The younger brother of a suspected killer spent Wednesday getting grilled in court over how he came to implicate his kin for the murder of a young Winnipeg man whose body was found stuffed inside a barrel.
Alex Brincheski, 25, claims his memory is faulty and he may have "mixed up" details from news reports and small-town gossip regarding the death and discovery of Chad Davis.
That confusion influenced what he told RCMP and snowballed into his brother's arrest for first-degree murder, he told a jury.
Kristopher Brincheski, 31, and Corey Tymchyshyn, 37, are accused of killing Davis, 22, in the garage of Tymchyshyn's home on Prince Rupert Avenue and then disposing of his body by putting it in a plastic barrel and tossing it into a lake outside Lac du Bonnet in February 2008.
Davis's grim death wasn't discovered until cottagers pulled the barrel from the Lee River on July 23 of that year.
RCMP homicide investigators brought Alex, then 19, in for questioning on the evening of Sept. 5. He told them Kristopher disclosed details of the killing during a conversation at a job site, including that he'd been present when Davis was killed.
"I'm pretty sure he was there. He told me he was there," he told RCMP in a videotaped statement played for jurors. "He said that somebody was waiting for (the victim) in the garage, but he didn't tell me who was waiting for him."
Alex also said he'd been told Davis was beaten to death. "Somebody snuck up on him, beat the crap out of him," he said. "From what I know, it was just the three of them (in the garage), from what I was told," he said. He had no further details, however, on whether a weapon was used.
Under cross-examination, Alex agreed with defence lawyer Gerri Wiebe he was muddling things up in his mind as far as the source of his information. He agreed he didn't really know Davis had been beaten.
"Your memory on the best of days isn't so good," Wiebe offered. "No," he replied. "What you knew about what happened was all intertwined in your brain," she said.
"I agree," said Alex. He admitted to reading several news articles about Davis's disappearance and discovery prior to speaking to RCMP.
He also said Davis's death was the subject of widespread gossip and rumours in his hometown of Lac du Bonnet, where he lived and worked before moving in with Kristopher in Winnipeg in late July 2008.
Wiebe challenged him on several inconsistencies in pretrial testimony about what he did the day he talked with police, and the extent of his marijuana use.
Soon after Kristopher's arrest, Alex sent a fax to Wiebe's office wanting to recant his official statement. In the coming months, he went as far as to hire his own lawyer to draw up a sworn affidavit in hopes of clearing the air with justice officials.
In it, he said what he told police was not an "accurate recollection" of events, that Kristopher did not say he was present at the killing, and that he felt "coaxed and led" by investigators to the point he was simply parroting what they wanted him to hear.