Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Crown closes case in Davis murder trial

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After calling weeks of evidence, the Crown has closed its case against two men accused of murdering a Winnipeg man whose body was recovered from a plastic barrel plucked out of a Manitoba river.

Jurors hearing the first-degree murder case against Corey Tymchyshyn, 37, and Kristopher Brincheski, 31, in the 2008 death of Chad Davis, 22, were sent home until next Tuesday.

Defence lawyers have not signalled yet whether they plan to call any of their own evidence. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

The Crown's case is largely circumstantial. Jurors have heard about phone records, autopsy findings, forensic inquiries and a wealth of evidence about Davis's particular habits.

The Crown's position is Davis was killed on Feb. 6, 2008 in a surprise attack inside garage on Prince Rupert Avenue, his body wrapped in reflective plastic meant to be used in a marijuana grow operation and placed into the barrel.

Davis was officially declared missing soon after this day. He was found in the barrel on July 23, 2008 when two Lee River cottagers opened it up.

The final Crown witness was RCMP Cpl. Chris Rouire, the lead investigator in the homicide probe, one he described as "large."

More than 150 witnesses were interviewed by Mounties, hundreds of exhibits were seized and disclosure in the case grew to between 13,000 and 15,000 pages, Rouire testified.

Serious Crime Unit officers also double-checked the facts of the Winnipeg police missing persons investigation, which the RCMP inherited after Davis was found dead.

Key to Rouire's testimony was his explanation of so-called "hold-back evidence," or information about the case police intentionally kept out of the public sphere in order to not taint the investigation.

In Davis's case, his cause of death was held back (he'd been beaten to death, possibly with a hammer), along with specifics about what was found in the barrel, Rouire said. "Anything in the barrel, people wouldn't have known about," he said.

The non-disclosures raise questions about how Brincheski's brother was able to tell police on Sept. 5, 2008 that Davis had been beaten.

"Somebody snuck up on him, beat the crap out of him," Alex Brincheski said, relaying to RCMP what he then claimed was information Kristopher had recently told him.

Thursday, Alex told jurors he was muddled and confused about the source of his information. He'd taken legal steps to retract his RCMP statement as inaccurate.

"He also did not say he was shot — he did not say that he was stabbed," Rouire said.

Rouire said it was only through speaking with Alex that they learned of the Prince Rupert Avenue garage being a potential scene of the homicide. "That's the first we heard of it," he said. "Didn't know where it happened until that day." A search of the garage netted a single drop of blood matching Davis's DNA.

The Crown has presented evidence to bolster their theory that 703 Prince Rupert was the last place Davis was ever seen alive. Tymchyshyn, however, told police Davis had turned up there in the early afternoon and left in a taxi, saying he was going out of town and would be back in a few days.

Prosecutors allege Tymchyshyn misdialled a text meant for Brincheski stating, "he's wearing a hat don't miss" just before the attack. Rouire was adamant that the number that text was sent to (810-20**) was checked out by RCMP to see who it belonged to, even though there was no note of this being done in the RCMP file.

Brincheski's lawyer, Michelle Bright, peppered the cop with questions about a phone number that appeared several times in Davis's phone records in the days before and on the day he went missing. Rouire couldn't be definite about whether police looked for subscriber information for this number to check it out.

"I'm sure somebody did," he said. "Somebody would have tried to find it," said Rouire, who agreed details of that task weren't in the available RCMP notes.


Updated on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 2:06 PM CST: Fixes typo in headline.

9:12 PM: Corrects first sentence to indicate the barrel was found in a river.

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