The trial of a Carmacks man accused of the 2017 murder of Wilfred “Dickie” Charlie is set to begin this week following the conclusion of jury selection on Jan. 8.
Tyler Aaron Skookum stands charged with first-degree murder in relation to Charlie’s death.
Charlie, 57, was last seen alive near his Carmacks home on June 19, 2017. His body was found in the Yukon River near Fort Selkirk on July 5 that year.
Skookum has pleaded not guilty.
Yukon RCMP arrested Skookum in September of that year, initially charging him with second-degree murder before upgrading the charge a month later.
Approximately 400 people received jury summonses for the trial, which is estimated to take about four weeks. Selection for 14 seats — 12 jurors, and two alternates — began the morning of Jan. 6, with the jury pool filling four of the five courtrooms in the Whitehorse courthouse.
The process continued into Jan. 7, with court sheriffs at one point purchasing donuts and coffee for everyone still waiting.
The final juror was selected shortly before noon on Jan 8. However, she was later dismissed for reasons of “exceptional financial hardship.”
The trial will proceed with 13 jurors instead.
Yukon Supreme Court Justice Edith Campbell began giving the jury its preliminary instructions this afternoon
A second man, Mario Reuben Skookum, was also arrested and charged with first-degree murder in relation to Charlie’s death in October 2017.
While Mario and Tyler’s files were initially linked, they were severed in late 2019 after Mario opted to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter on Dec. 16, 2019.
Mario’s sentencing proceedings are scheduled to begin in March.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org