Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jury set to weigh complex murder case

DNA evidence among factors in Davis killing

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RCMP / Manitoba Justice 
RCMP divers and forensic officers secure the barrel in which the body of Chad Davis (at right) was found in 2008.

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RCMP / Manitoba Justice RCMP divers and forensic officers secure the barrel in which the body of Chad Davis (at right) was found in 2008.

Prosecutors closed their first-degree murder case Thursday against two men accused of killing a young Winnipeg man and disposing of his body in a plastic barrel that was fished out of a Manitoba river months after he was declared missing.

Kristopher Brincheski, 31, and Corey Tymchyshyn, 37, have pleaded not guilty to killing Chad Davis, 22, inside a garage on Prince Rupert Avenue on Feb. 6, 2008, and are presumed innocent.

After hearing weeks of evidence, a 10-person jury returns to court next week to find out what comes next for them as the complex and circumstantial case they've been hearing continues. Here are a few key moments in the evidence they've heard so far.

 

  • The victim

A wealth of evidence was called regarding Davis's habits and proclivities. Through emotional testimony from his parents and then-girlfriend, the jury learned much about Davis, including that he was involved with the city's drug trade, had an affinity for designer goods and watches, had a temper at times and hated taking taxis. Court heard he also had "tons" of people who didn't like him, he could be secretive and was very protective of his possessions. His parents testified they'd be in touch with him almost every day, and certainly within every 48 hours. "He kept us absolutely totally protected from his friends -- he trusted absolutely no one," his mother, Lori Davis, told court.

 

  • The missing-persons investigation

Winnipeg police Det. Matthew Freeman spoke with Tymchyshyn on Feb. 19, 2008, nearly two weeks after Davis left his girlfriend in a hotel room, telling her he was going to give Tymchyshyn a ride. At that time, she said, the Jeep was packed full of their personal belongings as they were soon to move to Calgary.

Tymchyshyn told the officer Davis, his friend, had come to his home at 703 Prince Rupert Ave. on the afternoon of Feb. 6 or 7, stayed for a while and left in a white cab, leaving behind his Jeep Grand Cherokee. Tymchyshyn disclosed he'd owed Davis about $18,000 for a cocaine debt, but said the debt had been repaid. Jurors were shown there was no record of a white cab being dispatched to the home after noon on Feb. 6. One company, however, couldn't provide records because they no longer existed.

 

  • Plastic shavings

After Davis was pulled out of the black plastic barrel he was found in on July 23, 2008, police found within the vessel a black piece of plastic believed to be from holes drilled in its lid. Winnipeg police missing-persons investigators had searched his Jeep and photographed similar-looking shavings in the rear hatch but didn't seize them at the time. RCMP were given a cleaning kit Davis's father had moved from the vehicle, and inside, small bits of black plastic were found. An RCMP trace-evidence expert testified the shavings were "indistinguishable" from the plastic from which the barrel was made.

That said, the type of plastic is common, cheap and widely used in countless items in the world, Dr. Kimberly Kenny told court.

 

  • The RCMP search Brincheski's home

A September 2008 search of Brincheski's home at 52 Beeston Dr. resulted in the seizure by RCMP of several items identified in court as belonging to Davis, including a large TV, other electronics and a Tommy Hilfiger blanket. Kristopher Brincheski's younger brother, Alex, testified Kristopher Brincheski got a call at a job site on Sept. 4, and the two rushed to the home to remove things and put them in his truck. "He was told the cops were coming to the house to search," Alex said. "He just seemed that he was really panicked... he just said that he had to get... Chad's stuff out of the house."

 

  • The demolition at the garage

Jurors heard testimony that sometime after Davis's death was discovered and became public, a demolition took place at the garage on Prince Rupert. Walls and boards were ripped out -- materials that wound up being recycled at a shed in Anola. When RCMP went to Anola to seize the wood, they recovered 18 small bits of plastic that had been stapled into them. Those that were sent for analysis were found to be "indistinguishable" from the material Davis's body had been wrapped in inside the barrel. They either originated from the same source or from another source that had indistinguishable thickness and chemical properties, Kenny said. At no time did Tymchyshyn ask that the materials be burned or destroyed before they were freely given to be used in Anola, court heard.

 

  • The victim's DNA in the garage

A single drop of blood containing Davis's DNA profile was found by RCMP in the garage on Prince Rupert when they arrived to search it on Sept. 7, 2008. RCMP biologist Dr. Greg Litzenberger said he could not say how the blood drop got there, or how long it had been there. A tuque with blood-staining on it was also found in the garage, but the blood belonged to an unknown male subject and not Chad Davis, he said. RCMP Cpl. Chris Rouire told court police would not have known to search the garage as a potential crime scene if not for a statement given by Alex Brincheski to police on Sept. 5.

 

  • Phone records

Davis and Tymchyshyn were in frequent contact via phones linked to them on the morning of Feb. 6, 2008, and one text message indicates Davis was coming by the Prince Rupert house. After 12:26 p.m., records show Davis's phone was never answered again, with all subsequent calls going to voice mail. Jurors were shown records of text messages and calls between phones linked to Tymchyshyn and Brincheski's girlfriend on that morning. One message from Tymchyshyn at 12:43 p.m. states: "We will be in soon." Minutes later, Tymchsyshyn's phone sends a text to another number stating: "He's wearing a hat don't miss." The number this message was sent to had the prefix of 810 while Brincheski's girlfriend's phone was 801.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 14, 2014 A6

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Updated on Friday, February 14, 2014 at 8:23 AM CST: Formats text, re-orders photos

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