A man accused of murdering a city drug dealer and disposing of his body in a barrel has denied any involvement in his killing.
"No, I did not kill Chad Davis," Corey Tymchsyshyn, 37, told a Winnipeg jury Tuesday after taking the stand in his own defence of a first-degree murder charge, a slight dry laugh preceding his definitive words.
"I did not plan to kill Chad Davis," he added.
Instead, Tymchsyshyn said, it was his friend and business partner, Kristopher Brincheski, 31, who beat Davis with a hammer inside a garage at 703 Prince Rupert Ave. on Feb. 6, 2008. It was after Davis lashed out and struck Brincheski with the butt end of a Glock handgun, Tymchyshyn said.
Brincheski owed Davis $10,000 for cocaine and couldn't pay up — that was what led to an angry confrontation with Davis in the garage, Tymchyshyn said.
Tymchyshyn denied being present at the killing, saying he returned home to find Davis, 22, unmoving on the garage floor and an emotional Brincheski looking "pretty beat up."
"Hysterical. He was crying. It was pretty bad," Tymchsyshyn testified. "I stepped back, went outside of the garage and lost my mind," he said.
Brincheski told him Davis knocked him down to the floor and got on top of him, which is when he reached out for a hammer in a nearby toolbox and bashed him in the head with it, Tymchsyshyn said.
The men then concocted a plan to wrap Davis's body in the plastic sheeting he was lying on (the garage was a marijuana grow operation), put Davis in a barrel and throw it in the Lee River near Lac du Bonnet, he said. Davis wouldn't be found until July 23, 2008, many months after he was declared a missing person.
On the way up to the lake with Davis's body in the back of his own Jeep, Tymchyshyn said they stopped at a friend's to borrow a drill and some metal debris to weight the barrel down.
They drove to his family's cottage in Lac du Bonnet, said Tymchyshyn. It was there that holes were drilled into the barrel as it sat in the rear of the Jeep, he said.
A key bit of the Crown's murder case against Tymchyshyn is a text he sent to Brincheski just before Davis went into the garage. "He's wearing a hat, don't miss," it said.
Tymchyshyn said the "don't miss" comment was meant sarcastically, a reference to what a houseguest, George Lancaster had said to Brincheski a few minutes earlier regarding how to defend himself.
He admitted going to a storage locker that had Davis's things in it on the day he was dumped, returning there later that month with Brincheski to clean the locker of Davis's personal items.
Tymchyshyn also admitted lying to a Winnipeg police missing persons investigator who interviewed him a few weeks later about where Davis was. "What was I supposed to tell him?" he asked. "There was a dead guy in my garage — my grow operation?"
Crown attorney Brent Davidson peppered Tymchyshyn with questions about his involvement of the cocaine trade, how he'd owed Davis thousands of dollars, was heavily in debt and had loaned out his $28,000 truck to Davis to try and satisfy some of what he owed him. Davidson theorized that Davis planned to try to buy the Prince Rupert Avenue home out from under Tymchyshyn to settle the score.
"Chad Davis going missing really worked out well for you, didn't it, sir?" the prosecutor asked. "You get rid of all your debts in one fell swoop, you kept your house, you get your truck back."
"No it didn't," replied Tymchyshyn. "That's only an assumption."
Brincheski has also pleaded not guilty and is presumed innocent.