Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Trial witness's credibility doubted
Confessed alcoholic testifies in first-degree murder case
‘DON’T miss," suspected killer Corey Tymchyshyn told his co-accused minutes before their alleged victim turned up at Tymchyshyn’s home, a witness told a Winnipeg jury Monday.
But whether a jury can rely on anything George Lancaster says remained a key question Monday at the first-degree murder trial into the death of Chad Davis, 22.
A self-professed "raging alcoholic" with a history of major drug abuse, Lancaster's memory and truthfulness came under repeated and strenuous attack by defence lawyers.
Tymchyshyn, 37, and Kristopher Brincheski, 31 are suspected of brutally slaying Davis inside a garage at 703 Prince Rupert Ave. on Feb. 6, 2008, and then disposing of his body in a barrel that was pulled from the Lee River near Lac du Bonnet more than five months later.
Court has heard Davis, 22, went to the home in the early afternoon and he and Tymchyshyn were friends and former roommates. Police probing Davis's mysterious disappearance have said Tymchyshyn told them Davis left in a taxi. There are no available records of a cab being dispatched to the address on this day.
Lancaster testified Tymchyshyn and his business partner (he knew him as "Bern") were talking in the kitchen before Davis arrived to meet with Tymchyshyn. "Don't miss, Corey says to Bern," Lancaster said he overheard from many metres away with a television on. Bern then went out the back door and wasn't seen again, he said.
Davis then appeared, spoke with Tymchyshyn, Lancaster said. "Him and Corey went out. They left," he said.
Why should the jury believe you, Crown attorney Brent Davidson asked the 54-year-old, who readily admitted he didn't want to be in court.
"After I found out what happened, it just seared into your brain," Lancaster said. "That's how it is."
Lancaster, a friend of Tymchyshyn's mother, said he had been in the garage before. It looked like a soon-to-be marijuana grow-op, complete with false walls and lights for growing plants, he said. He also remembered a vinyl material had been hung up to increase the reflectivity of the lights.
Davis was found wrapped inside a black-and-white tarp, court has heard.
RCMP homicide investigators spoke with Lancaster six separate times in the investigation. It wasn't until his third official police statement he ever mentioned the words he says Tymchyshyn told Bern. He chose to disclose this after his dying father told him to set things straight.
Lancaster conceded he didn't come forward to police with this information but told it to them when they approached him. His most recent statement to them was on Dec. 13, court heard. And yes, he said, he hadn't been totally honest with them in the past, despite being cautioned he could be charged for obstruction of justice or fabricating evidence.
Lancaster was challenged on his recall and what he told police in prior statements.
"You lose things, don't you?" lawyer Gerri Wiebe asked him, referring to his memory. "I guess so," he replied.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 28, 2014 A6
Updated on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 8:57 AM CST: Adds missing lead paragraph.
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