Yukon’s biggest murder trial wraps up

Christina Asp sat, fingers laced together on her lap, as lawyers in her trial made their final arguments to the jury. The 34-year-old is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Gordon Seybold.

Christina Asp sat, fingers laced together on her lap, as lawyers in her trial made their final arguments to the jury.

The 34-year-old is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Gordon Seybold, whose charred body was found in what was left of his torched Ibex Valley home in 2008.

Asp looked down at her hands for most of her lawyer’s closing arguments.

Christina Asp didn’t murder Gordon Seybold, Ken Tessovitch told the jury of 12 women and two men.

The police bought her confession, he said.

“It was clearly a statement, a confession, that was bought and paid for,” Tessovitch said, referring to the undercover surveillance tape that began the trial 12 weeks ago.

The grainy footage showed Asp describing how she and her boyfriend at the time, Norman Larue, drove to Seybold’s property and beat him to death with a baseball bat.

In the video, Asp was speaking to an undercover police officer who she believed was the head of a criminal organization. Asp was offered a job, welcomed into their “family” and told they could take care of the police’s suspicions of her and Larue – on the condition she told them everything she could about Seybold’s death.

The “Mr. Big” operation played on Asp’s tragic history of neglect and abuse and showed her a life where other people pay your bills, take you places and take care of one another.

“This case is the story of Christina Marie Asp,” Tessovitch said. “It’s not a glamorous story. It’s not nice or pretty. It’s made up of an incredible amount of tragedy.”

Telling the jury about the sexual assaults Asp endured from as young as six and how she left her unhealthy home at 12 to live on the streets and work as a prostitute is not to gain sympathy, Tessovitch said.

It’s to explain how Asp thinks.

“She’s a survivor,” he said. “Her history cries that out again and again.”

As a survivor, Asp learned to do whatever she needed to, including lie.

Which is exactly what she did in that video, and numerous other tape recordings of Asp talking about her involvement in Seybold’s death with the undercover police officers, said Tessovitch.

She lied so she could keep her job and reputation with these people, said Tessovitch.

The defence lawyer ended his argument by reading from a June 11 transcript because he couldn’t say it better than Asp did herself, he said.

“Did you hit Gordon Seybold with that bat?” Tessovitch reread his question to Asp when she was on the witness stand Monday.

“Answer: No. Question: Did you kill Gordon Seybold? Answer: No.”

David McWhinnie agreed that Asp knows how to lie.

The prosecuting lawyer pointed out that Asp must have lied because the story she told the undercover officers and the story she told the jury when she testified were not the same.

On the witness stand, Asp told the jury she only stood back and watched as Larue, and only Larue, beat Seybold to death.

But for the jury to decide which was the lie and which was the truth, all they have to do is think, “What’s in it for Christina?” McWhinnie said.

Would she need to lie to stay a part of a crime family she was already a part of, or would she need to lie to stay out of jail?

Not only has Asp lied about who swung the bat, she also lied about knowing what she and Larue were setting out to do as they drove to Seybold’s property in 2008, he said.

On the stand, Asp said she didn’t even know where Larue was going that morning.

But she did testify she eventually needed to give Larue directions to the Ibex Valley cabin. She was the one to knock on Seybold’s door that morning.

Asp did these things because she knew if she didn’t, Larue wouldn’t be able to kill Seybold, he said.

Asp knew the cabin was difficult to get to because her mother, Jessie Asp, used to live in another cabin on the property.

She knew Seybold would open the door to her, thinking she was Jessie.

Helping Larue, knowing that he was going to kill Seybold, makes Asp just as guilty as if she swung the bat herself, he said.

It’s true, the motive for killing Seybold is fuzzy, said McWhinnie.

It may also be true that Asp was “half-buzzed” with alcohol that morning, as she testified she was.

You can still have a murder and you can still find guilt even when alcohol is involved, said McWhinnie.

With this in mind, the prosecution lawyer urged the jury to find Asp guilty of second-degree murder, a lesser charge than the first-degree murder she was originally charged with.

Justice Leigh Gower is scheduled to give the jury instructions on Tuesday, at which point they will be sequestered until they come to a verdict.

Larue, who is facing charges of first-degree murder and arson, is expected to stand trial next year.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read