A day or two after Darryl Sheepway pushed 25-year-old Christopher Brisson’s body down a hill at Miles Canyon, he took his wife and children to the nearby suspension bridge to take a family photo.
Those were among the details that emerged on the first day of Sheepway’s first-degree murder trial Nov. 6.
At issue is not whether Sheepway killed Brisson in August 2015 — he’s previously acknowledged responsibility for Brisson’s death and offered to plead guilty to manslaughter, an offer rejected by the Crown.
Sheepway again pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder at the start of the trial Nov. 6, which is being presided over by Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower.
In lieu of an opening statement, Crown prosecutor Leo Lane read from an agreed statement of facts.
On Aug. 28, 2015, Sheepway’s wife discovered suspicious cash withdrawals on her credit card and, suspecting Sheepway, took away his cell phone and bank cards before going into town. Desperate for crack cocaine and without money, Sheepway ended up fatally shooting Brisson, who he’d been buying crack from almost daily starting in early August, after luring him out to McLean Lake Road under the guise of paying him back and buying more drugs.
Sheepway, who returned to the scene to collect and dispose of Brisson’s body, would later tell his wife about killing Brisson in a distressed phone call from Prince George, B.C., and eventually confessed to Yukon RCMP, agreeing to lead them on a “re-enactment” of that day.
Police filmed the re-enactment on Oct. 4, 2016, during which Sheepway, riding in a van with several police officers, retraced the path he followed the day he killed Brisson.
The Crown played the majority of the three-hour-long video Nov. 6, with RCMP officer John Gillis, who took part in the reenactment, taking the witness stand.
In the video, which appears to be shot from the back seat of a van, Sheepway is sitting next to Gillis, directing the officer driving the van where to go. The van is driving south down the Alaska Highway, and Sheepway says it would have been his first time in town that day and that he was going to meet Brisson after phoning him and asking him to “front” him for crack cocaine.
Sheepway says he was “freaking out” because he was out of drugs and money. He directs investigators to the Mountain Ridge Motel, where he met Brisson, and says Brisson gave him about $50 worth of crack. Sheepway says drove a short distance away, did some of the crack and began driving home when decided he wanted more.
Sheepway says he turned back and returned to the motel but didn’t see the dealer’s truck, so he went into a nearby office to phone him. The men agreed to meet at McLean Lake Road.
Sheepway says that on the drive there and as he was waiting for Brisson to arrive, he was only thinking about wanting more drugs and was contemplating either robbing Brisson or asking him to front him again.
As he shows investigators where his and Brisson’s trucks were located, Sheepway says his heart was racing, and that he had a shotgun on his lap covered by a jacket. The trucks’ drivers’ sides were next to each other, and Sheepway says that as Brisson looked down, presumably to retrieve some crack, he pulled out his shotgun.
Sheepway says that Brisson grabbed the barrel of the shotgun and tried to pull it into his own truck, and a struggle ensued during which the gun accidentally went off twice, shattering Brisson’s truck’s windows.
Sheepway says he got the gun back and Brisson drove away. As that happened, Sheepway says he leaned out his truck and fired the gun at the back of Brisson’s. Brisson’s truck suddenly reversed, went around a corner and disappeared from view, Sheepway says, and when he went to check what happened, he found it had crashed nose-first into the bush.
Sheepway tells investigators he found Brisson’s body sprawled face-up on the ground a few metres away. He searched the body for crack cocaine and then drove home, stopping to do some of the crack along the way and thinking, “Oh my God, I just killed someone.… Holy fuck, I just killed somebody.”
After changing clothes, Sheepway says he went back to the scene to pick up the shotgun shells and retrieve Brisson’s body. He says he picked it up, finding a pool of blood underneath, and put it in his truck. Sheepway says his original plan was to dump Brisson’s body in a remote part of the Yukon River. But traffic was heavy on the Alaska Highway that day and fearing someone would see the body, he turned off at Miles Canyon Road.
Sheepway directs investigators up the road to a small gravel pull-off, where he says he put down his truck’s tailgate and pushed Brisson’s body down the hill.
When asked if he’d been to Miles Canyon before, Sheepway says he hadn’t been often, but went back “a day or two” after dumping Brisson’s body with his wife and children to see anything appeared out of the ordinary.
In the video, Sheepway says nothing seemed to be going on. He took a photo on the Mile Canyon suspension bridge with his family and then left.
After dumping the body, Sheepway drove to the Canada Games Centre where he disposed of the shotgun shells and cleaned Brisson’s blood off his pants. He called his wife, Katherine Scheck, and drove to the house she was having dinner at. After a brief conversation, Sheepway left with the couple’s daughter and drove home.
Scheck testified via closed-circuit television on Nov. 7.
In her testimony, Scheck said she met Sheepway in 2010 when they were working as correctional officers at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. They were married in 2012, but Scheck described the relationship as “just one bad event after another.”
The day of Brisson’s killing, Scheck said she’d noticed about $1,200 worth of cash withdrawals on her credit card that she did not make. After calling the bank and then the RCMP, Scheck said she realized Sheepway was the only person who would have had access to both her card and PIN.
When she confronted him, Scheck said Sheepway denied having made the withdrawals, and she eventually left to pick up one of their children in town, meet a friend and then go to dinner, taking Sheepway’s cell phone with her in an effort to find “clues” about what was going on.
Scheck testified that Sheepway confessed to using crack later that night. She found drugs on him twice after he told her he didn’t have any more and she disposing of them both times, eventually driving Sheepway to a detox centre Aug. 30, 2015. She hasn’t lived with him since then.
Scheck also recounted Sheepway’s 2016 call from Prince George, during which he told her about killing Brisson, and how he told her more details about the killing when she visited him in the Whitehorse jail following his arrest on unrelated charges.
At multiple points during Scheck’s testimony, Sheepway, who was sitting next to his lawyer Lynn McDiarmid, put his arms and head down on the table and sobbed.
The trial continues.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org