Christina Asp and Norman Larue allegedly beat Gordon Seybold to death and burned his cabin down in 2008 because Christina’s mother Jessie Asp wanted Seybold gone.
“She pretty much had that scene that happened pretty much planned out,” said Christina in a tape recording played in the Yukon Supreme courthouse on Wednesday, as Norman Larue’s jury watched a covert video of his former girlfriend explaining Seybold’s killing.
Larue is currently standing trial for his role in Seybold’s alleged murder. Christina Asp was convicted last year for her role in the slaying.
In the video, secretly recorded by RCMP in a 2009 undercover sting operation called Project Monsoon, Christina detailed how she and Larue donned ski masks and gloves before barging into Seybold’s Ibex Valley cabin and ultimately bludgeoning him to death.
At the time, Christina thought she was divulging the information to the head of a powerful crime family that would protect her and make evidence of the killing go away. In fact, she was speaking to an undercover RCMP officer in an Edmonton penthouse, with the cops eavesdropping from the apartment’s loft, mere metres away.
The videotaped interview was the climax of almost a month of work by the RCMP to convince Christina that she had been recruited into the criminal underworld.
The primary officer in the case, a woman who spent that month befriending and working with Christina until they were “closer than sisters,” was on the stand Wednesday and Thursday explaining the recordings.
In the video, Asp says she drove Larue to Seybold’s house because she knew the directions.
“My mom had some disputes with this guy … it had a lot to do with drugs and stuff like that,” Christina says in the video.
“She talked personally with my boyfriend (Larue), and I don’t know what was said between them but he asked if I knew the directions, so I took him there,” she says.
According to the video, when they arrived at Seybold’s property, a fight broke out between Seybold and Larue.
“And there was a lot of fighting, bats coming out of everywhere,” Christina says, laughing in the video. “Well, one bat anyways.”
She goes on to say that Seybold nearly got the best of Larue in the scuffle, and at one point Christina ended up with the bat – which belonged to Seybold – in her hands.
Christina told the officers that she swung the bat at Seybold’s head several times. “You can pretty much hear his head crack,” she says in the video.
After the end of the videotaped interview, Christina and a group of undercover officers were told they would have to go to Whitehorse for a “re-enactment” at the scene of the crime. Christina is led to believe the trip is a chance for the crime family to gather and destroy any evidence she and Larue might have left behind.
On Thursday the Crown’s evidence continued with a selection of audio clips introduced that were recorded in Whitehorse in early March 2009. On the tapes, Christina can be heard discussing the Seybold killing with the primary officer and another undercover in greater detail.
The audio recordings were made in a vehicle while Christina and the officers toured the sites that she claimed she and Larue had visited on their way to and from Seybold’s cabin, including the highway pullout where police had retrieved guns and a bloody baseball bat following Seybold’s death. But Christina couldn’t find Seybold’s property because there was too much snow.
While Christina was travelling with the officers, she also made notes about the night of Seybold’s death, including hand-drawn maps of the property and two locations where she said she and Larue burned the clothes they’d worn during the attack.
She also offered further specifics about the fight between Larue and Seybold. After she hit Seybold, Christina handed the bat over to Larue.
“I gave him the bat and he pretty much went to town,” she says on one recording.
“His face was covered in blood.”
Christina said she asked Larue what they were going to do.
“He said, ‘I don’t know. He’s dead,’” she explained on the tape.
She goes on to detail how Larue later put a rope around Seybold’s neck, tied it to a beam in the cabin, and told her to wait outside in the truck.
She said she looked back and could see Larue silhouetted against the flames as a fire spread through the cabin.
As they were driving away, Larue accidentally backed into a tree and damaged the GMC Jimmy they were driving, which belonged to Jessie Asp, said Christina. To cover up the damage, Christina said they went to the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse and intentionally backed into a concrete light stand.
Christina and Larue drove back to Jessie Asp’s house, avoiding main roads, where they stripped off all their clothes in the basement and later burned them, the jury heard. Then they went to the 98 Hotel bar with Jessie. They left after only a few minutes, long enough to be seen and establish an alibi, Christina said.
Christina also said on the tape recording that Jessie had asked her to come back to Whitehorse in 2009 to deal with another problem person. The officers asked if Jessie wanted something similar to Seybold’s fate, but Christina said her mother had only wanted Christina to come back and scare away a jealous former lover of Jessie’s current boyfriend.
In nearly all of the recordings, Christina and the officers sound unworried and jovial, making jokes and laughing, even about some of the more grisly details. At one point, Christina is heard singing the chorus to Bruce Springsteen’s Blinded By The Light.
The judge cautioned the jury to be extra vigilant for inconsistencies in Christina’s story on the video and audio, because the defence won’t have the chance to cross-examine her on the stand. Earlier in the trial, she had been called to testify in person, but she refused and was cited in contempt of court.
In the final clip played on Thursday, one of the undercover cops is heard telling Christina, “I can tell you planned everything.” He asks her whether she had known before they arrived at Seybold’s cabin that the small-time marijuana dealer was about to die.
“I had some feeling,” Christina replies on the tape.
“I like the way you roll, sister,” says the undercover officer.
The judge decided to end Thursday’s proceedings early because the courthouse air conditioning was broken and the heat was causing visible distress for some of the jurors.
The trial will continue on Monday with the defence’s cross-examination of the primary officer.
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