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Tymchyshyn and Brincheski murder trial: Day 1

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2174 days ago, Chad Randall Davis vanished.

That's five years, 11 months and 13 days.

And after all this time, the public is finally getting a look into what RCMP and Manitoba prosecutors believe happened to the 22-year-old. 

I won't belabour the point other than to say: that's a heck of a long time to wait for a trial. For all involved, the victim's family, those accused and yes, the general public. 

Corey Tymchyshen and his (ex?) friend and business partner Kristopher Brincheski are accused of murdering Davis on Feb. 6, 2008.

The men, naturally, are presumed innocent, and prosecutors have a large hill to climb to satisfy a jury they're guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the most serious offence in Canadian law — first degree murder. 

The suspects weren't arrested by RCMP until well after Davis's body was found in a barrel floating on the Lee River near the town of Lac Du Bonnet on July 23, 2008.

But after the arrests were announced — long before, even — the mystery of just what happened to Davis has lingered for many in Manitoba.

The prosecutor's opening statement in a trial does more than focus the jury on what it is they may (or may not) get to hear.

(They're cautioned what is said is not evidence — only a guide to what they may hear and see. It's what the witnesses say under oath that counts.)

The opening statement also allows the public a preliminary glimpse into what the case is all about.

I thought it important to reproduce the vast bulk of Manitoba Crown attorney Keith Eyrikson's opening remarks, verbatim. Here they are, for the record.

"So what does the Crown say happened?

We say that Chad Davis was with his girlfriend, on Feb. 6, 2008.

He was staying at a hotel room at the Red Lion Inn in Winnipeg. The two were planning to move to Calgary together and start a new chapter in their lives.

Mr. Davis left the Red Lion Inn around noon on Feb. 6 to go meet up with Corey Tymchyshyn at his mother's house at 703 Prince Rupert here in the city of Winnipeg.

Mr. Tymchyshyn owed a drug debt of somewhere between $18,000 and $28,000.

...

When Mr. Davis arrived at 703 Prince Rupert, he was led into the detached garage at 703 Prince Rupert, where Mr. Brincheski was waiting.

Mr. Davis was attacked and killed in the garage by them both.

Mr. Davis's body was then wrapped in plastic, it was put into a large plastic barrel. He was then put in the back of Chad Davis's Jeep Cherokee and driven to Lac du Bonnet.

The barrel was weighted down, and holes were drilled into it to allow it to sink.

The barrel was then pushed into the Winnipeg River, with Mr. Davis's body in it.

The barrel with Mr. Davis in it was then found by two unsuspecting cottagers on the Lee River in July of 2008.

Who was Chad Davis?

You will hear in the next few days from his girlfriend and from his parents. They will no doubt tell you a bit about him - but I wish to be direct with you, ladies and gentleman.

You will hear some evidence that Mr. Davis was no angel. It will become clear as we hear from witnesses in this matter that he was in fact a cocaine dealer and that some of his qualities were less than admirable.

But whomever and whatever Chad Davis was, what occurred here was morally wrong and a criminal act.

I want to tell you about some of the evidence you'll be hearing in this matter. The first two witnesses you'll be hearing from today are the gentleman who had the misfortune of finding Mr. Davis's body.

These two individuals found a barrel that was knocking up against their dock, and they went to deal with it. They discovered that this barrel contained Mr. Davis's body.

You'll hear from officer Maria Forrester of the RCMP ... she is what is termed an identification officer and will be a guide of sorts to help explain certain locations and areas of interest and precisely what was found during the course of this investigation.

She will be giving you a series of photo booklets, and we suspect you will be hearing from her on a number of occasions throughout this trial.

We will be discussing medical evidence and the cause of death of Mr. Davis with the Chief Medical Examiner for the Province of Manitoba.

This will require us to show you autopsy photos of Mr. Davis. While some of these pictures are graphic, they are necessary to give you a clear picture of his evidence.

The date of Feb. 6, 2008 is one you will hear a lot in this trial. On that date, the girlfriend of Chad Davis ... (she) will give you information such as what he was wearing, why they were there and what their plans were for the day.

She will be able to tell you that she was familiar with many of Chad's possessions. Some of which were in a storage unit he rented. Some of which he had in his Jeep Cherokee when he went to 703 Prince Rupert that day.

What you will discover later on in this case is that many of these personal items were in fact found in the possession of Mr. Brincheski when a warrant was executed on his house in early 2008.

Shortly after Feb. 6, 2008, Chad Davis was considered to be a missing person, and Winnipeg police started to investigate. You will hear from a Winnipeg Police Service officer about a conversation he in fact had with Corey Tymchyshyn.

You will hear from (Davis's parents) ...

When you compare (what they said) to what Mr. Tymchyshyn told the police, you may start to think that what he was saying didn't really make sense.

You will hear about a storage locker that Corey Tymchyshyn helped rent for Chad Davis, but one which was solely for the use of Mr. Davis.

On Feb. 6, in the evening, records indicate Mr. Tymchyshyn was at the storage locker. Weeks later, after the death of Mr. Davis, he and Mr. Brincheski came back and emptied the storage locker of all of Chad's possessions.

You're going to hear from a man ... he was a friend ... to the mother of Mr. Tymchyshyn when Chad came over to 703 Prince Rupert on Feb. 6, 2008.

He will be able to give us some insight as to the events at 703 Prince Rupert that day. You will hear from (a next-door neighbour) ... on the day that Mr. Davis's body was discovered, she heard sounds of demolition in the garage where we say Mr. Davis was murdered.

You will then have (two men) testify about how the interior of the garage at 703 Prince Rupert was torn down, the pieces taken to a property near Anola - to be used in a renovation property.

When the materials were analyzed, the RCMP found that the same type of plastic that Mr. Davis was wrapped in was also taken from the garage of 703 Prince Rupert.

You're going to hear about some plastic shavings found in the back of Mr. Davis's Jeep Cherokee. We say that these shavings were created when holes were drilled in the barrel when Mr. Brincheski and Mr. Tymchyshyn were trying to dispose of that body.

You'll hear about testing done on similar barrels by an RCMP officer, how these tests show drilling into a barrel would create shavings such as these.

You'll hear about DNA evidence that the RCMP were able to gather from the garage at 703 Prince Rupert. That DNA testing done within this garage revealed that Chad Davis's blood was on the floor.

You will hear from someone who worked for Mr. Tymchyshen ... and his daughter. They will tell you that Mr. Tymchyshyn threatened he had killed a person previously and put him in a barrel in a river.

We will also be calling evidence from cellphone and text message records. We will be calling experts to help explain this technical evidence to you. We feel this evidence will help detail communications between Mr. Davis and the accused persons, and their locations on and around Feb. 6, 2008.

You will also hear from (a relative of Brincheski's) ... he too, will help give an understanding of what happened on Feb. 6, 2008.

We are very aware there is a lot of evidence for you to listen to ... but in a nutshell, we are saying to you, when you are given all of the evidence in this trial and when you look at it together, the Crown will be able to demonstrate that Mr. Tymchyshen and Mr. Brincheski are guilty of first degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

At this point, that is all I will say to you about the evidence."

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About James Turner

James Turner rejoined the Free Press as a justice-beat reporter in August 2013 after a number of years away working at other media outlets, including the Winnipeg Sun and CBC Manitoba.

A reporter in Winnipeg since 2005, he got his first taste of the justice beat as a former Free Press intern, then as the newspaper's police reporter from 2008-09.

Among the topics he's eager to cover are youth crime, street gangs, child-welfare and how the mental health and justice systems intersect.

An avid blogger and early adopter of Twitter, James (@heyjturner) loves to write long, much to the frustration of his editors.

He despises animal cruelty. He loves 80s music and his tubby labrador retriever.

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