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Trial of Marc-André Grenon&nbsp ;: a specialist explains how the accused was targeted

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The Chicoutimi courthouse

  • Mireille Chayer (View profile)Mireille Chayer

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After being suspended on Monday, The hearings resumed Tuesday morning at the trial of Marc-André Grenon with the questioning of Valérie Clermont-Beaudoin, who acts as an expert witness. The specialist in forensic biology explained how the PatronYme project worked, which led to the arrest of the accused.

The purpose of the surname search is to provide surnames as a lead for investigation when it no longer advances. It is possible to do this research if a male DNA profile is found at a crime scene.

Ms. Clermont-Beaudoin explained that only men have a Y chromosome. This is transmitted from father to son. Thus, all men from the same paternal line have the same Y profile. Traditionally, the surname of men is also transmitted from one generation to the next.

When an unknown genetic profile is found at a crime scene, it remains unknown until it is compared with a known profile. The aim of the PatronYme project is to make comparisons from the pYste database of the Laboratory of Judicial Science and Legal Medicine.

This is made up of thousands of Y profiles associated with last names. This data, publicly available on the Internet, was collected on genealogical research sites. The data comes from volunteers. The pYste database is updated annually.

In the case of Guylaine Potvin, samples taken under the nails of the victim's right hand made it possible to establish a genetic profile Y.

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As the investigation was at a standstill, a comparison was made in June 2022 with the pYste database. A scoring system is used to establish matches and the Grenon surname quickly emerged as a surname of priority interest.

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Illustration of Marc-André Grenon during his trial at the Chicoutimi courthouse.

This last name and another, whose score was also high , were sent to the investigators to allow them to continue their work. The police targeted Marc-André Grenon, whose name had appeared years earlier in the investigation into the murder of Guylaine Potvin.

To ensure the veracity of the results obtained with pYste, it is necessary to compare the Y profile found at a crime scene to the classic genetic profile of an individual. Indeed, the results do not target a particular person, but paternal lines.

To make the comparison, investigators obtained the right to follow Marc-André Grenon in order to unknowingly recover a glass and two straws that he used in a cinema in August 2022. This is what led to his arrest in October 2022.

At the end of Valérie Clermont-Beaudoin's testimony, Judge François Huot wanted to give a directive to the jury.< /p>

He recalled that the objective of the PatronYme project was to provide a lead to the police when an investigation stalls. The judge told the jurors that they could not base their final decision on the PatronYme project since it alone does not formally identify the murderer of Guylaine Potvin.

The testimony of Ms. Clermont Beaudoin was intended to help understand the process that led to the identification and arrest of Marc-André Grenon.

Judge Huot had also reminded the jury earlier that an expert could give an opinion on certain subjects, unlike other witnesses who simply report what 'they saw.

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