Chad Davis murder trial: the evidence in week three
[Reblogged from the Winnipeg Free Press 'Crime Scene' blog]
Two men on trial for a brutal crime: The alleged premeditated murder of a handsome young Winnipeg man, Chad Davis, who went missing for months and was found July 23, 2008 in a barrel pulled from the Lee River.
Corey Tymchyshyn, 37, and Kristopher Brincheski, 31, are accused and presumed innocent.
This is a comprehensive recap of the second week of evidence heard in this complex and unusual case.
Allegations made in the Crown’s opening argument can be found here [required reading, really].
[Note about the phone record evidence: Pictured this week is a timeline chart provided by the Crown to the jury as created by an RCMP intelligence analyst at the direction of the Crown. When considering this evidence, the timeline is a helpful guide to what the Crown deemed relevant to the Davis investigation, but is not a comprehensive listing of all the cellphone activity in the timeframe described. A careful reading of the cross-examination of the RCMP analystbears this out. I have truncated her direct testimony to some degree because it was so detailed and referred to events already mapped out on the chart provided.]
- 55 years old, a carpenter and “jack of all trades”
- In 2012, was living at 1091 Manitoba Ave.
- Usually drank every day after work.
- Five to six beers was his normal routine.
- “No it doesn’t” affect his memory.
- “I had a drinking problem” [in the past]
- “I drink very little now.”
- After November 2012, he got it in hand.
- “A bit nervous” at testifying in court, before a jury.
- Has 1999 conviction for driving over .08
- Has April 2000 conviction for assault causing bodily harm and fail to comply with undertaking.
- Has two kids, including a daughter, CH
- In Spring 2012, wanted to sell a mitre saw, daughter helped him put ad on Kijiji.
- “Corey” (Tymchyshyn) was interested, he phoned, came down to look at it.
- That turned into a 1.5-2 hour conversation, talked about construction.
- Tymchyshyn seemed interested in hiring him, sold him saw, went to work for him three weeks later.
- He only learned Tymchyshyn’s last name later on.
- Early June 2012, started working for him, home exteriors, “all over Winnipeg,” and some jobs outside.
- Hours varied from 8 to 12-14 a day.
- He didn’t have car nor driver’s licence. Tymchyshyn picked him up and drove him home.
- Usually the two were by themselves in the morning, sometimes one other worker. Same at night.
- He was alone with Tymchyshyn for 45 mins to an hour each working day. They’d talk, have coffee in the car.
- Tymchyshyn mentioned things, doing “grow-ops” and what he had done to a person.
- “He had shot a person,” put him in a barrel, put him in a river by a cottage.
- “This person was stealing from him.”
- No name. “All’s he mentioned it was his friend.”
- Didn’t believe him at first, started to later “because of the threats that were coming to me.”
- He understood Tymchyshyn to be on bail – he had a “probation officer” that came to a work site.
- “That made me start to believe what he had told me.”
- Says he was in shock. “I didn’t believe it at first and then it was coming true.”
- On a couple of occasions, his own employees disclosed to him they had committed murders.
- After working with Tymchyshyn for a few months, plan was made to “start a grow-op” at Manitoba Ave. home.
- “Bugging me to do it, to do it – I know he needed money.” He bother him several times a day.
- Also promised was work on a machinery business, meaning “steady employment.”
- Tymchyshyn said Hallson would get money on the second round of growing.
- The first round’s take would go to his lawyer to pay her, Tymchyshyn told him.
- They didn’t talk about what he’d get.
- The house was a rental.
- He built “couple of rooms” with walls in basement, walled off furnace and laundry area.
- Used studs and OSB “plywood” to wall them off.
- Also purchased was “white poly” to line the walls and floors and ceiling.
- “For the heat, the light – to make sure it was uniform in the room.”
- “I know it was for light.”
- It was Tymchyshyn who handled the special lights.
- A door in wall stopped people from seeing inside.
- “The poly came up the door too.”
- “They were special, special lights, they had big bulbs, sort of a shield over them”
- They gave off a bluish or pinkish glow.
- “There was 100 plants brought in” by Tymchyshyn.
- Tymchyshyn had a key to the house.
- “I was there at night, but Corey looked after the plants.”
[Justice Brenda Keyser issues "special instruction" to jury at this point, saying they had to decide for themselves if Tymchyshyn actually made those comments, to use common sense to do this. They are not to apply any findings from this evidence towards Brincheski. Also, the evidence is only being presented to give them context, and is not to be used by them to imply that Tymchyshyn "is the sort of person" who would commit the crime he's charged with because of his involvement in the grow as alleged.]
- His daughter, CH, would drop by sometimes, to do laundry for him.
- “She seen what was going on,” in the basement.
- “She was upset about it.”
- Says his girlfriend’s name was “Mary Jane,” she was staying with him.
- Sometimes he’d have people over to socialize, to party.
- There was a confrontation with Tymchyshyn regarding this activity.
- Tymchyshyn became “very upset.”
- “My attitude changed. I wanted out. Wanted nothing to do with it no more.”
- In Nov. 2012 – CH shows up at his house. “She was very upset. She was crying.”
- They talked about the grow op.
- At first, they were alone, but “Mary Jane” was upstairs.
- Tymchyshyn then became involved and the confrontation “evolved,” voices were raised, tempers
- Tymchyshyn said “I had to leave the house,” hand over keys and cellphone. Warned to not go to police.
- “He said that he shot his friend and put him in a barrel, so he said I’d end up in the same way,”
- Said he had body bags in his truck. “Garbage bags to dispose of the body,
- He left the house that night.
- He was eventually charged in connection with the grow op.
- There’s no deal with federal or provincial Crown attorneys for his testimony.
- Confirms wanted to sell his saw, daughter put ad online, Tymchyshyn responded.
- Yes, they spoke for 1-1.5 hours after meeting each other.
- The delay in starting work for Tymchyshyn was that he had jobs of his own to finish up.
- Working for Tymchyshyn would provide “steady employment.”
- He had never met Tymchyshyn before. “Seemed like a nice guy,” he agrees.
- No concerns at that time about him.
- The times they worked at jobs varied.
- There were two occasions that Tymchyshyn talked about a barrel.
- He can’t say what led to that conversation. “Just came up. Not sure how it started.”
- Tymchyshyn “talked a lot.”
- Their in -car conversations were mostly friendly, sometimes not.
- The first ‘barrel’ conversation “just came about” at a time when problems with him hadn’t started.
- It was before the grow-op.
- Agrees second confrontation was in presence of daughter, that it was unpleasant and angry, “tempers flared.”
- He was angry. Tymchyshyn was angry.
- Repeats how he was told he’d end up in a barrel like “his friend.”
- He left the house, and yes, that was an indication of fear. He lost weight because of the stress of the whole situation.
- “I had to leave.”
- Says he’s had a “significant change” in his drinking.
- Would not agree he’s a “chronic alcoholic.”
- In earlier testimony agrees he said “a few beers” to him was 10, but that doesn’t make him pass out.
- Yes, once in a while had a beer before work in the morning. “Not everyday, not all the time.”
- It’s not fair to say he went on drinking binges.
- No, the people he invited to the house were not “horrible people.”
- “People drank – I don’t know what drugs they did.” [People at the house he'd invite over.]
- “I’m responsible when I’m drinking, yes.”
- Says he does not exaggerate or lie. “No I don’t.”
- Yes, it wasn’t just a saw he was selling online, there were other items too, including a tool rack and a pool table.
- No, he doesn’t think “crazy thought” that Tymchyshyn hunted him down on Kijiji.
- On Nov. 2, 2012, he gave two statements, and yes, testified at a preliminary hearing in Feb. 2013.
- Doesn’t recall telling cops in first statement he was pissed off at the amount of money Tymchyshyn said he was
- The amount he made with Tymchyshyn’s employment varied.
- It’s possible Tymchyshyn made a lot of money every day – depends on the job.
- Says he used to own a farm but wound up penniless on the streets. The $250,000 property was “tied up in the
- Yes, he told police he’s personally fought Hells Angels and Zig Zag Crew members, and one time, a fight with a
- 300 pound Mad Cowz member left him with a split nose.
- Says “no” when asked sarcastically if he’s also fought the Indian Posse.
- Tymchyshyn knew of his son and daughter.
- No, “not very much” did Tymchyshyn discuss his personal affairs.
- He knew Tymchyshyn was on charge for murder because Tymchyshyn told him, plus the curfew he was on and the probation officer turning up.
- “I wasn’t a drunk.”
- Yes, Tymchyshyn said the shooting he did happened in the country. The buddy was stealing crop in the country and got shot with a rifle. “He said he shot him.”
- Yes, it was months before talking to police that Tymchyshyn said this.
- “I’m not sure how long I worked for him before he told me (first disclosure.)
- “He told other people” as well, including Vern. “Vern knew about it, yes.”
- He gave cops Vern’s name so they could follow up.
- “His wife’s name was Nepinak – she was in a landfill somewhere.”
- He doesn’t remember names of his own employees who disclosed to him they had murdered.
- That’s because he’s had “so many” people work for him over the years.
Defence [Campbell] – so he tells you he killed the last guy who did a grow op with him and you decide to do a grow-op with him?
- Yes, because Tymchyshyn needed money, that he could help him get tools.
- That $20,000 would be coming down the pipe from a future harvest.
- “I’m not getting no deals.”
- Yes, he asked police at first for a deal but they refused, said they couldn’t.
- He didn’t recall telling police he was crazy and that his testimony wouldn’t stand up in court.
- Shown police statement, he says that comment was just “joking around” “a sense of humour.”
- “All the things that went on that day, was just joking around.”
- “It wasn’t something serious.”
- The cop was also laughing with him.
- “Very nervous.”
- Having to testify has been on her mind.
- She has no criminal record.
- Allan Hallson is her dad.
- In Spring 2012, helped him put ads online to sell things. “He can’t operate a computer.”
- Believes he ended up selling most of his stuff.
- He was working with Tymchyshyn after the ads were posted, doing “general contracting” construction.
- Met Tymchyshyn for first time at father’s Manitoba Avenue home.
- It varied how often she’d visit there. She did his laundry when his washer broke.
- Her first impression of Tymchyshyn was that he “seemed like a decent guy – nice. He always helped my dad out.”
- Tymchyshyn drove him to work.
- Her dad tells stories that may not be true.
- “He likes to exaggerate the truth,” but isn’t worried about him being a “chronic liar.”
- At Manitoba Ave. home, saw a light “a UV light .. like a purplish blue light … there was walls built – new walls
- She thought it was a grow op, “later on” seeing plants. She confronted her father, was “displeased” and told him this.
- She once saw Tymchyshyn at the house and the grow-op came up.
[Justice Keyser issues yet another warning to the jury at this time, basically as noted earlier, above.]
- In summer or fall 2012, she went to Junior’s restaurant to meet Tymchyshyn.
- “Corey asked me to meet him.”
- She had his number and he hears in case her dad couldn’t be reached.
- She texted him to se if he’d heard from dad, he called her back.
- “He said my dad was in a lot of trouble.”
- They set the meet at a McDonalds, but then moved it to Juniors on McPhillips.
- “He had asked me if I had ever googled him.”
- She hadn’t – didn’t know how to spell his last name.
- The restaurant was “fairly empty,” nobody around their booth to overhear.
- He seemed “kind of anxious and upset.”
- “He was upset that my dad was telling too many people about the grow op.”
- They talked for maybe an hour about a few things.
- “He told me the last person that fucked up ended up in a barrel.”
- She didn’t know who he was referring to. It was clear to her that’s what he said.
- “It was an odd thing to say. It was a very definite statement.”
- She saw the comment being made in relation to too many people finding out about the grow-op.
- He said dad wasn’t doing a good job at the grow op.
- She texted him, he provided last name so she googled him.
- After Juniors, they went to Manitoba Avenue, she got a chance to talk with dad first.
- She then saw a confrontation between Tymchyshyn and her dad.
- Her dad left the house “at the direction of” Tymchyshyn.
- She called a friend who put her in touch with RCMP. On Oct. 29, 2012 she met with them.
- The comments about the barrel and their import: “I felt our lives were in danger.”
- Confirms her initial impression was Tymchyshyn was decent guy.
- Was “late fall” when that impression changed.
- Was concerned enough about events that she called RCMP.
- It was the barrel comment that triggered in her a need to call police.
- “I felt our lives were in danger.”
- Yes, she told RCMP she felt dad was “a major alcoholic” at the time.
- Yes, told them he liked to exaggerate stories.
- Yes, told them he goes on drinking binges and isn’t always responsible when he drinks.
- Yes, told them he was always hard up for money.
- Yes, told them that he said “$20,000 in two months sounds pretty good to me,” to her.
- Yes, he was hanging with some pretty horrible people at this time.
- Yes, those people used cocaine and drank.
- Yes, it was a matter of weeks between seeing the grow op and going to police.
- Yes, part of reason Tymchyshyn was upset was her dad was showing other people the grow-op.
A female juror is excused from duty for a medical issue. The panel is now standing at five men and five women. Jurors are informed of the woman’s dismissal on the record.
PHONE RECORD EVIDENCE PUT BEFORE JURY through:
David Bmak of Rogers Communications
Don Calpito of Telus
Note: the evidence of these gentlemen was largely administrative and foundational to inform jury generally regarding cellular communications, cell towers, SMS messaging.
Through them, jurors were provided with the phone records of the Rogers BlackBerry believed to be used by Chad Davis and the Telus records of the cellphone believed to be used by Corey Tymchyshyn between Feb. 1 and Feb. 23, 2008.
It’s important to note: It’s impossible to really tell if a call or text these phones produced was actually made by the person the device is linked to. For example, we see through coming evidence that appears George Lancaster [see prior evidence summary] used Tymchyshyn’s device on the afternoon of Feb. 6, 2008 to telephone his ex wife and his bank.
Notable, from Calpito’s evidence:
- Telus’s phone records: “As far as I’m aware, they’re extremely accurate.”
- There was no Telus service available in Lac du Bonnet in 2008.
- A criminal intelligence analyst with RCMP D Division
- Was tasked by serious crime unit officers with sifting through “overwhelming” amount of phone data in the case.
- Has bachelor’s degree in criminology, an MA in sociology, needs dissertation to finish PhD.
- Analysed records from Davis’s blackberry cellphone 204-296-6036.
- Provided a listing of cellphone tower sites.
- 995-8224 was the number associated to Tymchyshyn.
- She prepared a “timeline” chart [see photos] on direction of the Crown, for the jury.
- The range of the chart is from Feb. 4-7, 2008, they don’t capture all calls or tower hits or texts, only select “notations” from that time period.
- She explains timeline chart, how the lines move horizontally through time.
- She does not know who was actually using the devices, only that raw data shows contact from number to number.
[Defer to chart photographs to understand this - she takes jury through specific items on timeline.]
February 6, 2008, select call records show (times reflect when call hit a cell tower)
(Key: DS Cell/Landline = Brincheski’s wife’s landline, cell; CT = Tymchyshyn cell; CD = Davis cell)
- An incoming call from DS landline to to CT at 8:30 a.m., 28 seconds duration.
- Outgoing from CT to 204-831-658# at 10:26:38 for 13 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT to CD 10:27:20, 14 seconds.
- Incoming to CT’s phone from 204-831-658#, 327 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT to DS landline 10:33:44, 24 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT to CD 10:50:59, 31 seconds.
- TEXT: sent from CT to CD at 10:56:25 – “call me before you come, Kirk mite come by before you.”
- Outgoing from CT to CD at 11:05:55, 31 seconds.
- TEXT from CT to CD at 11:07:08 – “Bring a splif.”
- TEXT from CT to CD at 11:09:49 – “don’t bring poop here.”
- Incoming from CD to CT at 11:18:49, 59 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT to DS cell 11:33:40, 40 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT to CD at 12:21:06, 8 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT to CD at 12:26:51, 24 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT to DS cell 12:27:22, 10 seconds.
- TEXT from CD’s cell hits a tower at 650 Raleigh St. at 12:41:45 (content unavailable)
- “All further calls go directly to voice mail” – regarding CD’s cell.
- From Feb. 3 to this date, 16 calls of CD went to voicemail. After this, all 186 calls go to voicemail.
- “After this day, all calls go directly to voicemail.”
- CD’s phone was never picked up again after 12:26:51
- “There was no outgoing activity off that device after that time.”
- TEXT from CT to DS cell at 12:43:55 – “we will be in soon.”
- TEXT from CT to 204-810-2081 – “he’s wearing a hat don’t miss.”
- DS Cell number was 204-801-2081.
- The 810 number was never dialled by CT’s phone before or after this date. It was the only time the 810 number came up in the data she had.
- Outgoing from CT at 13:13:08 to S. Lancaster, 23 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT at 13:19:10 to Assiniboine Credit Union, 88 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT at 13:31:54 to Assinibojne Credit Union, 62 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT at 13:36:38 to S. Lancaster, 28 seconds.
- Incoming to CT from DS Cell at 13:47:13, 9 seconds.
- Outgoing from CT to ? at 14:12:39, 47 seconds
- Outgoing from CT to ? at 14:17:29, 21 seconds
- Outgoing from CT to DS cell at 14:2?, 18 seconds.
- TEXT outgoing from CT at 16:23:33 – “like my underwear.”
- TEXT into CD’s phone at 19:14:32 – hits off a tower in Selkirk/St. Andrews area.
- There are no other calls on CT’s phone between 15:07 and 17:48
- “There are no phone calls” – for three hours and 24 minutes there’s no activity with CT’s phone.
- At 19:51, 53 and 55 three calls totalling 170 seconds hit off tower at 311 Partridge St.
- At 19:56 and 19:58, two calls totalling 67 seconds go in to CT cell off King Edward and Notre Dame tower.
(it goes on like this for a while – see Crown timeline)
- On Feb. 7 at 13:24 a TEXT from CT states: “not sure bro, all I know is he need me to pick him up in a few days.”
- On Feb. 7 incoming TEXT from woman, TG to CT at 22:29 states: “Hey I talked to Courtney, and I just played dumb to everything. She doesn’t think I have your new number either, so if anything’s said, just pretend we haven’t talked.”
- CD’s phone never gets a call from DS landline or cell in the records Tillotson had.
Court adjourns to deal with an issue with the cell-tower map
DAY 13 – Court not sitting
Tillotson, direct continued.
- Takes jurors through the cell tower map [see photo]
- States it’s “absolutely not” easy to make changes to the map because of the complexity of how data compiled.
- Lawyers for Brincheski introduce their own chart of phone records.
- Agrees there’s a lot of numbers and names not included on the Crown’s timeline.
- 14 numbers are listed off, two she was unable to confirm subscriber information for after checking RCMP database records. Checking the subscriber information was not part of what she was tasked with.
- “Fair to say” it’s difficult to just look at the data and sort it all out.
- “I’ve never been asked to do a full call analysis on this file.”
- Was provided phone numbers of interest and asked to plot them on the timeline.
- Questioned about the “various numbers” line on the chart, asked why it was done this way.
- Without it: “The chart would have gone on to infinity.”
- The 810 (“don’t miss”) text was left hanging on the timeline because it was so similar in nature to the 801 number.
- She can’t recall being asked to look for subscriber information for the 810 number.
- There’s an error with one of the numbers for the Super 8 motel on the chart.
- Between 9:44:58 on Feb. 6 and 10:21:38, CT’s phone makes 8 calls to various people/voicemail that aren’t on the chart.
- There’s discrepancies in the “duration” of calls between CD and CT records.
- This is because outgoing calls start clocking when ringing starts on other end, clock on other end when answered.
- (For example, CT’s records show a call to CD at 11:05:55 that lasted 31 seconds, while CD’s records show it was a 6-second call that went to voicemail.)
- CT’s records were used for the timeline for continuity “across the board.”
- Davis’s records show he made/received a number of calls that morning not on the timeline, including to RMG at 12:05:41 and five calls to/from SW between 11:39:33 and 12:21:50.
- She wasn’t asked to add those on the timeline.
- “That’s not a number I was provided” (SW’s).
- There’s an instance on chart where number for S. Lancaster is incorrect by one digit.
- She was only provided “very limited” information about the RCMP investigation, attended briefings. Did not have access to witness or other statements.
- On the (suspicious?) texts that were included on the timeline: “They stood out as being unusual.”
- There were several calls between CT and KZ that day that weren’t mapped.
- This includes a 74-second call at 11:27:40 and another at 11:42:43
- No, these calls were not included on the timeline meant to assist the jury.
- “The request from the investigators at the time was very limited and specific.”
- A call from AB at 21:04:20 should have been mapped to the “various calls” line, not to DS cell as the timeline indicates.
- For Feb 4, CT’s device got/sent 37 total calls and 4 texts were sent. On the chart only three of the calls were plotted, and no texts.
- For Feb. 5, CT’s device got/sent 23 total calls and 15 total texts, 5 calls were plotted and one text for the timeline.
- On Feb. 6, CT’s device got/sent 69 calls total and 12 texts.