A Yukon family packed into a Whitehorse courtroom today to watch a B.C. man plead guilty to second degree murder for killing their relative.

Gordon Tubman's body was found in the burned-out remains of his trailer in August 2010.

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The body of Gordon Craig Tubman, 41, was found in a fire that destroyed the construction trailer he was living in. Alexander Dennis has pleaded guilty to second degree murder in Tubman's death. (RCMP)

The court was told Alexander Dennis was just two months past his 18th birthday and had just moved to Whitehorse to get away from his involvement in gangs and drug trafficking in B.C. when he met Gordon Tubman, 41.

The two men were drinking and doing cocaine together at Tubman's trailer outside of Whitehorse. They were shooting bottles with Tubman's rifle and when they went back inside Dennis used that rifle and shot Tubman in the face at close range.

Dennis had told another man he was going to do it and he later told his girlfriend he did it just to find out what it would be like to kill someone.

His lawyer told the judge Dennis was in trouble for stealing money from a gang and he believed the gang was going to come after him and he wanted to find out if would be capable of killing first if the gang came to kill him.

More than a dozen of Tubman's friends and family filled the court. They also read emotional victim impact statements.

They talked about how efforts to cover up the murder by burning the trailer robbed them of memories.  They spoke about sifting through the ashes of Tubman's trailer on their hands and knees looking for mementos.  

Dennis told the family he just wants to own up. He apologized, but said he knows an apology won't do anyone any good.

Dennis's lawyer and the Crown attorney have put a joint submission to the judge asking for Dennis to serve a minimum of 12 years before being considered eligible for parole. 

He will be back in court on March 14 to be sentenced for murder.