Carcross hotel murder back in court

Mark Lange and Dean Boucher pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Yukon Supreme Court on November 4.

Mark Lange and Dean Boucher pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Yukon Supreme Court on November 4.

The two men were sentenced in the fall of 2006 for the murder of Carcross hotelier and Boucher’s cousin, Robert Olson, but were granted a retrial earlier this year.

On December 23, 2004, Boucher and Lange were on a drinking binge, according to the court’s agreed statement of facts.

After an interaction with a police officer outside the Caribou Hotel at about 11:30 p.m., Olson allowed the two men into his closed tavern.

The three began drinking together and at some point in the early morning hours of December 24, 2004, Boucher and Olson got into an argument.

Boucher and Lange, both in their thirties, then beat Olson to the point of unconsciousness.

The 64-year-old hotel owner was struck 15 times: twice on his back, once on his neck, five times on his scalp and seven times on his face.

During the assault, Boucher ripped the telephone off the wall and inflicted the final blows that rendered Olson unconscious.

He then rolled Olson, into the recovery position, cleared his airway by hitting him on his back and confirmed he was breathing.

Boucher and Lange then moved Olsen’s truck to the back of the hotel, placed various pieces of art from the hotel into it and then moved Olson into the back of the truck, placing a pillow under his head and a coat on top of him.

They began driving the truck towards Whitehorse, with Lange behind the wheel, and after about 20 minutes, pulled over to check on Olson, discovering that he was dead.

Boucher attempted CPR.

They then drove the vehicle to Whitehorse’s Wolf Creek subdivision and disposed of Olson’s body in a ditch.

Very shortly after that, they got the truck stuck in the snow on the side of the road and walked to the McCrae subdivision, called a cab and went downtown.

RCMP discovered Olson’s body on December 27. Boucher turned himself in on the same day and Lange turned himself in three days later.

During the trial in 2006 councillors said both men have a high risk of violently re-offending and Justice Leigh Gower found them both guilty of second-degree murder.

He sentenced Boucher to 15 years imprisonment before parole eligibility, and gave Lange 10 years before being eligible for parole.

In May of this year, the Court of Appeal granted the two men a retrial on the basis that the jury had not been given proper instructions in 2006.

Crown prosecutors have accepted the men’s pleas of manslaughter, because of their behaviour in custody since 2006, their increased acceptance of responsibility, and the fact it’s been six years since the incident, said prosecution lawyer John Phelps.

Both men originally tried to plead guilty of manslaughter in 2006.

The court ordered psychological assessments to be prepared for sentencing, which will look into Boucher and Lange’s history, their actions while in custody and will give attention to alcohol and drug addictions, which both men have blamed for their past actions.

No date has been set for sentencing at this point, but the case will be back in court on January 17, 2012.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at roxannes@yukon-news.com