Sarnia man charged with two counts of second degree murder

It has been more than a week since OPP announced that a person was in custody following the discovery of two bodies in Sarnia and rural Lambton County, but the suspect’s name still had not been released. disclosed Thursday.

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A Sarnia man has been charged with two counts of second degree murder in the deaths of two people whose remains were found last week in Sarnia and a rural area south of Petrolia.

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Postmedia News reported Thursday that court documents showed Matthew Edward Theriault, 42, was charged with one counts of murder and two counts of contempt of body. Thériault lives in a basement apartment at 102 Watson Street that the police “swarmed” with a ram on December 28, according to several neighbors.

On Thursday evening, Lambton OPP confirmed the charges against Thériault in the death of Lance Richardson, 31, of Mississauga and a second person whose remains were found in Enniskillen Township, south of Petrolia.

Investigators continue to work with the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario and Ontario Forensic Pathology Services to identify the person whose remains were found in Enniskillen Township, police said.

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Richardson’s body was in the Watson Street building in Sarnia, police said.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about Richardson or with whom he was in contact prior to his death to contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- 8477.

Police did not disclose any details of the causes of the deaths or whether investigators believed weapons had been used.

Jim Bell, who lives in the same Watson Street apartment complex, said it was “shocking” to hear Thériault being charged with two murders, adding that he was a “good” neighbor who was left alone.

“We’ve never had a problem with him,” Bell said Thursday. “That’s the shocking part of it all. “

But Bell added that Thériault, who worked sparingly for the local carpenters union, had previously struggled with drug issues and “was trying to get back on his feet” by attending “religiously” meetings about sobriety.

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“He looked good compared to the times I’ve seen him before,” he said.

Matthew Edward Theriault of Sarnia has been charged with two counts of second degree murder and two counts of contempt of body.  The charges were laid as part of an investigation by Sarnia Police and Lambton Ontario Provincial Police into the deaths of Lance Richardson, 31, of Mississauga and a second person who did not not identified.  (Facebook)
Matthew Edward Theriault of Sarnia has been charged with two counts of second degree murder and two counts of contempt of body. The charges were laid as part of an investigation by Sarnia Police and Lambton Ontario Provincial Police into the deaths of Lance Richardson, 31, of Mississauga and a second person who did not not identified. (Facebook)

Thériault worked for Sarnia Carpenters Local 1256, according to his Facebook page. The union’s business leader did not immediately respond to a request for information on Thursday whether he was still a member.

Thériault is from Oil Springs, according to his Facebook page.

Despite their identical names and surnames, this defendant is not the same Matthew Theriault who was sentenced almost a year ago to 10 years in prison for manslaughter in the 2019 knife death of Jesse Mowat-Caudle, a 26 year old resident of Sarnia.

The investigation began on December 28 when Lambton OPP responded to a complaint from a suspicious person on Crooked Road in Enniskillen Township, police said. Officers found a suspect on the Oil Springs line, police said.

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Officers located human remains in the area, police said, and a second location has been identified on Watson Street in Sarnia, where a second death investigation involving Sarnia police has begun.

The Sarnia Police Mobile Command Vehicle was parked outside the Watson Street building for a week before leaving on Tuesday, Bell said. One of the garage doors was barricaded.

One of the garage doors at a Watson Street apartment complex in Sarnia was boarded up on Thursday, January 6, 2022 (Terry Bridge / Postmedia Network)
One of the garage doors at a Watson Street apartment complex in Sarnia was boarded up on Thursday, January 6, 2022 (Terry Bridge / Postmedia Network)

Thériault has appeared in courtrooms in Sarnia at least twice since his arrest, including Wednesday by teleconference from Sarnia jail. Dressed in standard orange clothing and a blue surgical mask, Thériault stood with his tattooed arms crossed in front of him as criminal defense attorney Terry Brandon spoke on his behalf.

Brandon called this a “very serious case”.

As the case unfolds in court, the Crown identified 27 people – including Bell – that they wanted to ban Thériault from contacting. Justice of the Peace Debra Isaac has made an order under the Criminal Code.

A court-ordered publication ban was already in place for any evidence presented in any bail hearings or preliminary inquiries.

In the meantime, Brandon has requested that the case be adjourned until January 24 for a disclosure update.

A section of Crooked Road in Enniskillen Township is closed permanently because it is not maintained as a road, a resident said.  Police said a complaint about a suspicious person in the area led to an investigation into the deaths of two people whose bodies were found in Enniskillen Township and Sarnia.  Photo taken December 30, 2021 (Terry Bridge / Postmedia Network)
A section of Crooked Road in Enniskillen Township is closed permanently because it is not maintained as a road, a resident said. Police said a complaint about a suspicious person in the area led to an investigation into the deaths of two people whose bodies were found in Enniskillen Township and Sarnia. Photo taken December 30, 2021 (Terry Bridge / Postmedia Network)

Bell said he last spoke to Thériault on the morning of Dec. 27 in the aisle and recalled asking how his Christmas had been.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to talk about it,’” Bell said. “He said it very pleasantly, (but) he just didn’t want to go into it.”

tbridge@postmedia.com

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