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Olson likely died 10 minutes after beating

When Dean Boucher and Mark Lange realized the man in the back of the truck was dead, they kept driving.

When Dean Boucher and Mark Lange realized the man in the back of the truck was dead, they kept driving.

It was likely the early morning hours of December 24, 2004 — a night witnesses have described as cold, but unremarkable for winter in the Yukon.

Currently standing trial for second-degree murder in the death of Robert Olson, the two men pulled off the road somewhere between Carcross and Whitehorse to check on him.

It was about a quarter of the way between the two towns, said Lange.

They had loaded Olson, bleeding but still alive, into the box of his own truck.

While Lange asked for directions to the hospital, Boucher told him to keep driving, said Lange.

When he stopped the black-and-red truck to check on the injured man, Olson was already dead.

“My life’s over, man. I knew, right there, my life had changed,” he told police.

Boucher was walking in circles through the snow saying, “No, no, no,” he added.

They tried to perform CPR, to no avail.

“All I know is that it was an accident,” Boucher told police.

“I tried to revive him.”

So, they climbed back into the truck and drove.

Some time later, they turned off into the Wolf Creek subdivision, south of Whitehorse.

Lange was driving very slowly, he guessed 50 or 60 kilometres an hour.

The small, skinny man was “panicking” and “really hammered.

“I just wanted to run away from them both,” he told police.

Then they dumped Olson’s body in a quiet ditch without any of the neighbours noticing.

Lange threw up in the bush and tossed away a jacket that had been covering Olson.

“I came back and (Boucher) was covering (Olson) up with snow,” he said.

All Lange wanted to do was run — to get into town, away from the truck, Boucher and Olson.

But Lange got lost on the dark roads in the country residential neighbourhood.

Boucher booted him out of the driver’s seat and “started burning around,” said Lange.

“You’re a fuck up, you’re a fuck up,” Lange said Boucher told him.

“I’m gonna fucking kill you.”

Then Boucher drove the truck into a snowbank, where it got stuck.

The two men walked to McCrae and phoned a cab from the gas station.

They went to a friend of Lange’s house, where they spent the night.

“I looked at you and I knew something was wrong,” Lange said his friend told him the next day.

Lange began drinking to dull the pain on Christmas Day, and told her the whole story.

It remains unclear what transpired inside the walls of the Caribou Hotel’s saloon, in downtown Carcross, between 11:30 p.m. December 23 and the early hours of the 24.

In the intervening hours, however, Boucher and Lange’s lives were unalterably changed and Olson lost his.

Someone beat the 64-year-old alcoholic to the brink of death.

Boucher said it was “the other guy,” who delivered the fatal beating.

While Boucher was pouring drinks behind the bar, the other man started beating Olson.

“(He) just attacked him, jumped him,” Boucher said in a taped police interview.

Later, he told police the argument was actually over Olson’s truck.

They wanted to borrow it to drive to Whitehorse to buy cocaine, he told police.

According to Lange, the argument was about art.

After Olson refused to hand over a piece of native art off the bar’s wall, Boucher kicked him in the back of the head and dealt him numerous blows, said Lange.

A short time later, when Olson tried to get up on all fours, Boucher “football kicked” him in the head.

Lange admitted to throwing a few punches and kicking Olson after he bent down to help the man and he scratched his face.

“(Boucher) attacked (Olson) out of the blue and started robbing the place,” said Lange.

Whether the catalyst for the fight was an automobile or art, the beating left Olson fatally wounded on the floor of his bar.

He was “alive and kicking” when they loaded him into the back of his own truck, said Lange.

This phrase was likely figurative, however, based on testimony from Vancouver-based forensic pathologist Laurel Grey, who conducted the autopsy.

With broken bones, bruising and lacerations on his face and swelling in the brain, Olson likely fell unconscious after the beating.

Medical attention may not have helped him, Grey said.

The injuries were so severe Olson was not likely to regain consciousness.

Most of the blows were centred on Olson’s face and were likely caused by kicking and stomping, she said.

The strange breathing noises both Lange and Boucher noted, were probably caused by blood in his lungs.

Olson likely died within 10 minutes of the assault, she added.

Blood test showed no alcohol or drugs in Olson’s body.

After nine days of testimony, the Crown is expected to finish its case today.

The jury of eight women and four men could sit for another two weeks in the trial, which is being presided over by Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower.