LaRue testimony wraps up

"I never killed Gordon Seybold." That's the essence of Norman LaRue's defence in his ongoing murder trial: he wasn't there, he didn't do it.

“I never killed Gordon Seybold.”

That’s the essence of Norman LaRue’s defence in his ongoing murder trial: he wasn’t there, he didn’t do it.

LaRue is charged with first-degree murder for the 2008-killing of Ibex Valley resident Gordon Seybold. He maintains that he had nothing to do with the slaying, even though his then-girlfriend Christina Asp detailed to undercover officers how she and LaRue beat Seybold to death and burned his cabin down in 2008. She also testified to LaRue’s involvement during her own trial last year, where she was convicted for her role in the killing.

LaRue was also entangled in the 2009 undercover operation that snared Asp. She thought she was being recruited into a major crime family by a cast of undercover RCMP officers, and that they could make criminal evidence disappear. She told them about LaRue’s involvement, and they offered him a job as extra muscle.

During the job interview, LaRue was tape-recorded bragging about how he had smashed Seybold’s head in, slit his throat, and burned the small-time pot dealer’s house down.

Since he took the stand on Monday, LaRue has claimed the organization terrified him and that everything he told the undercover officers was a lie designed to get him access into the organization so he could get Asp out.

LaRue had been in jail for a previous conviction in 2009 while Asp was being recruited. He was only free for six days before he was arrested in the undercover sting.

His story to the undercover officers matches Asp’s closely because she had him memorize a letter detailing all the lies she had told about his involvement, LaRue said.

On Wednesday, Crown prosecutor David McWinnie had a chance to question LaRue directly about his story.

LaRue asserts that when Asp first told him what she had told the criminals, he was angry and told her he didn’t want either of them to have any part in the organization.

But McWinnie pointed out that during hours of wire-tapped phone calls between Asp and LaRue, not once does he so much as mention any of those concerns.

“Quite the opposite, in fact,” McWinnie said, highlighting LaRue’s comments about becoming very close with the crime family’s top hit man, and saying he was happy and proud that Asp had introduced him to the group.

There were some calls missing from the wiretap evidence, and LaRue said that those calls showed him trying to tell Asp that they should leave the organization.

Throughout the cross examination, LaRue said he had trouble remembering specifics about what Asp had told him and when. Whenever McWinnie pushed him on details about what he told undercover officers and why, LaRue either answered that he couldn’t remember details of the conversations or that he had been embellishing the story to make it more believable.

Police found two rifles and a bloody baseball bat in a garbage can on the Alaska Highway. Asp told the undercover officers they had stolen the rifles from Seybold’s and later threw them in the garbage, but she never mentioned what happened to the bat.

On the job-interview tapes, LaRue did talk about taking the bat, and putting it in the garbage. He also talked about a paint fleck from the back of the GMC Jimmy the pair used to get to Seybold’s, telling undercover officers he had accidentally backed into a tree as they were leaving the property after the killing.

In the undercover tapes, Asp never mentions the paint fleck. LaRue claimed those details came from the letter she smuggled to him while in prison, which he memorized and destroyed.

On the stand, LaRue said repeatedly that he had wanted nothing to do with the crime family, that he wanted to straighten out and live a normal life with Asp.

He maintained that he did try to come across as enthusiastic about joining the organization because he was afraid, all the while plotting to somehow extricate himself and Asp from people he claims terrified him.

“Did you ever consider calling the police?” McWinnie asked, adding that if LaRue had been serious about going straight, he could simply have done that and ended everything.

“The lifestyle I was raised in, we don’t talk to the police. We handle our own type thing,” LaRue said.

At one point, LaRue said Asp was afraid of the group as well, but at no point in the tapes was she ever threatened, and she repeatedly said how important the members of the group were to her.

“What precisely was she scared of?” McWinnie asked.

As McWinnie posed more questions, LaRue started doubling down on his story, repeating that “I wanted to get her out of there,” and “I was selling myself to them.”

In his final line of questioning, McWinnie, tightened the screws.

“You knew the police had evidence,” he said.

“I knew the police had some evidence, yes,” LaRue replied.

“…and we just discussed that you knew that it could point to you …and you talked about the paint fleck, and you agree that you thought some crazy thoughts about trying to blow up the evidence, correct?” McWinnie asked.

LaRue agreed.

“You already told us that you thought this organization could make evidence go away, correct?”

“Yes,” LaRue replied.

“And so you wanted their help to do just that, to make the evidence go away?” McWinnie asked.

“I never really wanted their help with that because I believe there is no evidence pointing to me in regards to this because I was not involved with this,” LaRue said.

“Well, I suggest that you know otherwise and that you told the undercovers the truth about what happened in order to get their help to hide what you actually did,” McWinnie said.

“No matter how many times you suggest it or say it doesn’t make it the truth. I was not involved in this,” LaRue said.

With the Crown and defence both finished their cases, the three-month trial is nearly over. Both lawyers will give their final submissions to the jury today, and the judge is expected to charge and sequester the jury on Tuesday. There is no word on how long the jury might take to reach a final verdict.

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read