Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pair blame each other in killing

Each is lying to save himself, Crown says

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They are accused of coming together to carry out a cold-blooded killing and coverup.

But the two men at the centre of a high-profile Manitoba murder case have shown no unity during separate turns on the witness stand this week.

Kristopher Brincheski and Corey Tymchyshyn have spent considerable time blaming each other while downplaying their own alleged roles in the 2008 slaying of 22-year-old Chad Davis in Winnipeg.

It's created a he-said-he-said scenario for jurors, with the Crown often jumping in to suggest both men are lying to save their own skin.

Tymchyshyn, 37, got the first opportunity to tell jurors his version of events on Tuesday and Wednesday, saying he wasn't present when Brincheski killed Davis in self-defence. He claims his only role was to help his friend dispose of the victim's body by wrapping it in plastic, stuffing it inside a barrel and floating it down a river where it was found months later.

Brincheski, 31, got his turn Thursday. He painted Tymchyshyn as the violent, ill-tempered mastermind who was solely responsible for the killing over a drug debt. He claims Tymchyshyn got him to assist in hiding Davis and other evidence, then repeatedly threatened him if he breathed a word about what happened.

After their arrest and subsequent release on bail, Brincheski claims Tymchyshyn approached him with an ultimatum.

"He said I needed to make sure I followed his lead, that I did what he said, or else me and my family were dead," Brincheski testified. On another occasion, Brincheski claims a "large man with a gun" confronted him in his driveway, telling him "to keep my story straight or my family and I were dead."

"And he said the next time he came back, it wouldn't be a warning he was giving me," Brincheski said. Last summer, he said the RCMP told him there was a "credible threat" against his family.

Brincheski claims Tymchyshyn planted evidence inside the barrel where Davis's body was found -- a pair of gloves belonging to him.

"He told me if someone was going down for this, it wouldn't be him," said Brincheski, who repeatedly fought back tears while testifying.

Crown attorney Brent Davidson scoffed Thursday at Brincheski's claim to be "haunted" by what Tymchyshyn allegedly did to Davis and his involvement in covering it up. Davidson noted police located more than $8,000 worth of Davis's possessions in Brincheski's home, including shoes, a bed, a big-screen plasma TV and other electronics.

"You took Chad Davis' property from any place you could find it because that was your cut, right?" Davidson suggested. "This was a truckload of property you got for free."

"That's not the case," replied Brincheski. He said Tymchyshyn gave it to him and claimed much of it was his.

"You say this was haunting you? You're wearing the dead man's shoes?" Davidson continued.

"I was trying my very best to forget this situation. I did some very s -y things," Brincheski suggested.

"You're sleeping on the dead man's bed. You and your children were watching the dead man's television, watching the dead man's DVDs. And this is haunting you?"

Brincheski denied laying a hand on Davis. The Crown pointed to a series of phone calls between the two accused on the day of the killing as evidence of what they say really happened.

"All of the calls and all of the texts are about you planning and luring Chad Davis to his demise," Davidson said.

Brincheski will return to the witness stand Friday morning to be cross-examined by Tymchyshyn's lawyers. After that, closing arguments are expected to be made next Tuesday, with jurors being charged on Thursday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 21, 2014 B3

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