Colin Asselstine didn’t know that offering a ride to a man and a woman in apparent distress would land him in Yukon Supreme Court, testifying in an attempted murder trial.
Christopher Cornell, 31, and Jessica Johnson, 22, are accused of a string of crimes including attempting to murder Haines Junction RCMP Cpl. Kim MacKellar and deputy conservation officer Shane Oakley with a rifle in 2011.
Only Cornell is being tried currently. The trial began last week and is expected to last until at least the end of the month.
When asked if he could identify the man he picked up that day, Asselstine pointed to Cornell. “He’s sitting in the box over there.”
Asselstine lived in Destruction Bay for 14 years.
On the date in question he worked at a local motel and was responsible for making weekly trips to Whitehorse for supplies.
Asselstine told the court he was making the trip when he came across a dark SUV in the ditch along the Alaska Highway.
The back window had been smashed out, he testified.
The vehicle was empty, but about half a kilometre away, he heard rustling in the bushes and a man and a woman walked out, he said.
The man had a rifle. He said they’d been hunting, Asselstine told the court.
The pair told him they thought their motor had seized and they ended up in the ditch, he said.
Asselstine said he and another employee in the company’s cube van offered to drive the two to Haines Junction to get medical help. Instead the pair asked to be dropped off at the Pine Lake Campground.
Asselstine told the court he was driving with the pair in the back of the van when they passed through Haines Junction, and a truck driven by Wade Istchenko flagged the vehicle down.
Away from the van, the two men had a conversation, Asselstine testified.
“He told me they were looking for two people and I told him I happened to have two people in my van right now.”
Nervous, Asselstine said he told Istchenko where he was going and then dropped the pair off at the campground before turning around and going back to Haines Junction to speak to the RCMP.
On Friday, RCMP Const. Jean-Michel Sauve, testified Cornell and Johnson were arrested near the Pine Lake Campground where Asselstine dropped them off.
Sauve said he had little interaction with Cornell and dealt with Johnson instead.
The officer testified that he believed Johnson was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when she was arrested.
Cell phones, a knife, a needle, candy and a crack pipe were found in her possession, he said.
She also told officers she might be pregnant, the court heard.
Contact Ashley Joannou at firstname.lastname@example.org