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A HAPPIER TIME – Darryl Sheepway is seen running in the Carbon Hill sled dog race in January 2015. He is currently on trial on a charge of first-degree murder.

Accused’s ex-wife testifies about his behaviour

It was an intense and emotional day Tuesday in Yukon Supreme Court during the second day of Darryl Sheepway’s trial.

By Emily Blake on November 8, 2017

It was an intense and emotional day Tuesday in Yukon Supreme Court during the second day of Darryl Sheepway’s trial.

The 39-year-old is facing a first-degree murder charge in relation to the death of Christopher Brisson, 25, on the McLean Lake Road on Aug. 28, 2015.

The court heard details about Sheepway’s drug use, his relationship with Brisson, and his ex-wife’s description of events leading up to and after Brisson’s death.

In an audio-recorded interview with the RCMP on April 7, 2017, Sheepway talks about his drug use and how he had first met Brisson in August 2015.

At the time, Sheepway denied to police that he had been involved in Brisson’s death. He has since admitted that he killed Brisson, but says it hadn’t been pre-meditated.

In the audio statement, Sheepway explains that he began using crack cocaine in 2015 after having been introduced to it by a friend.

“It caused a lot of problems for me,” he said.

He obtained Brisson’s number as a source of the drug through a “friend of a friend.” They first met at the Yukon College parking lot in early August.

Crack scene

“I was pretty new to the using crack scene,” Sheepway said, noting he used the drug for about two months.

Sheepway said he began meeting Brisson almost daily that month to buy crack and cocaine at various locations around Whitehorse.

He never knew Brisson’s name, he said, until it appeared in news reports after his body was found by a mushroom picker on Sept. 1, 2015 near Miles Canyon. He also claimed this is how he’d found out about Brisson’s death.

Sheepway’s ex-wife, Katherine Scheck, also testified Tuesday via CCTV from outside the courtroom.

Sheepway had his head on the desk and audibly sobbed throughout most of Scheck’s testimony.

Defence lawyer Lynn MacDiarmid told the court, “Mr. Sheepway is filled with guilt and shame over what he’s put his family through.”

Scheck testified she met Sheepway in July 2010 while they were both working at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, and they married in the summer of 2012.

But looking back, she said, the relationship wasn’t healthy.

“It was just one bad event after another,” she said. “He was always laying the groundwork for leading a double life.”

Things became more challenging when their daughter was born in April 2013. While she was “an amazing perfect baby,” Scheck said Sheepway had difficulty with the challenges of being a father.

“It was bringing up just a lot of bad memories, and he was struggling to cope as a dad.”

Around September 2014, Scheck discovered her husband had a secret email account. The court did not hear details of what it contained.

“It was beyond upsetting,” she said.

As a result, Scheck urged Sheepway to see an addictions counsellor. At the time, she knew he was using marijuana but said he was good at hiding his drug use.

Scheck also recounted the night prior to Brisson’s death.

She said she and Sheepway spent a quiet night at home, and that he was acting normal, “nothing out of the ordinary.”

He wasn’t exhibiting signs she had seen on other occasions that she later learned were indicative of crack cocaine use: dry mouth affecting his speech, dilated pupils, seeming agitated, and being mean. But Scheck said it was possible he used drugs after she went to bed.

During a video re-enactment of his movements taken on Oct. 4, 2016, Sheepway told the RCMP he had been using crack cocaine all that evening and the next morning.

Scheck said the next day, while trying to pay a bill over the phone, her card was declined.

When she checked her account online, she found that there had been several cash withdrawals over the month totalling $1,200. At the time, she knew it was fraudulent activity, but did not suspect that Sheepway was responsible.

“He seemed just as shocked as I did,” she said.

Through the bank, she learned that the cash had been taken at several ATMs around Whitehorse through chip and pin transactions, but still had her credit card. She then reported it to the Whitehorse RCMP.

Scheck said she was running through possible scenarios through her head when she began strongly suspecting her husband was responsible. But when she confronted Sheepway, he completely denied it.

“Darryl is really good at denying things and lying about things,” she said. “His denial was so convincing that it just left me confused.”

When she left to drive into the city, Scheck took Sheepway’s cell phone to see what she could find. His credit cards and driver’s licence were also in the phone’s case.

“I thought that it either had to do with sex or drugs,” Scheck explained.

She went to pick up their daughter, then met a friend at the Canada Games Centre. She then went to Copper Ridge for dinner with a group of girlfriends.

Throughout the day, Scheck received phone messages and texts via computer from Sheepway about her whereabouts.

She was unaware that while she was out, her husband had driven to meet Brisson to buy drugs, fatally shot him at the McLean Lake Road, then disposed of his body near Miles Canyon.

When she returned home after midnight, Scheck testified, her husband admitted he had taken the money and that he was using it to buy crack cocaine.

“I was totally shocked,” Scheck said. “The drugs really scared me.”

They made plans for him to enter detox in Whitehorse on Aug. 30.

On Aug. 29, Sheepway suggested they go to Miles Canyon to take a family photo on the suspension bridge. Scheck said she thought it was a strange idea.

In the video re-enactment, Sheepway told the RCMP he’d wanted to see if anything was happening in the area in regard to Brisson’s body.

Scheck said she didn’t learn of Sheepway’s connection to Brisson until she visited him at the hospital and questioned how he would stay clean.

Sheepway told her that his drug supplier was the man whose body had been found.

“I said, ‘That’s why you don’t get involved with that world,’” Scheck remembered telling him.

It wasn’t until May 28, 2016 that she first learned of Sheepway’s involvement in the death when he called her from Prince George, B.C.

Life not worth living

Scheck recounted that Sheepway said he was 1,000 miles away and running away. He said life wasn’t worth living, and that he was going to be in jail for the rest of his life.

“I said, ‘That’s silly; people have insurance for that; it’s just money; it’s not the end of the world,’” she said, thinking he was referring to theft and fraud.

But Sheepway told her, “I killed that guy.”

Scheck said her immediate reaction was to get police involved. She recorded the rest of the phone call and had someone else call the RCMP while Sheepway gave her details about Brisson’s death.

“I started shaking; I felt super-sick to my stomach,” Scheck said.

The RCMP were able to track Sheepway’s location. He was apprehended by Prince George RCMP under the province’s Mental Health Act.

He was brought back to Whitehorse to face charges of theft and fraud. He pled guilty and was sentenced to a period of incarceration in Whitehorse.

On Aug. 19, 2016, Sheepway was released from the Whitehorse Correctional Centre and was arrested on the murder charge. In following statements to the police, he admitted to killing Brisson.

Justice Leigh Gower is presiding over the trial, which began Monday and is scheduled for four weeks.

Comments (1)

Up 29 Down 7

... you're amazing Ms.Scheck on Nov 9, 2017 at 10:12 am

Good luck in dealing with this. You've always been a worthy opponent in sport; I hope you're able to take that drive and those accomplishments and put them towards your life.

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