There is ample evidence to convict Dean Boucher and Mark Lange of murder in the death of Carcross hotelier Robert Olson, according to the Crown.
“You should have no doubt that Mr. Lange and Mr. Boucher committed murder,” Crown prosecutor John Phelps told the jury on Monday.
The evidence is “abundantly clear” both men beat and robbed Olson sometime between December 23 and the early morning hours of the 24, 2004, he added.
“This was not self-defence, this was not an accident, and this most certainly was not Mr. Olson’s fault,” said Phelps in his closing statement.
“This was a horrific beating of a 64-year-old man in his own home.”
No efforts were made to save Olson, noted Phelps.
“(Olson) was unconscious. He was unable to speak. He was bleeding profusely.”
What did Boucher and Lange do?
They robbed Olson, stashed his body in the back of his own truck and drove towards Whitehorse on a cold December night, said Phelps.
They passed the RCMP detachment and the nursing station on their way out of Carcross and they just kept driving — dumping Olson’s body in a snowy ditch in Whitehorse’s Wolf Creek subdivision.
“It was horrific. It was vicious. It was callous,” said Phelps.
But defence lawyers for Boucher and Lange had a different take.
There’s not enough evidence to convict Boucher of second-degree murder, said defence lawyer Keith Parkkari.
The Crown must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the accused meant to harm the deceased and was careless about whether the injured person died as a result.
“You have no evidence that Dean Boucher was involved in that,” he said.
Lange’s testimony cannot be used against Boucher, he added.
Boucher, also known as Dean Johns, is guilty of being an accessory after the fact for helping dump the body, noted Parkkari.
“Dean Boucher is not the kind of guy you want to marry your sister or daughter,” he told the eight women and four men of the jury.
“You may think he’s a liar. He lied in his statements to police. You may think he’s a thief,” said Parkkari.
But the jury must decide if he did it, not if he’s the kind of person who’s likely to have done it, he added.
The Crown only needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Boucher and Lange killed Olson; it does not require certainty, said Phelps.
“Boucher, without any doubt, is guilty of second-degree murder for what he did,” he said.
Boucher’s entire testimony should be rejected, according to the Crown.
Boucher lied to police and admitted it, but he was steadfast on the stand, said Parkkari.
Why did he lie?
“He lived by a code” of loyalty to one another, not to “rat” people out, said Parkkari.
Boucher didn’t want to turn Lange, “his sensei, his little ninja,” in, he added.
This doesn’t cut it for the Crown.
“He was lying so you’d send him home,” said Phelps.
Lange’s terrible decision, to go into the Caribou Hotel with Boucher, led to “the ultimate nightmare for any person,” said Lange’s defence lawyer Andre Roothman.
Lange helped Boucher move the dying man and dump the body because he was afraid of Boucher, said Roothman.
But Lange said he “gave Boucher shit” for beating Olson so badly.
“These aren’t the actions of someone who’s scared,” said Phelps.
Before they drove away, Lange could have run.
He didn’t, nor did he get police, said Phelps.
“He continued to assist.”
Lange has downplayed his role, said Phelps.
He told police he couldn’t punch or kick very hard.
But Lange has martial arts training — he’s a gifted student whose physical abilities were higher than a green belt, said a former trainer.
“He can kick hard and he did kick hard and he participated in the beating,” said Phelps.
Both men claim they were very drunk.
But witness accounts suggest, while they had been drinking, they did not seem drunk.
After dumping Olson’s remains, the two friends showed no shock, remorse or extreme drunkenness, added Phelps.
“Two very cold, callous individuals is what it shows,” he said.
Boucher blames Lange for the beating, while Lange blames Boucher.
In the end, it was all for booze and drugs, said Phelps.
Two buddies were drinking together when their bottles ran dry.
They missed the off-sales and wound up in the Caribou Hotel. In their quest for intoxicants, the next move was to get to Whitehorse, said Phelps.
“They rob Mr. Olson to accomplish this goal. In the course of that robbery they beat him to death.”
Presiding Justice Leigh Gower is scheduled to give the jury his final instructions today. The jury will then decide their fate.