses will testify during the three-week trial, according to the Crown.

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