tp-cgy-watcheston

Christopher Watcheston, seen after his arrest in January 2008, will go on trial for first-degree murder in October. ((CBC))

A man waiting to stand trial for the killing of a 41-year-old mother of five near a Calgary C-Train station grew up in a family afflicted by violent deaths, CBC News has learned.

Christopher James Watcheston, 22, is charged with the first-degree murder of Arcelie Laoagan, whose badly beaten body was found near the Franklin LRT station in January 2008.

Last week, Watcheston's trial was set for Oct. 5.

CBC News has learned Watcheston is related to at least three people who were murder victims themselves. His family has been surrounded by violence for almost three decades.

In 1981, Watcheston's uncle Gerry Pelletier, then 20, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years in prison for stabbing a man to death on 8th Avenue in downtown Calgary.

In 1992, two men stabbed Pelletier to death outside a condominium complex in Bowness.

In 1990, another uncle of Watcheston's, Rod Pelletier, had his neck broken and was left paralyzed after an arrest by the Turner Valley RCMP.

A special constable was later acquitted of assault causing bodily harm.

Mother, cousin died violent deaths

In 2000, Watcheston's mother, Brenda Joan Watcheston, left behind seven children, including 14-year-old Christopher, when she was stabbed to death outside a downtown Regina hotel.

A woman pleaded guilty to manslaughter while a man pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon in Brenda Watcheston's death. The court heard it stemmed from an argument during a drug deal.

In 2002, Watcheston's cousin and the slain Gerry Pelletier's stepdaughter, Barbara Eyapaise, 24, disappeared. She was last seen leaving a Calgary bar with a man.

Her remains were found in the Bow River three months later near Carseland. In court, the Crown brought forward evidence that suggested Eyapaise had been sexually assaulted and strangled. However, no forensic evidence to confirm the assault or the cause of death was available as the victim had been in the river for some time.

The man who killed her was sentenced to life in prison.

According to family members, a teenage Eyapaise witnessed her stepfather's murder in 1992.

Watcheston's jury trial in October is expected to last three months. He also faces other outstanding criminal assault charges and remains in custody.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story reported that Barbara Eyapaise had been sexually assaulted and strangled before her death. In court, the Crown brought forward evidence that suggested Eyapaise had been sexually assaulted and strangled but no forensic evidence to confirm the assault or the cause of death was available as the victim had been in the Bow River for some time. Also, her remains were found three months after she was last seen, not four as was originally reported.
    Mar 11, 2010 10:00 PM MT
With files from Scott Dippel