Victim statements were read at a sentencing hearing on Aug. 10 for Watson Lake resident Travis Dennis who pleaded guilty in May to the second-degree murder of Andy Giraudel in 2016. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Crown, defence ask for 10 years’ parole ineligibility for Watson Lake murderer

Travis Dennis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in May for killing Andy Giraudel in 2016

Thirty-six-year-old Andy Giraudel was a loving son, brother and friend, a good cook who dreamed of one day opening his own restaurant. He struggled with alcohol at times but had a good heart, and, in the summer of 2016, had talked about leaving Watson Lake to start anew.

But Giraudel would never get that chance.

Instead, he met a grisly end at the hands of fellow Watson Lake resident Travis Dennis in July 2016, a fact, his family members told a Whitehorse courtroom during Dennis’s sentencing hearing Aug. 10, that is almost unbearable.

Dennis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder May 30 for killing Giraudel in 2016 and dismembering his body following an argument that was preceded by a night of drinking. Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale accepted Dennis’s plea.

A second-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence and a minimum of 10 years of parole ineligibility.

The Crown and defence entered a joint submission before Veale Aug. 10 asking that Dennis be ineligible for parole for 10 years and that he be subject to a DNA order along with a 10-year-long firearm prohibition. They also requested that Dennis be ordered to pay a $200 victim fine surcharge and to forfeit some “personal items” that would be returned to Giraudel’s family.

Giraudel’s mother, stepfather and sister attended in the proceedings via video conference from Watson Lake. They each prepared victim impact statements, with a Victim Services’ worker reading the ones by Jeanicia and Andy Moskaluk and sister Andrea Moskaluk reading her own.

Moskaluk told the court that she would never forget the “gut-wrenching feeling” she felt when the funeral director told her family that they wouldn’t be able to see Giraudel’s body one last time because of the condition it was in.

She added that Dennis was continuing to do damage by “dragging my brother’s name through the mud” by alleging that Giraudel had sexually abused him, and that anyone who knew her brother would know those claims “couldn’t possibly be true.”

Nothing could justify what Dennis did to her brother, Moskaluk said, and no sentence will ever be enough.

“I would say, I hope (Dennis) is haunted by the sounds of my brother’s last screams, but my brother’s soul needs to be at rest,” she said. “Instead, I hope his own reflection is enough to torment his very existence until the good Lord rids us of this poor excuse of a human being.”

In his address to the court, Crown attorney Eric Marcoux said the joint submission was the result of “lengthy discussions” between the Crown, defence, RCMP, chief federal prosecutor and family members. The serious aggravating factor in the case — the fact that Dennis dismembered Giraudel’s body — on its own could justify a higher ineligibility period, Marcoux said, but that was “somewhat balanced” out by the case’s mitigating factors.

Those included Dennis’s age at the time of the murder (he was 23), the fact that Dennis had no prior criminal record and several Gladue factors highlighted in Dennis’s Gladue and pre-sentencing reports.

Marcoux also noted that, had the case gone to trial, several “potential issues” would have arisen over the admissibility of Dennis’s confession to police into evidence, which was something the Crown took into consideration.

Asked by Veale about Dennis’s statement to police that Giraudel had previously sexually assaulted him, Marcoux said that those were unproven allegations as far as the Crown was concerned.

Defence lawyer David McWhinnie, who is representing Dennis along with Norah Mooney, said that while Dennis was prepared to take the stand about the sexual assault allegations, they were being presented to the court as assertions that can’t be tried.

“He provides it as an explanation but not as an excuse,” McWhinnie said.

In his submissions, McWhinnie said that Dennis has consistently worked on improving himself in the two years he’s been at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre (WCC), taking every course available to him, participating in alcohol and drug addiction programming, consistently maintaining employment and otherwise showing initiative to better himself and address his underlying psychological issues.

“He is, in essence, doing what we hope or expect of a person who finds themselves in a situation where something of this nature has happened,” McWhinnie told the court, adding that Dennis has accepted responsibility for his actions and never blamed Giraudel for what happened.

Dennis was given the chance to speak as the proceedings drew to a close.

“I’ve written so many speeches to express how sorry I am, but I could never write a perfect speech,” Dennis said.

“I know (Giraudel’s) family will never forgive me. I need the family to know that I am truly sorry. I know that I will never bring back Andy. There’s no words that I can say beyond that I am sorry.… I am truly, truly sorry.”

Veale reserved his decision. He’s expected to deliver it Aug. 29.

Contact Jackie Hong at

murderWatson LakeYukon courts

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker plead guilty to offences under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Couple who broke isolation rules to get vaccines in Beaver Creek fined $2,300

Crown and defence agreed on no jail time for Rod and Ekaterina Baker


Wyatt’s World for June 16, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
COVID-19 outbreak surges to 50 active cases in the Yukon

Officials urge Yukoners to continue following guidelines, get vaccinated

Team Yukon during the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse. (Submitted/Sport Yukon)
Whitehorse will bid for 2027 Canada Winter Games

Bid would be submitted in July 2022

File Photo
The overdose crisis, largely driven by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and carfentanil was the topic of an online discussion hosted by Blood Ties Four Directions Centre and the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition on June 8 and 10.
Discussion of overdose crisis in Yukon leaves participants hopeful for future

The forum brought together people including some with personal drug use and addiction experience.

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

For the second year running, the Yukon Quest will not have 1,000 mile race. Crystal Schick/Yukon News
The Yukon Quest will be two shorter distance events instead of a 1,000 mile race

After receiving musher feeback, the Yukon Quest Joint Board of Directors to hold two shorter distances races instead of going forward with the 1,000 mile distance

Western and Northern premiers met this week to discuss joint issues. (Joe Savikataaq/Twitter)
Premiers meet at Northern Premiers’ Forum and Western Premiers’ Conference

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq virtually hosted both meetings this year

The sun sets over Iqaluit on Oct. 26, 2020. Nunavut’s chief public health officer says two COVID-19 cases at Iqaluit’s middle school came from household transmission and the risk to other students is low. (Emma Tranter/Canadian Press)
Iqaluit school’s contacts and classmates cleared after two COVID-19 cases

With an outbreak ongoing in Iqaluit, the Aqsarniit middle school has split students into two groups

An extended range impact weapon is a “less lethal” option that fires sponge or silicon-tipped rounds, according to RCMP. (File photo)
Whitehorse RCMP under investigation for use of “less lethal” projectile weapon during arrest

Police used the weapon to subdue a hatchet-wielding woman on June 4

Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press
Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents.
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

The move comes in response to a call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015

Teslin Lake is one of two bodies of water the Yukon Government has place on flood watch. (Google Maps Image)
Flood watch issued for Teslin Lake, Yukon River at Carmacks

The bodies of water may soon burst their banks due to melting snow and rainfall

Most Read