One of two men accused of killing Chad Davis, whose body was found stuffed in a barrel and floating in a river, panicked upon learning the RCMP was going to search his house in connection with the case, the man's brother testified in Winnipeg on Monday.

Alex Brincheski told court that his older brother, Kristopher Brincheski, tried to remove anything that belonged to Davis from the house before officers arrived.

Kristopher Brincheski and Cory Tymchyshyn are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Davis, 22, whose remains were found wrapped in industrial-style plastic inside a barrel that surfaced on the Lee River northeast of Winnipeg, near Lac du Bonnet, in July 2008.

Chad Davis

The remains of Chad Davis, 22, were discovered inside a barrel that had been floating near the shoreline of the Lee River in July 2008. (Police handout)

Davis had been reported missing nearly six months earlier after being last seen on Prince Rupert Avenue in Winnipeg's East Kildonan area.

On Monday, Alex Brincheski testified that Kristopher was in a panicked mood when he heard the RCMP was about to search the house the brothers shared with Tymchyshyn and others.

"I was in shock," he told the court.

Later that day, the RCMP taped off the house and searched it in relation to Davis's death, court was told.

Numerous times during Monday's testimony, Alex Brincheski said he did not remember conversations with his brother or others from that day almost six years ago.

When the trial began last month, Crown prosecutors alleged that Davis was a cocaine dealer and was trying to collect on an $18,000 to $28,000 drug debt owed to him by Tymchyshyn.

On Monday, court heard that Alex Brincheski told police his brother told him some details about Davis's death — namely, that Kristopher Brincheski and Tymshyshyn were present, that someone led Davis into Tymshyshyn's Rupert Avenue garage, and that Davis was beaten to death, with his body put into a barrel with weights inside.

But Alex Brincheski later recanted his statement that his brother was at the scene of Davis's death, telling Crown prosecutors he made that part up because he wanted to get out of questioning.

"You didn't tell police the truth and instead implicated your brother in a homicide?" prosecutors asked Brincheski.

"Yes," he replied.

Brincheski had told police many times during questioning that he was telling the truth.

Alex Brincheski's testimony continues on Tuesday.