Jury selection began at the Acadia Parish Courthouse Tuesday for the second-degree murder trial of a man accused of drowning his stepdaughter in 2013.
Kerry Bertrand, the stepfather of 20-year-old Skylar Credeur, is believed to have held her down in a bathtub in their rural Acadia Parish home Aug. 20, 2013.
According to police reports, Credeur was found drowned in a bathtub by Acadia Parish deputies. After searching the rural Acadia Parish home, relatives found Bertrand hiding in the attic.
Bertrand had threatened repeatedly to kill Credeur and “hide (her) body in a swamp,” while sexually abusing her over a period of years, according to a statement submitted to the Acadia Parish court by Credeur in seeking a protective order against Bertrand.
She said Bertrand had sexually abused her for years until she was 16 years old by sneaking into her bedroom at night and threatening to kill her if she told anyone, according to the statement.
A week after the protective order was issued, Credeur was found dead.
Bertrand, 43, had been arrested in May on the charge of child molestation, which investigators said occurred over an 11-year-period, from 1998 to 2009. Credeur and her mother had filed protective orders against Bertrand, which he broke more than once before her death.
Credeur’s mother, Alidia Credeur Bertrand, stated that Bertrand had been intimidating the family since his release from jail in August after a bill of information was not filed, according to court documents.
Along with the second-degree murder charge, Bertrand faces six counts of violation of a protective order.
Mike Harson, District Attorney at the time of the murder, said in 2013 that initial molestation charges that were filed against Bertrand were dismissed because Credeur was the only witness to the crime.
Credeur was a sophomore chemistry student at UL.
“It is heartwarming to know that Skylar touched so many lives in her brief time with us,” the family wrote in a letter to The Daily Advertiser in September 2013. “Skylar is deeply missed by many, some whom we had no idea she had influenced. We appreciate that people shared with us all the ways Skylar had touched your lives.”
Information from: The Daily Advertiser