By the age of 12, Christina Marie Asp had experienced and endured things most parents wouldn’t even want their kids to know about.
But on Thursday, the 34-year-old testified to Justice Leigh Gower and a Yukon Supreme Court jury of 12 women and two men that one thing she never did was kill Gordon Seybold.
“I didn’t say anything, I didn’t do anything,” Asp said from the stand on Thursday, as she recounted the 2008 morning Seybold died.
The Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation woman, along with former boyfriend Norman Larue, is charged with first-degree murder in Seybold’s death. The 63-year-old’s remains were found inside his torched Ibex Valley home in 2008.
Asp was called to the stand as the first witness in her defence on Wednesday.
Her hair, once long, has been cut short. Asp wore jeans and a black T-shirt with a white lace undershirt. Her many tattoos poked out under her sleeves and above the neckline.
Asp and Larue ran away together in 2008, she told the court. They had skipped out on their respective paroles and half-way houses in Vancouver and were on a drinking binge with her mother, Jessie Asp, in Whitehorse at the time of Seybold’s death, she said.
They hadn’t gone to sleep yet when, early in the morning, Larue left the house to “take care of some business,” Asp said. She had to argue with him to let her come along, she testified.
He told her “it was against his rules” to let her come along because of the “business he was going to take care of,” she said.
She eventually won the argument but had no idea where Larue was driving that morning, until he asked her to help with directions, she testified.
Asp was familiar with Seybold’s property because her mother’s former boyfriend, Larry Brault, lived in a cabin on the property. But before that morning, Asp said she had never met Seybold and didn’t know what he looked like, she told the court.
After the couple reached the cabin, Asp’s testimony contradicts evidence presented earlier by prosecutors by one main point: her involvement in Seybold’s death.
On the first day of the trial, prosecutors presented a grainy video of Asp in Edmonton more than a year after the death.
The police suspected Asp and Larue and had begun an extensive undercover operation known as a “Mr. Big” operation.
Numerous undercover RCMP officers pretended to be an entire criminal organization and welcomed Asp into their fold. They offered to help “take care” of the RCMP’s investigations into Asp and Larue, on the condition that Asp tell them everything she could about Seybold’s death.
The video footage showed Asp speaking to the head “crime boss,” who was actually an undercover cop.
In that footage, Asp explained that Larue and Seybold got into a fight that morning.
Seeing Seybold gain an upper hand, Asp told the undercover officer that she grabbed a baseball bat and hit Seybold in the head until she heard a “crack.”
On the stand on Thursday, Asp told the court that she just stood back and watched the two men fighting and that it was Larue who grabbed the bat and hit Seybold with it.
“He just kept hitting,” Asp told the court of Larue. “Everything changed. He just kept hitting, repetitively.”
According to both the video and Thursday’s testimony, Larue then told Asp to wait in the truck, which she did, she said.
The only other main difference between the video and Thursday’s testimony was a detail from later on that 2008 day.
In the video, Asp spoke of her and Larue burning all the clothes they had worn, because they were covered in Seybold’s blood. On the stand Thursday, Asp said only Larue burned his clothes in an outdoor fire. Her clothes had no blood on them, she told the court.
Asp had fallen “head over heels crazy in love,” with Larue, the jury heard during her first afternoon of testimony on Wednesday.
It was the first time since taking the stand that both Asp and jury members smiled.
Before then, at least three jury members and Asp had tears run down their cheeks.
Asp doesn’t really have any memories before she was six years old, she told the court. That’s also when her life began filling with tragedy, she said.
At six years old, Asp discovered her three-month-old baby sister dead. She had succumbed to sudden infant death syndrome, Asp said.
Asp was also six when she was sexually assaulted for the first time, she said.
“He came into my room and put his hand over my mouth and put his other hand inside me,” she told the court as her eyes began to redden and well with tears.
Asp would be sexually assaulted four more times over the next six years, all by friends of her family, including her grandmother’s boyfriend, the court heard.
For the majority of the assaults, Asp told her mother who, in turn, did nothing except tell her daughter not to say anything or she would get in trouble, Asp told the court.
At 12 years old, Asp discovered her strictly religious stepfather was not her biological father and she left home, beginning a life in group homes and on the streets, she told the court.
She also began drinking at the age of 12 and was forced into prostitution by older girls on the streets, she said.
At 16, Asp was raped by one of her cousins, she told the court.
It was also at the age of 16 when Asp’s grandmother, who was a mother figure in her life, died. Asp was the first person to find her, dead in her home.
Another of Asp’s sisters died by falling through the ice on the Yukon River in 2005, Asp said.
This early life of tragedy taught Asp many things, like how to seclude herself and run away, how to use people and be used, she told the court.
Asp admitted that she is an alcoholic and is addicted to crack cocaine, and from a young age she has had extreme self-confidence issues, which have manifested themselves in eating disorders, self-harm and suicidal tendencies, she told the court, tilting her head down and looking into her hands.
“I just didn’t think I was good enough for anything or anyone,” she said.
Asp’s trial will continue on June 11.
Larue, who also faces charges of arson, is expected to stand trial next year.
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at