Andy Giraudel, pictured, was murdered in Watson Lake in 2016. Travis Dennis pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in his death May 30. (Facebook)

Man pleads guilty to 2016 Watson Lake murder

Travis Dennis, pleaded guilty to killing Andy Giraudel in 2016

A man has pleaded guilty to the 2016 murder of Andy Giraudel in Watson Lake, admitting that he “snapped” and stabbed the 36-year-old during an argument before dismembering his body following a night of drinking.

Appearing before Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale May 30, Travis Dennis, wearing red Whitehorse-Correctional-Centre-issued scrubs and a crucifix necklace, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree murder.

A handful of people were in the courtroom gallery for the plea. Giraudel’s parents and a sister observed the proceedings from Watson Lake via video conference.

Crown prosecutor Eric Marcoux read an agreed statement of facts to the court that outlined the events leading up to, and following, Giraduel’s murder.

According to the statement, Dennis, who was 23 at the time, Giraudel and a friend were drinking at Dennis’ house in Watson Lake the night of July 13, 2016. Early the next morning Giraudel and Dennis went for a walk on a nearby wooded trail and started arguing.

The argument was triggered by Dennis asserting that Giraudel had sexually assaulted him on “several instances” over the past couple of years, the statement says, and escalated when Giraudel told Dennis that Dennis “had enjoyed what had been done to him.”

Giraudel then told Dennis that he “should have ‘overdosed like your bitch of a mother,’” at which point Dennis “snapped” and stabbed Giraudel in the chest, “followed by a number of other stabs to the chest and back.”

Giraudel died on the trail.

After the murder, the statement says, Dennis “immediately drank part of a mickey of vodka the men had with them” and went home. He returned to the scene later that morning to dismember Giraudel’s body, placing the parts into four orange garbage bags and hiding them in the surrounding woods.

The murder was uncovered July 16, 2016, when a man called Watson Lake RCMP to report that his dog had “dug up something.” Police went to the man’s residence and he showed officers a human leg.

Police issued a press release the following day in hopes of identifying the victim.

A family member of Giraudel’s reported him missing the afternoon of July 18, 2016.

Less than an hour later, Dennis arrived at the Watson Lake RCMP detachment and told police he had found a bag of bloody clothes and a knife and “as a result thought he might have killed somebody.” He was arrested for murder and in a statement to police July 19, 2016, said “he initially had no recall” of Giraudel’s death but that his memory came back “over time after finding the bag with bloody clothing and hearing about a human leg being found.”

Dennis told police where to find Giraudel’s body and the bag of bloody clothes, the agreed statement of facts says, and also explained his “complicated relationship” with Giraudel, describing “two instances where he was sexually assaulted by (Giraudel),” which is why he “hated” him. The two men “encountered each other from time to time around Watson Lake,” the statement says, but “this matter was unresolved between them.”

Police found Giraudel’s body later the same day. Police also obtained a search warrant for Dennis’s house and, under the deck, found another orange garbage bag containing bloody clothes, a knife and a blue shoulder bag with Giraudel’s wallet inside.

A forensic pathologist determined Giraudel died from “multiple stab wounds to his torso.”

Dennis is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 10. Veale, upon a request from the defence, ordered a pre-sentencing report and Gladue report to be completed prior to that date.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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