Darryl Sheepway returned to the witness stand Dec. 4. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)

On stand, Sheepway details crack addiction, aftermath of shooting

‘I was so sick and tired of everything’

Darryl Sheepway took the witness stand in his own defence again Dec. 4, speaking in greater detail about the depths of his crack cocaine addiction as his first-degree murder trial for the 2015 killing of Christopher Brisson enters its fourth week.

Questioned by his lawyer Lynn MacDiarmid, Sheepway described his relationship with crack cocaine an “obsession,” stating multiple times that his cravings for the drug continue to this day.

“I don’t think there was a single day from the day I got Chris Brisson’s phone number and the day I went into detox that I didn’t use drugs,” Sheepway said, describing how he would get cash back on top of regular store purchases, steal money from his wife and tenants and trade marijuana for crack.

Presented with his cell phone records from August 2015, Sheepway said it would often take multiple messages or calls to either Brisson or his other dealer to set up a meeting, and that on the handful of days the records showed no contact with either, he’d likely made a large purchase the day before. Later, during cross-examination by the Crown, Sheepway said that he had no specific memories of those purchases and that he was assuming he’d made them based on the phone records.

Following Brisson’s murder in late August 2015, Sheepway said he went through a detox stint in Whitehorse before moving to Ontario to enter a treatment program at the Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, living with his grandparents as he awaited admission.

In Ontario, Sheepway said he was badly craving crack cocaine and not dealing well with being sober. He testified that he connected with old friends in his hometown of Oakville, Ont., who found him connections to buy crack cocaine, and that he stole money from his family, committed several robberies and “a lot of things that I’m not proud of” to fund his use.

Sheepway said he didn’t physically harm anyone during the robberies, and, during one attempt, ran away after the would-be victim told him to “fuck off” and called 911. He said he stopped the robberies when, after coming back from buying crack one night, the police came by when he was stopped at a gas station and told him his vehicle matched the description of one wanted in a robbery. He lied his way out of the situation.

Sheepway said he entered a general assessment program at Homewood for the first time in mid-December 2015. He spent a few weeks in the program before returning to his grandparents’ for Christmas, during which relapsed. When he re-entered Homewood after Christmas, Sheepway said that he and a few friends of his found a source to buy crack from near the health centre. They were eventually found out by the staff, Sheepway said, and he was discharged from Homewood in early January of 2016, at which point he went to live with his parents.

After striking up a deal to stay sober, Sheepway said he was readmitted to Homewood in February, this time successfully completing program by March. He then returned to the Yukon, where he said he made a “weak attempt at staying sober.”

Within a week of his return, Sheepway said, he had started using crack cocaine again, describing his daily routine as revolving around going to work, getting crack and using crack.

“After the Easter weekend, I was almost a daily user,” Sheepway said, confirming that that was also around the time he was first approached by the RCMP about Brisson’s death. At the time, he denied having any knowledge of it.

Sheepway also confirmed that he told a friend, with whom he smoked crack on a weekly basis, about killing Brisson in April — the first time he’d ever told anyone about it. He said he continued to smoke crack with her until he left the Yukon again during the May 2016 long weekend. Before leaving, Sheepway said he committed a series of frauds, depositing fake cheques into his bank account and withdrawing as much money as he could to buy as much crack as possible. His plan, he told the court, was to run away, use the crack and, when the drugs ran out, end his life.

He didn’t have a destination in mind, and simply got into his car and started driving south.

“I was so sick and tired of everything,” Sheepway said.

“I just wanted to run.”

Sheepway ultimately ended up in Prince George, B.C., where he ran out of drugs. He testified that he called his estranged wife to “say goodbye,” confessing to, among other things, killing Brisson. His wife alerted the RCMP, who arrested Sheepway, brought him to hospital and, a few days later, arrested him and brought him back to the Yukon. Sheepway has been at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre ever since.

To this day, Sheepway said, he continues to have cravings for crack, and often lies in bed at the WCC dreaming or thinking about using.

He also recounted an incident following Brisson’s murder when he was using crack cocaine, alone, in his kitchen. After smoking, Sheepway said he turned around and saw Brisson standing in front of him. Brisson lunged at him.

“I shook my head,” Sheepway said, “and the vision went away.”

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

crack cocaineDarryl SheepwayYukon courts