Yukon Supreme Court heard two widely different accounts of a single grisly night when a man was beaten to death in his near-abandoned hotel bar in Carcross.
Dean Boucher and Mark Lange, the two men currently standing trial for second-degree murder in hotelier Robert Olson’s death, have very different versions of what transpired between December 23 and 24, 2004.
Each claims he tried to save Olson.
Each blames the other for delivering the fatal blows.
When Boucher came to police on December 27, about three days after Olson was killed, he had a simple story.
“There had been a fight at the Caribou Hotel,” Sgt. Brad Wirachowski said Boucher told police.
“He was upstairs at the time and had come down the stairs to find Mr. Olson on the floor, bleeding.”
Boucher has continually stated that the death was an accident.
“I panicked,” he said in a police interview shown to the court on video.
“I didn’t do it though. I tried to revive him.”
While Boucher said he was in a “calm, drunk” mood the night Olson died, events spiraled out of control.
He never admitted to police that Lange was the other man with him at the Caribou Hotel.
“I can’t deal with that ‘rat’ name anymore,” he said.
“It is my part to tell what I did.”
But it was the “other guy” who beat Olson, Boucher added.
“(He) just attacked him, jumped him.”
He first told police he didn’t see any of the fight.
“I was actually upstairs in one of the rooms.”
His story changed after seeing Olson’s remains.
Flanked by three police officers in a marked cruiser, Boucher tried to lead police to the body.
He had difficulty remembering exactly where it was though, according to Wirachowski.
“He did appear to be trying to assist us.”
The cruiser was about a block away when another officer, Elaine Maisonneuve, spotted human remains poking through the snow.
“Mr. Boucher became quite emotional in the back of the truck and started crying,” said Wirachowski.
On the way back to the detachment, Boucher said he was in the bar when the fight occurred.
While he maintained that he didn’t throw any punches, the details of the fight have remained vague.
“I didn’t see it, man — it was fast,” Boucher said in a subsequent interview, walking off camera to vomit in a garbage can.
After the 64-year-old Olson was on the ground, Boucher said he put him in recovery position and tried to administer first aid, to no avail.
Then he helped dump the body in a snowy ditch in Wolf Creek.
When he handed his clothing over to police, Boucher asked to keep a small baby sock belonging to his child.
In the days following Olson’s death, Lange turned to booze before turning himself in.
“I just wanted to get drunk,” he told police.
“I just wanted to get hammered out of my skull and forget it ever happened. Forget I was ever there.”
These were dark days.
“I thought about killing myself,” he said.
But he told a handful of close friends what transpired just days before Christmas in the Carcross saloon.
They sobered him up and told him to “just come in and face it and accept whatever’s given to me,” Lange said in a police interview.
“Because no court can make me feel as bad as I do right now,” he said, breaking down into tears.
After hearing Lange’s story, police drove him to the downtown Carcross bar to reenact what happened that night.
This is his story.
He and Boucher had entered the Caribou looking for free drinks.
Boucher tended bar while Lange sat down to chat with Olson.
He downed numerous shooters of banana liqueur.
“I was just enjoying myself, chatting with (Olson).”
Meanwhile Boucher was “snooping around” and asked Olson to give him a piece of native art hanging on the wall, said Lange.
“Well, hey — hey it comes with the place,” Olson reportedly said.
The discussion went back and forth with Olson telling them to leave.
Boucher came up behind him, kicking him in the head, said Lange.
Olson fell to the ground and Boucher dealt out a few more blows with his hands or feet — Lange said he didn’t really know which.
Olson was making strange sounds, like he was struggling to breath, said Lange.
When Lange bent down to flip him over, to help him spit the blood out of his mouth and clear it from his nose, Olson scratched him in the face.
Lange punched back and kicked him away, going to the bar for another shot.
A short time later, Olson tried to prop himself up on all fours, said Lange.
Boucher came back and “football kicked” his head.
“I put him on his side and he didn’t resist at all,” Lange told police.
“He was moaning and groaning. He was in a lot of pain.”
Olson didn’t get up again.
“I just wanted to run,” said Lange.
“I started getting threatened. I was scared for myself because (Boucher) was pretty crazy by then.”
Then, sometime in the early morning hours on Christmas Eve 2004, Boucher and Lange loaded the dying man into the box of his own truck and drove towards Whitehorse, according to police testimony.
During that drive they pulled over, according to Lange, who was driving.
Both men state that Boucher tried to do CPR, to no avail.
Lange could see the man was dead.
“My dad’s a trapper,” he said. “I trapped with him. I just know when someone’s dead.”
They dumped the body in a ditch in the Wolf Creek subdivision, before getting the truck stuck in a snowbank. Then they walked to the Petro Canada station in the McCrae subdivision.
The owner and a night attendant noted blood on both men.
During his initial interviews with police, Lange wrote a letter to Olson’s family.
Left alone in the room, he lit a cigarette and stared down at the blank sheet of paper before starting to write.
“I know that I am the last person on this earth” that you want to hear from right now, he wrote, stating he was filled with sorrow, guilt and anguish.
“I meant, in no possible way, for this to happen that night.”
Because of his drunkenness, he made stupid decisions, Lange said in the letter.
“I have prayed, over and over, to God for forgiveness.”
One day he hopes Olson’s friends and family will forgive him too.
The trial continues today.