Darryl Sheepway confessed to me, says former co-worker at Whitehorse murder trial

The woman, who cannot be named because of a publication ban, says she was doing crack with Sheepway when he told her he shot Christopher Brisson.

A woman who says she regularly did crack cocaine with Sheepway testified at his trial Wednesday

The Yukon courthouse in Whitehorse. Darryl Sheepway is on trial this month for first degree murder, in the 2015 death of Christopher Brisson. Sheepway has pleaded not guilty. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Darryl Sheepway was a heavy user of crack cocaine, his former co-worker and fellow drug user testified at his murder trial in Whitehorse on Wednesday.

The woman also told the court that Sheepway confessed to her that he killed Christopher Brisson, and told her she was the first to know.

Sheepway, 39, is charged with first-degree murder in the 2015 death of Brisson in Whitehorse. He has admitted to fatally shooting Brisson, but has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

His former co-worker, who cannot be named because of a publication ban, told Yukon Supreme Court that she regularly did crack with Sheepway in the months leading up to Brisson's death.

She was also the second witness at the trial this week to not enter the courtroom, instead offering testimony by closed circuit television. In an affidavit submitted to presiding Justice Leigh Gower, she said she was scared of Sheepway and did not want to see him.

"Because of what he's put me through," she told the court, as part of her application to testify via closed circuit television.

"Because the last two years of my life have been horrible, horrendous, given me nightmares. I have PTSD. I'm scared of seeing him. I'm scared of not being able to give my best evidence, if I have to see him," she said.

Doing crack with Sheepway

While they were co-workers, the woman testified, she and Sheepway started doing drugs together. She said she wasn't sure when that relationship started, but it was sometime in 2015. 

Before his arrest, Sheepway led an active life. According to testimony heard this week in court, he was also a heavy drug user. (Yukon News)

They would meet a couple of times a week to do crack, she said, usually at her house.

Asked to describe Sheepway's drug use on a scale of zero to 10, with zero being a recreational user and 10 being a heavy user, the woman said Sheepway was "probably a nine or 10." 

The woman also testified that she struggled with addiction herself, and had been trying to kick drugs at the time. She was able to for periods, she said, but frequently relapsed. She told the court that Sheepway knew of her efforts to quit, but would "manipulate me into using drugs."     

She said she's now been clean since May 2016.

'He told me he shot him'

The woman told the court she couldn't remember exactly when Sheepway confessed the killing to her, but she admitted that she did not report it to police right away.

It was one evening when they were in her basement doing crack, she told the court. She said she sensed something was wrong, and asked Sheepway what was bothering him.

"He had killed his drug dealer, is what he said," the woman told the court.

"I remember asking him, 'what happened, was it an accident?' He said no. He told me he shot him."

Whitehorse RCMP block Miles Canyon Road in September 2015, after Christopher Brisson's body was found nearby. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

She said she believed Sheepway killed Brisson for "drugs and money."

After Sheepway's confession, she said she tried to "play it cool," and pretend not to be disturbed.

"I wanted to make it seem that I was not scared, that I was OK. I think I was in a little bit of shock too," she said. 

She said Sheepway told her that nobody else knew, and he didn't go into great detail about Brisson's death. She also said he showed no emotion as he talked.

"It was eerie. He was just kind of stone-faced," she said. 

Afterward, she "just didn't know what to do with the information."

Eventually — she said she's not sure exactly when — she told her addictions counsellor. The two then went directly to the RCMP station in Whitehorse and told the officer on duty. 

She felt he didn't take her seriously, she told the court, but sometime later police contacted her for a formal statement. 

Sheepway was ultimately charged in August 2016.

His former wife testified on Tuesday that Sheepway had also confessed to her on at least two occasions in the months leading up to his arrest.

The trial continues on Thursday. 

With files from Alexandra Byers