Rock Brisson speaks to reporters outside the Whitehorse courthouse Jan. 30. In a victim impact statement, Brisson said his health deteriorated after his son’s death. (Chris Windeyer/Yukon News file)

Christopher Brisson was generous and caring, family says in victim impact statements

Darryl Sheepway was found guilty of second-degree murder earlier this year in Brisson’s death

Relatives of Christopher Brisson gave victim impact statements in court March 26 on the first day of his killer’s sentencing hearing, speaking of a generous brother, son and father who was starting to get his life together when it was abruptly cut short by Darryl Sheepway.

Brisson, 25, was killed on a remote Whitehorse road in August 2015 during a drug deal gone bad. Sheepway was found guilty of second-degree murder earlier this year in Brisson’s death.

“I’d like to begin by telling you who my brother really was. He was not the drug dealer you have managed to label him as,” Brisson’s sister, Stephanie Eastaugh, told the court.

“Chris was an overly-caring and generous person. He was extremely funny. He made choices in life, some that were not so wise. He had reasons as to why he made those choices. He did not need excuses. He did his due diligence. He was fair and would have never had the intention of deceiving or hurting anybody.”

At the time of his death, Brisson was learning to read, working towards getting his GED and slowly preparing to take over their father’s renovation business, Eastaugh said. She said that she will never forget getting a call at 1 a.m. from her father, who told her that Brisson’s body had been found in a ravine and that his death was being treated as suspicious.

“That phone call consumed me and turned my life upside down,” she said, calling August 2015 until Sheepway’s arrest in August 2016 the “worst year of my life.” Eastaugh said she developed depression and post-traumatic stress disorder after learning of her brother’s death, imaging the worst that could have happened to him. Her relationship with her children suffered as a result, and she was unable to work due to her distress.

“No one should have to experience this pain,” she said. “God decides when it’s your time to go, not another human being.… A son will forever miss his father because you chose in that moment that his life was of less value than the drugs that you so desperately wanted.”

Brisson’s parents, Donna Calloway and Rock Brisson, also wrote victim impact statements that were read to the court by Victim Services workers.

In her statement, Calloway said Brisson was her fifth child, and as a boy, lived at the ski hill in the winter while spending his summers mowing lawns to save money for a new snowboard. He “adored” his three sisters, she said, and would always walk hand-in-hand with one of them when they were at school.

Since Brisson’s death, Calloway said she’s become socially isolated, with her relationships with her husband and friends suffering as a result.

“The trial has kept my loss of my son constantly on my mind and all I can do is think of Christopher,” her statement said. “…The majority of my time is spent sitting and thinking about the loss of Christopher and crying.”

Brisson’s murder also compounded the loss of another one of her sons, Calloway added, who died in a house fire in 1984.

“Losing Christopher has been heartbreaking,” she said. “The impact on our families will stick with us forever. We will never hug him again, never talk to him on the phone, never see his smile or hold him in our arms. Christopher was such a kind and loving guy. We miss you so much.”

In his statement, Rock said the news of his son’s death — and then, for a year, not knowing who was responsible for it — caused his already frail health to deteriorate even further. He started drinking heavily to cope with the loss, he said, and his business, where Brisson was a foreman, suffered too. Two years on, Rock said, he’s suffered through three bouts of pneumonia and also battles with the effects of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said he hasn’t been able to return to work full-time, either, and in one three-month period, lost about $20,000 worth of business.

“I went through sadness, emotional pain, inability to show or experience joy, guilty, irritability, fear, lack of motivation, etc…. Not knowing how my son died and not being allowed to see his body was devastating to me,” he said. “I could not stop imagining what happened to him and always thinking the worst. I could not start my grieving process.”

Brisson’s son, Rock added, was six years old at the time of his father’s death. Even though he lived in British Columbia, Rock said Brisson was always in contact with him over the phone.

“Someday, he’ll ask how his dad died,” Rock said, “and we’ll have to be devastated all again.”

Sheepway’s sentencing hearing is expected to continue April 20. Justice Leigh Gower, who oversaw the trial and now the sentencing, said he expects to have a decision no later than June 1.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Darryl SheepwaymurderYukon courts

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

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Artist’s rendering of a Dairy Queen drive-thru. At its April 13 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a zoning change to allow a drive-thru at 107 Range Road. Developers sought the change to build a Dairy Queen there. (Submitted)
Drive-thru approved by Whitehorse city council at 107 Range Road

Rezoning could pave the way for a Dairy Queen

xx
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for April 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

Most Read