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Davis was changing for the better before his death, court hears

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Yes, Chad Davis had many enemies given his role as a dealer in Winnipeg's drug subculture.

And yes, he had been abusive in the past towards the young woman who loved him and saw something more in him.

But around Feb. 6, 2008 — the time Davis, 22, simply vanished into thin air — he was a changing person, court heard Wednesday.

"He softened up," his girlfriend, Courtney Sych, told court Wednesday. "His whole self, toward the end became more gentle, caring, thoughtful," Sych testified.

Sych is currently being cross-examined by defence lawyers for Corey Tymchyshyn, 37, and Kristopher Brincheski, 31, who are accused of murdering Davis and disposing of his body in a barrel that was found in the Lee River months after he disappeared.

The Crown alleges the men lured Davis to a garage on Prince Rupert Avenue and killed him because Tymchyshyn owed him a drug debt of between $18,000 and $28,000.

They are presumed innocent and have pleaded not guilty.

Sych candidly admitted Davis, a cocaine dealer, led a risky lifestyle, had a temper and that "tons of people" didn't like him.

He'd have no problem punching someone out and at one time during their 1 1/2-year on and off relationship had access to a gun, Sych said.

She conceded Davis was sometimes less than kind to her in the early days of their dating and he had been convicted of assaulting her in the past. At the time he vanished, Davis was bound by conditions to have no contact with her.

But slowly, the young man improved — to the point he and Sych were to move away to Alberta together. They were packed and set to leave the city just a day and a half after he went missing.

"Me staying with him made him a better person in the end," Sych said. "He needed my love … I gave him chances, and I'm glad that I did."

The last time Sych says she saw Davis he was leaving their hotel room to go give Tymchyshyn — his friend and former roommate — a ride somewhere, casually saying he'd be gone for 30 minutes.

Sych testified she called around trying to find him after hours passed. Under cross-examination, Sych agreed she and a friend went out for a drink which turned into a few more than just one.

"I've never been incredibly drunk that I didn't know what was going on," she said. "I was not stumbling … slurring my words. I have never been that way," Sych said. "I'm never a disaster drunk," she said.

A key component of the case which emerged as evidence Tuesday was Davis's day planner.

In it, a purported 'score sheet' of who owed him money listed Tymchyshen's nickname — "Raspy" — and two amounts construed to be dollar figures.

There are several other names on the handscrawled list as well.

Sych admitted she initially tried to hide the existence of the day planner from police by pretending it was her own.

She did it for Davis's sake. "If he did come back, then the police wouldn't have got hold of that information," Sych said.

She also admitted to defence lawyer Michelle Bright that Davis had disappeared from her twice before. One time he just upped and left for Toronto to celebrate his birthday without telling her, Sych said.

The trial continues.

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