One of two men accused of killing Chad Davis, whose body was found stuffed in a barrel and floating in a Manitoba river, has told a Winnipeg court that his co-accused killed Davis.

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)

Cory Tymchyshyn testified Tuesday morning he found Davis dead in his garage on Prince Rupert Avenue while Kristopher Brincheski, his co-accused, was crying and hysterical.

Tymchyshyn and Brincheski 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, Man., in July 2008.

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

As the trial got underway, court heard that Davis was a cocaine dealer who was trying to collect on an outstanding debt from Tymchyshyn.

On Tuesday, Tymchyshyn testified that Davis was collecting on a $10,000 debt and  described him as a tough, violent man.

"I wouldn't want to be on the debt-collecting side," Tymchyshyn told the court. "You didn't want to cross that guy." 

Struck with hammer

Tymchyshyn said he entered the garage, which housed a grow operation, and saw Davis on the ground, not moving, with blood on his face.

"It was bad," Tymchyshyn said.

According to Tymchyshyn, Brincheski told him that Davis had come in asking about the money, and he pulled out a nine-millimetre Glock pistol and pistol-whipped Brincheski.

Barrel

The remains of Chad Davis were found in this barrel, pulled from the Lee River near Lac du Bonnet in 2008. The photo is part of a series shown to jurors at the trial. (CBC)

Brincheski grabbed a hammer while Davis was on top of him and hit him a few times, Tymchyshyn told the court.

Tymchyshyn told court he then bought a plastic barrel from a local container store, and he and Brincheski wrapped Davis's body in plastic, tied him up, and threw the barrel off a bridge.

The pair put the barrel inside Davis's Jeep and drilled holes in the barrel to let the water in before they threw it off a bridge, Tymchyshyn said.

Two men who were out fixing a dock in cottage country discovered Davis’s remains.

They told CBC News at the time that the barrel had been floating in the Lee River for a couple of weeks before they decided to retrieve it and pry it open.

After making the horrific discovery, they immediately called RCMP.

Brincheski's brother, Alex Brincheski, testified last week that Kristopher was in a panicked mood when he heard the RCMP was about to search his house in connection with Davis's death.

Court also 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 garage, and that Davis was beaten to death, with his body put into a barrel with weights inside.

But later, in a letter to his brother's lawyer, Alex Brincheski recanted the part of his statement in which he said his brother was at the scene of Davis's death.

In previous testimony, Brincheski said he lied about some details about his brother told him in order to get out of interrogation faster.

With files from the CBC's Allison Devereaux