Bruno Coleman discusses his support of the Fontaine family
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Bruno Coleman speaks out about his late rival and family
Fontaine murder trial: Jury Deliberations Day 3
Last week, when the defense in the Benito Flores trial accused Grant Fontaine of killing his father, many Oxford citizens had a strong reaction. Some felt Grant Fontaine should have been a suspect all along, given his history of animosity with his father and his well-known drug use.
But others thought the defense was preying on a troubled young man in a cynical attempt to exonerate the man some consider unredeemable, Benito Flores.
Surprisingly, the latter group included Philip Fontaine's longtime rival Bruno Coleman. Even thought Fontaine and Coleman had been fierce competitors for decades, Coleman has weighed in on the side of the Fontaine family ever since the murder.
Shortly after Philip Fontaine was found murdered, Coleman offered a substantial reward for the arrest of the culprit.
Wednesday afternoon, Crime Beat caught up with Mr. Coleman on the Square and talked to him about his support of his longtime rival's family.
Crime Beat: Mr. Coleman, you've piqued the curiosity of a lot of people in Oxford since Philip Fontaine's murder. The two of you were adversaries for as long as most people can remember, but you've been very vocal in your support for his family. I think what we all want to know is why?
Bruno Coleman: Losing a family member, even a difficult one, so suddenly and so brutally is hard for anyone. I'm fortunate to be in a position to help Grant and Ashley, and I've only done what anyone would do.
CB: Not everyone would offer a $10,000 reward to help solve the murder of someone they'd hated for years.
BC: That's not about Philip. That's about helping his family find some peace.
CB: You can understand that people are curious about why you've gone out of your way to help the family of a man you hated.
BC: Grant and Ashley had to put up with Philip for years, which is enough to get anyone's sympathy. Don't kid yourself. Philip Fontaine was a ruthless, vindictive son of a bitch. Like I said, this isn't about him. I reached out to his family to help them, not him.
CB: Last week, you were one of the first people to come to Grant's defense after Benito Flores accused him of killing his father.
How do you explain your strong reaction to the defense's allegations?
BC: For them to try to blame Grant is just unconscionable. Grant has faced a lot of challenges in his young life, and after a lot of hard work, he's finally overcome them. He's a good man, who would never kill anyone. This dirty trick that Flores' defense is trying to pull is exactly the kind of thing Philip would've done to get himself out of trouble. That right there should prove to you they're lying.
CB: It sounds like your opinion of Philip Fontaine hasn't improved any since his death.
BC: Why would it? He was a selfish bastard. Nothing about that has changed. But no matter what kind of person he was, Flores had no right to kill him.
CB: You're convinced that Benito Flores is the one who killed Philip?
BC: I am.
CB: Didn't you originally tell the police you thought the killer was a stranger? A drifter?
BC: Well, I wasn't far off, was I?
CB: But Benito Flores was known to the Fontaine family. And he lives here in town.
BC: I'm not going to comment on his character. That's been well-established in court.
CB: Has anyone claimed the reward you offered after the murder?
BC: I've been asked not to talk about that until after the trial is over, so I really can't comment.
CB: Who asked you not to talk about it?
BC: I'm afraid I have to be going now. I have a meeting.
CB: One last question before you go. The jury has been deliberating now for almost three full days. Why do you think they haven't decided on a verdict yet?
BC: I have no idea.
CB: What do you think the verdict will be when it finally comes in?
BC: It'll be guilty. Because he is guilty.
The third day of deliberations ended without a verdict. The jury will resume deliberations Thursday morning.