Both accused found guilty of murder

Dean Boucher and Mark Lange were convicted of murder in Yukon Supreme Court Friday. Ending a four-week trial, the 12-person jury found both men…

Dean Boucher and Mark Lange were convicted of murder in Yukon Supreme Court Friday.

Ending a four-week trial, the 12-person jury found both men guilty of second-degree murder in the beating death of Robert Olson.

The 64-year-old Carcross hotelier died of head injuries after a savage beating in the saloon of the Caribou Hotel in Carcross, between December 23 and 24, 2004.

Olson was described by a friend as “a man without brakes” who was “drinking every day.”

“At that point in time, I think pretty well anyone could flag him down with a bottle,” said Herbert Holstein early in the trial.

But the autopsy found no alcohol in his blood the night he died.

It’s not clear exactly how events spiraled out of control that December night just before Christmas. The Crown and each defence lawyer had competing theories for what the evidence meant.

Boucher and Lange blamed each other for dealing Olson the fatal blows. According to forensic pathology reports, he suffered at least 15 injuries, mostly to the face.

As he lay bleeding and unconscious on the floor, the two men robbed Olson of art from the barroom walls and pocketed a few beers, before loading his body into the back of his own pickup truck.

Driving north towards Whitehorse, they stopped at some point, during the cold early morning hours of Christmas Eve, to check on him.

Olson was dead.

Lange said he knew Olson was dead because he’d seen death before. His father was a trapper.

Boucher tried to revive Olson with CPR, to no avail.

Then they dumped Olson’s body in a snowy ditch in Wolf Creek subdivision, south of Whitehorse.

Police found the remains a few days later, on December 27.

Boucher turned himself in that day. A few days later, Lange did the same.

While the courtroom had seen few visitors throughout the trial, the long wooden benches filled up when the verdict came down late Friday afternoon.

After about two days of deliberation, the eight women and four men of the jury returned with their unanimous verdict of guilty for both Boucher and Lange.

Sitting with his hands folded in his lap, Lange was in red jail scrubs and a blue long-sleeved shirt he’d been wearing throughout the trial.

The small, thin man, who Boucher called his “little ninja” did not say a word to the court, but was often writing notes and speaking quietly to his lawyer, Andre Roothman.

Boucher, tall and heavy-set, is more commonly known as Dean Johns. He was in a white, buttoned shirt and a red vest with a First Nations pattern on the back.

As he has been for weeks, Boucher was holding an eagle feather in his hands.

After court closed Friday, Crown attorney John Phelps said he was relieved with the verdict. The Crown sought murder convictions for both men.

Having two accused made the case complicated, particularly with only Boucher taking the stand, he said.

“It becomes very complex for the jury to sift through the evidence,” said Phelps.

While he and his co-counsel, Edith Campbell, were anxiously awaiting the jury’s decision, they were not nervous.

“We were confident coming into the trial that we had a good chance of conviction,” said Phelps outside the courtroom.

The verdict was not what Roothman was seeking for Lange, however.

“One always hopes for better,” he said Friday afternoon.

“I think I was more optimistic of getting manslaughter.”

The jury’s decision was unexpected, he added.

“I was not surprised Boucher got it, but I was surprised for Lange.”

While Boucher testified, Lange did not.

Roothman stood by the decision for Lange to remain silent.

“I’m still convinced it was the right call not to put Lange on the stand,” said Roothman outside the courtroom.

The case was complex because it was not only the Crown against the two defendants, but also Boucher and Lange against each other, he said.

“There are all kinds of underlying subtleties.”

The Crown thought Lange was going to testify.

“We were expecting Mark Lange to take the stand and we were quite surprised when he chose not to,” said Phelps.

While the two men have not yet been sentenced, the jury made a recommendation for how many years Lange should spend behind bars.

Eight of the 12 jurors suggested he be eligible for parole after serving the minimum time of 10 years.

It had no suggestion for Boucher.

Because the two men have been convicted of murder, they will both receive a life sentence. This means they must spend between 10 to 25 years in a federal penitentiary before being considered for parole.

Presiding Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower is scheduled to sentence Boucher and Lange Thursday morning.

Neither Roothman nor Boucher’s lawyer, Keith Parkkari, know yet if the men are going to appeal the convictions.

They will each have 30 days after their sentencing to appeal, said Parkkari.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announce the first COVID-19 related death in a press conference announcement Friday morning. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
UPDATED: Yukon announces first COVID-19-related death

The person was an older Watson Lake resident with underlying health conditions, officials said

Wyatt's World for Oct. 30.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Oct. 30

Health Minister Pauline Frost insists no one who shows up at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter for dinner will go without a meal, despite no drop-in dinner service being offered starting on Nov. 1. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Non-profits concerned as Whitehorse Emergency Shelter ends drop-in dinner service

Minister Pauline Frost insists everyone who needs one ‘will be provided with a meal.’

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29. Affordability challenges is being described as being among the most pressing issues facing housing markets throughout the north in a report released Oct. 29 by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Home, rent prices increasing in Whitehorse, northern housing report says

Affordability continues to be a major challenge, report says

Premier Sandy Silver talks to media in Whitehorse on March 19. According to the premier, who is also the finance minister, the Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, instead of the surplus it had originally predicted. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government ran a $2.6 million deficit in 2019-2020

Deficit attributed to lower-than-expected revenue, higher expenses on health and social side

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and management roundtable discussion Sept. 26, 2019. During an Oct. 29 meeting, Constable highlighted a number of potential changes to the City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Work on City of Whitehorse procedures bylaw continues

Officials will look at procedures for other municipalities

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley at a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Aug. 26. Hanley said the source of the outbreak in Watson Lake may not ever be found, but contact tracing in the community continues. (Alistair Maitland Photography)
New Whitehorse COVID-19 case is unrelated to Watson Lake cluster, officials say

Chief medical officer of health says avoid indoor Halloween parties, monitor for symptoms

Joel Krahn/Yukon News file Whitehorse City Hall.
Whitehorse city council, briefly

Updates on matters before city council on Oct. 26

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
GoFundMe for Whitehorse boy hit by car on Range Road raises more than $62k in a day

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Local contractors will be given an advantage on a contract for the design and construction services that will see a new reception building at Robert Service Campground decided city councillors during the Oct. 26 council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local firms will get advantage on contract for new Robert Service Campground building

Yukon-based companies competing for contract for new reception building will receive 20 extra points

Fallen trees due to strong winds are seen leaning on to power lines which caused some power outages around the territory on Oct. 26. (Courtesy of ATCO)
Wind knocks out power around the Yukon

High winds on Oct. 26 knocked out power to Faro, parts of Whitehorse and beyond

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

Most Read