The Crown concluded presenting evidence in its case against Darryl Sheepway in Yukon Supreme Court Monday afternoon.
The 39-year-old is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of Christopher Brisson, 25, in August 2015.
According to the agreed facts, on Aug. 28, Sheepway, desperate for crack cocaine and without access to money, met Brisson at a pullout on the McLean Lake Road.
There he shot and killed Brisson with a slug fired from a 12-gauge pump action rifle.
Later that day, Sheepway moved his body, leaving it on a hill overlooking Miles Canyon. The details of the shooting are disputed by the Crown and defence.
On Monday, the court heard testimony from RCMP Const. Craig Thur, the lead investigator.
He spoke about a further search at the McLean Lake Road in June 2017 where interior casing from Federal brand buckshot was found.
Thur testified he and two other officers were searching with metal detectors for a slug that Sheepway claimed had gone straight through the passenger window of Brisson’s truck.
Thur explained that search was not conducted until 2017 because it was not crucial to the case. Without an expert opinion, he said, he could not conclude whether the buckshot was related to Brisson’s shooting.
Finally, the court watched part of an RCMP interview with Sheepway recorded on Sept. 20, 2016, the day after he was arrested and charged with murder.
At first, Sheepway appears reluctant to talk. With his hood up and his face buried in his arms on the desk, his responses are brief.
“My lawyers told me to say nothing so I don’t want to say anything,” he tells the officer.
But bit by bit, over coffee and cigarettes, Sheepway reveals details of what happened that day.
“The gun was for me, I was going to kill myself,” he explains. “I just wanted drugs, I just wanted drugs. I wanted drugs so I could get high so I could kill myself.”
When the officer presses for more information, Sheepway questions the point when the RCMP already know he’s responsible.
“My legacy is already ruined,” he says. “I’m ruined as a person.”
The officer tells Sheepway that he has an opportunity to give closure and show that he’s sorry.
“I am sorry for what I did,” Sheepway says.
He then tells the officer that he will tell the “whole story” if he helps him cash a cheque to take care of his family.
The officer responds that he’d rather Sheepway not tell him anything than make any deals.
Eventually, Sheepway asks the officer for another cigarette and tells him he’s ready to explain what happened.
When the officer returns, Sheepway begins by saying he met Brisson at the Mountain Ridge Hotel, where he was living, and asked for drugs on credit. Brisson told Sheepway he needed money, but gave him a little bit of crack cocaine.
“I started using it, but it went very fast,” he recalls.
The two went their separate ways, but Sheepway says while driving home on the highway, he turned around and drove back to the hotel.
He used a phone in the office to ask Brisson to meet him at the McLean Lake Road, telling him he had money for more drugs.
“I obviously didn’t have any money,” he says.
Sheepway backed into the pullout. Then Brisson drove up so their driver’s side windows were parallel.
Sheepway says he held up his shotgun and told Brisson to “give me everything he had.”
He then claims Brisson grabbed the gun and it went off twice as they struggle. Sheepway says he didn’t believe either of the shots hit Brisson as they shattered his truck windows.
He then tells the officer there was a third shot. Brisson drove forward, he says, so he leaned out and fired toward Brisson’s truck, hitting the vehicle.
Brisson then quickly reversed and drove out of sight.
When Sheepway drove out, he saw Brisson’s truck had crashed into the brush. Brisson was lying dead on the ground.
“I didn’t know if he died from the gunshot wound or from being thrown from the vehicle,” he says. “I’m not convinced he died from a gunshot wound.”
The officer explains that Brisson died from “catastrophic blood loss” from a slug that had hit the back of his left shoulder and ended in the right side of his jaw.
“So then he was hit during the struggle,” Sheepway says.
“I don’t think so, man,” the officer responds. “I think you know when you hit him.”
“It might’ve been the third shot,” Sheepway says. “But that would’ve had to go through the metal before it hit him.”
The officer continues to say there is something Sheepway is leaving out. But Sheepway is adamant that that’s what happened.
At first, Sheepway says he took “just drugs” from Brisson. He later admits that he also took cash from Brisson’s pocket. This was later revealed to be money Brisson’s father had paid him earlier that day for work he had done.
“I only took the money and considered it a bonus after I found it,” Sheepway says, stressing that it was not a motive for the alleged botched robbery.
Sheepway says he then left the scene and returned about an hour later to collect the shotgun shells and move Brisson’s body.
“I got really paranoid about the scene,” he explains.
“I was using pretty heavily the whole time I was driving around,” he adds.
Monday marked the beginning of the second week of Sheepway’s trial following a one-week hiatus. There was no court proceeding today.
The defence is set to begin presenting its evidence in the case Wednesday morning, with Sheepway testifying in his own defence.
It also hopes to call forensic psychiatrist Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe as an expert witness, but the Crown plans on challenging that. They will enter into a voire dire, or a hearing within the trial, that will determine the admissibility of his evidence.
Meanwhile, Brisson’s father has sat in the gallery throughout the difficult procceedings.
Brisson’s friends also placed flowers and a note to Brisson saying “Chris we love you” on the courthouse front steps.
Earlier the Star incorrectly reported that it was family members who were responsible for the items.
The trial is being heard by Justice Leigh Gower.