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Arrest reports say Cassandritz Blanc confessed that he wanted to conceal the murders of his wife and father-in-law by dismembering her body and setting his body on fire.
He didn’t succeed.
Martine Bernard’s pregnant body, though mutilated, was intact when it was found Tuesday in a Waste Management trash container in an alley behind their Fort Lauderdale home. Setting Roosevelt Bernard’s body on fire Monday morning didn’t destroy nearly enough evidence before Bernard was found Monday morning in a vacant field near his Hollywood house in the 2900 block of Washington Street.
The failure of Blanc’s efforts didn’t prevent prosecutors from attaching two counts of abusing a dead human body to the two counts of premeditated murder. The 22-year-old is held without bond in Broward County Main Jail. An immigrant from Haiti, he has no criminal record in this country other than traffic tickets.
According to the arrest reports, Blanc said he killed his 20-year-old wife on June 4 — exactly eight months after they were married in Hollywood.
“He gave details about the murder and said he killed Martine Bernard because she disrespected him,” Hollywood Detective Orlando Almanzar wrote.
“Blanc tried to dismember the body to make it easier to dispose (of). But he was unable to remove any body parts.”
In contrast, the report says Blanc gave no reason for killing the elder Bernard, although the report says he admitted he planned to do so when he arrived at his in-laws’ house on Saturday.
Blanc’s mother-in-law, Yvrose Bernard, told police she and her husband planned to go to a family event Saturday afternoon when Blanc dropped by the house. He needed to pick up clothes Martine had left there, Blanc told Yvrose. Yvrose went to shower, leaving Blanc alone with Roosevelt Bernard, 68.
An arrest report says Blanc admits following his father-in-law into Martine’s former bedroom and shooting him twice. Blanc told police he shot Roosevelt Bernard in the back because he wasn’t able to look his father-in-law in the face.
He locked the bedroom door and returned to the living room. When Yvrose emerged, she noticed the locked bedroom door and that Blanc was wearing gloves. Blanc told her a Hispanic male had knocked on the door and asked Roosevelt Bernard to talk outside.
Once daughter Joane Bernard arrived, the three left for the family event around 4 p.m. Yvrose and Joane figured Roosevelt would join them there.
Blanc told them he forgot some food in the house. Yvrose gave him a key. This allowed Blanc to unlock the back door and leave it unlocked. When he returned to an empty house, he told police, he put Roosevelt Bernard’s body in a city-issued trash can and wheeled it to the vacant field, where he dumped it in the bushes. He’d return Monday morning at 4 a.m. to set the body on fire, police said.
Before that, however, Yvrose and Joane Bernard reported Roosevelt missing. They came home around 10 p.m. Saturday to find Roosevelt’s wallet, keys, cellphone and car, but no Roosevelt. Hollywood cops summoned Cassandritz back to the house. He repeated his story about the Hispanic male to them.
Family members noticed their trash can was missing. And Ryan Bernard, Roosevelt and Yvrose’s son and a Miami Gardens police officer, saw what looked like blood on the exterior door and floor of his sister Martine’s former room.
A neighbor’s surveillance video, according to the report, put Hollywood detectives on Blanc’s trail.
There’s Blanc returning on Saturday, 10 minutes after they left for the family gathering. There’s Blanc rolling the garbage can with great effort from the direction of the house toward the vacant lot. Then, there’s Blanc pulling the garbage can in the other direction. The video also shows a similar white Dodge returning Monday morning before dawn — right before a fire starts in the area where Roosevelt Bernard’s body would be discovered.
A witness put someone with Blanc’s skin tone and two-tone hair in the alley north of her house on Saturday. Hollywood cops found the trash can with blood inside it.
Hollywood cops asked Blanc to speak with them on Monday — and to bring his wife. Blanc showed up alone. Martine refused to come, he said, and her problematic cellphone made phone conversations with her hard.
Blanc stuck with his Hispanic male story. He explained that the gloves his mother-in-law noticed protected his hands from a self-diagnosed skin condition. But he denied returning to the house as the surveillance video showed. And he wouldn’t give his address, saying only that he lived in Fort Lauderdale. He claimed fear of the Hispanic male he said had wanted to talk to Roosevelt on Saturday.
Blanc left the interview when detectives started presenting the inconsistencies. But they were watching Tuesday before dawn when he wheeled Martine’s body in garbage bags to the Waste Management garbage can. Fort Lauderdale police arrested him around 4:40 a.m.