Man admitted shooting Christopher Brisson and dumping body, Whitehorse murder trial hears

The trial for Darryl Steven Sheepway, charged with murder in the 2015 death of Christopher Brisson, began Monday in Whitehorse. Sheepway has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder.

But Darryl Steven Sheepway has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in 2015 death

Whitehorse RCMP block Miles Canyon Road while searching for clues into the death of Christopher Brisson in 2015. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

The man on trial for murder in the 2015 death of Christopher Brisson has admitted he shot Brisson dead at a rendezvous to buy crack cocaine, and later dumped the body down a hill near Miles Canyon in Whitehorse.

But 39-year-old Darryl Steven Sheepway has pleaded not guilty to the charge of first degree murder. His trial began Monday in Yukon Supreme Court, before Justice Leigh Gower. There is no jury.

Brisson's body was found in the Miles Canyon area on Sept. 1, 2015, three days after his family reported him missing. Sheepway was charged almost a year later, in August 2016.

Christopher Brisson, 25, was reported missing on Aug. 29, 2015. His body was found three days later. (Facebook)

The trial began Monday with Crown prosecutors presenting an agreed statement of facts, detailing how Sheepway had met with Brisson to secure some crack cocaine, and ended up killing him.

Court also watched a three-hour video, made in October 2016 after Sheepway had confessed to the killing and had been charged. In the video, he works with RCMP investigators to re-enact exactly what happened immediately before and after Brisson was killed.

The video was presented as evidence by Crown prosecutors.

In the video, Sheepway takes officers to the site on McLean Lake Road in Whitehorse, and later to Miles Canyon, all the while describing in detail what he remembered about the incident.

He explained to police that he had been planning to kill himself that day, because of marital troubles. He had been a heavy user of crack cocaine in the weeks before the incident, and said he was meeting Brisson daily to buy drugs.

Sheepway said when he met with Brisson on Aug. 28, 2015 on McLean Lake Road, he was desperate for more drugs. He had no money, though.

Instead, he told police, he had a pump-action shotgun.

He also told police he had been steadily consuming drugs since the day before.

The rendezvous

Sheepway said he arrived at the rendezvous with the intention of robbing Brisson. When Brisson pulled up alongside Sheepway, they spoke to each other through their driver's side windows, which were less than a foot apart.

Sheepway said he pointed the shotgun and demanded Brisson's drugs, but Brisson grabbed the gun and a struggle ensued. Sheepway told police that as the men wrestled over the weapon, two shots went off accidentally, knocking out windows in Brisson's truck.

Brisson drove ahead a bit, and Sheepway said that's when he leaned out of his truck and shot towards Brisson's rear window.

Brisson's truck then reversed away from Sheepway. The truck went around a bend and crashed off the road, Sheepway explained.

Sheepway said he followed and found Brisson's body on the ground outside his truck. Sheepway took money and crack from Brisson's pockets, then left the body and drove away.

'Oh my God, I just killed someone'

He told police he then did more drugs, went home and changed his clothes.

"Oh my God, I just killed someone" he recalled thinking to himself.

He told police he then went back to the site, more than an hour later. He said he was hoping to find the body still there, and he did.

Sheepway explained how he picked up the spent shotgun shells, and loaded Brisson's body into the back of his truck. He said he then drove to Miles Canyon, intending to dump the body into the Yukon River.

In a videotaped confession, Darryl Sheepway told police he drove to Miles Canyon Road with Brisson's body in the back of his truck. (Google)

Instead, he said he saw people walking near the canyon, so he simply backed his truck to the edge of the road, opened his tailgate, and pushed the body out and down a hill.

He told police he then washed his truck at a car wash, and went to the Canada Games Centre where he cleaned some blood off of his clothes, and dumped the three used shotgun shells into a garbage can.

Sheepway said he later picked up his daughter, and went home to feed her dinner.

A day or two later, Sheepway went back to Miles Canyon, this time with his wife and kids. He told police he was curious to see whether there was any activity where he had dumped the body. He didn't see anything.

He said he took a photo of his family on the suspension bridge, then they left. 

Drug abuse

Brisson's body was found by a mushroom picker, three days after the killing. Police said immediately that the death was considered suspicious.

Meanwhile, Sheepway continued to struggle with drug abuse, and left Yukon to seek treatment in Ontario.

According to the agreed statement of facts, Sheepway's wife told RCMP in May that Sheepway had talked to her on the phone, threatened to commit suicide, and admitted to killing Brisson.

RCMP then found Sheepway at a house in Prince George, B.C. and arrested him under the Mental Health Act. He later confessed to RCMP.

The trial has been scheduled for four weeks.

With files from Alexandra Byers