estifying for the first time in his second-degree murder trial with co-accused Mark Lange, Dean Boucher admitted he lied to police.
In initial police interviews, Boucher told them everything he’d said was true.
But when asked by Lange’s defence lawyer Andre Roothman if that was a “blatant lie,” Boucher answered, “Oh yes, definitely.”
For days Boucher has been holding an eagle feather in his hands during trial.
The eagle represents strength and honesty in his band, Carcross/Tagish First Nations, he told the court Tuesday.
However, he lied to police numerous times during various interviews for a reason, he told the jury of eight women and four men.
He didn’t want to turn Lange in.
“I still had love for my little ninja,” he said, referring to Lange.
“I still had love for him and I just didn’t want to get killed over this shit.”
While he gave no specifics, and lawyers didn’t ask him to clarify, Boucher referred to an incident 12 years ago.
After this, he was labeled a “rat,” meaning he told police what someone had done.
“(Rats) get beat up,” he said.
“They get circled at bush parties. They get stabbed at bush parties.”
And things have gotten worse, he added.
“Times are different in Whitehorse now — this is little Vancouver.”
While Boucher had many explanations for his lengthy history with police and the courts, Roothman listed about 18 charges that had been filed against him since 1992.
These include numerous counts of assault, a sexual assault conviction, a concealed weapon charge and charges for threatening police and other people.
Before he took the stand, Boucher’s story was incomplete.
He told police few details about what occurred the night that Carcross hotelier Robert Olson died.
The 64-year-old owner of the Caribou Hotel, a decrepit building in the town’s downtown core, was severely beaten on the floor of the hotel’s saloon sometime between December 23 and 24, 2004.
He is believed to have died within 10 minutes of the beating, from injuries probably caused by kicks and stomps to his face and head.
Vancouver-based forensic pathologist Laurel Gray said Olson likely fell unconscious after the beating. With the severity of the wounds, he was unlikely to have regained consciousness.
His snow-covered remains were found by police in a ditch in the Wolf Creek subdivision about three days after he was killed.
Boucher testified there was an argument between Lange and Olson about borrowing Olson’s truck, eventually leading to Olson’s death.
To start at the beginning, though, Boucher’s day began in a stupor.
“I woke up half-cut and I still had four to five beers in my body,” said Boucher.
Along with his mom and a few of his sisters, Boucher drove into Whitehorse to have family pictures taken at Wal-Mart.
After getting into an argument with the mother of his young son and his own mother, he hopped into his sister’s van.
He stopped in at the liquor store to buy whiskey, tall cans of Molson Canadian and a bunch of regular-sized beers with borrowed money, then ran into Lange at the Horwoods Mall on Main Street.
Describing Lange as “one of my best friends,” Boucher convinced him to come back to Carcross to drink.
After making a few more stops around town, they hit the highway, drinking as they went.
At first they were sharing beers.
“In case we were pulled over we could down one beer and crush it,” said Boucher.
The two men kept drinking when they arrived in Carcross, visiting a number of people’s houses as the night wore on.
Just before 8 p.m., they walked into town on a liquor run, missing the store by minutes, according to Boucher.
The lights went off inside the store and the staff were laughing at them, said Boucher.
“It all went to hell from there.”
They walked to the cemetery on the village-side of the Nares River, and sat down on a bench.
“I was screaming and hollering at (my great-grandparents’) gravesites,” said Boucher.
Being abused as a child had made him “so messed up” as an adult and he used to blame his family for this, he said.
And he had business to work out with Lange.
Sometime later they walked down to the railway bridge. Boucher told Lange what was really on his mind.
Boucher’s common-law wife cried to him many times about losing her virginity during a gang rape.
While it took her years to tell him who was involved, she eventually told Boucher Lange was there.
“Why did you bring me out here, to trap me, to put this rape shit on me,” Boucher said Lange told him.
Lange said he wasn’t involved, but knew the men who were. He promised to take Boucher to them the next day, when they drove back to Whitehorse.
They walked across the railway bridge into downtown Carcross and saw light spilling through the half-opened curtains of the Caribou Hotel.
Boucher could see Olson inside.
They all drank together for a while, but Lange kept bringing up the topic of the sexual assault, said Boucher.
“(Olson), he knows my girl and he knows my son,” said Boucher.
Olson told Lange to leave, which he did for about 15 minutes.
When Lange returned, Olson said he could warm up inside then both of them had to leave.
That’s when Lange suggested driving to Whitehorse to buy an eight ball, or 3.5 grams, of cocaine.
An argument ensued over Olson’s truck.
He wouldn’t loan it to the two drunk men, nor would he drive them to Whitehorse to buy drugs.
The keys were sitting on the counter.
Lange stood up and puffed out his elbows, said Boucher, standing up in the witness box to demonstrate.
“We’re just going to take the fucking truck,” he said Lange told Olson.
Based on the thud he heard almost immediately after, Boucher believes Olson hit Lange in the head with something wooden, maybe a pool cue or club.
“(Lange) fought back like any human being would,” said Boucher.
After wrestling around for a while, Lange ended up on top of Olson on the floor.
“He just went ninja on (Olson’s) ass,” said Boucher, explaining that Lange had Olson pinned to the floor and was kicking him in the head.
Boucher said he stepped in at this point, pulling Lange off of Olson when he noticed blood clogging up the man’s mouth.
Flipping him onto his side, he said Olson was “knocked out cold” but breathing normally.
Boucher and Lange then started stealing Olson’s wall hangings — a caribou head, a paddle, a picture — to trade for cocaine.
Boucher doesn’t remember loading Olson’s body into his truck, or why they did it, since he remembers the man was still breathing.
Olson died from the beating sometime after this, in the box of his own truck between Carcross and Whitehorse.
Boucher also doesn’t remember dumping the body in the ditch.
“The devil made me do it,” he said.
He then got the truck stuck in the snow on a road in Wolf Creek. Jumping out of the driver’s side, he started running into the woods.
“I ran and it was dark and all of the sudden I was in the moonlight,” he said.
“I’m screaming and crying. I don’t know where I am. I’m in the bush. I’m in hell, literally.”
This was Christmas Eve.
After sleeping on Lange’s friend’s couch for a few days, Boucher turned himself in to police.
Lange also showed up at the Whitehorse detachment office two days later.
The Supreme Court trial, presided over by Justice Leigh Gower, continues today.
Man’s body found in Whitehorse
A man’s body was found on the banks of the Yukon River, police say.
At around 6 p.m. Tuesday, a resident phoned police after discovering the remains, while walking along the river in downtown Whitehorse.
The body was recovered close to the foot of Wood Street, adjacent to the River View Hotel, said Sgt. Ross Milward in an interview this morning.
“Where the old shipyards are, there are still some old pilings in the water and that’s where (the body) was located,” said Milward.
It was quite covered in river algae, he added.
There was no I.D. on the body and the man has not yet been identified.
Police hope to identify the body by the end of the day, said Milward.
The man’s remains have been sent to the coroner’s office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
The matter is still under police investigation. (CO)