Chad Tyler Beck on Monday admitted killing Cameron Sayine on Canada Day 2018 with an axe, but said he did not agree to the second-degree murder charge for which he is on trial.
The Fort Resolution man instead attempted to plead guilty to manslaughter in NWT Supreme Court, but that plea was rejected by the Crown. Instead, the scheduled 10-day murder trial will proceed.
“The Crown intends to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the charge of second-degree murder against the accused, Chad Beck,” said lead Crown prosecutor Jill Andrews.
The trial is set to consider the effect of alcohol on Beck’s state of mind and his defence of provocation. Sayine, 27, had assaulted Beck earlier the same day – July 1, 2018 – leaving him with a black eye and a cut over one eyebrow.
“Later that same day, Chad Beck struck Cameron Sayine several time with an axe … in the face, neck, and torso. Cameron Sayine died as a result of the axe strikes,” said Andrews, reading from an agreed statement of facts.
“The RCMP were called. Chad Beck remained at the scene and was arrested at approximately 10:58pm.”
The first Crown witness was one of two RCMP officers called to the scene, at a small house on the outskirts of the community of some 500 people.
Cpl Sam Munden said Beck was sitting on a swing outside, alone, as uniformed officers pulled up to the residence in a marked patrol car.
“He got up from the swing, got down to his knees and put his hands up, then down to the ground in what we call the prone position,” Munden testified, noting no commands were given by police.
“That is something that sometimes happens, but not regularly … this is not the type of behaviour we normally see.”
As the call to the residence was for a disturbance, Munden said he became suspicious and told his partner to remain with the man as he investigated the scene.
He soon discovered blood on a doorway leading into the kitchen, more blood on the floor inside, and more outside leading to deep grass.
“The grass was knee-height … there was like a path where something had gone through. I could see some blood on the grass and about 50 or 100 feet down from the house, through the grass, is when I found a deceased person,” Munden said.
He described finding a naked body with a gash on the forehead. There were no signs of life.
Trial to continue in February
Munden’s partner was to testify later on Monday, with members of the community set to take the witness stand over the next few days.
Beck, 30, was originally charged with first-degree murder.
The trial is scheduled for five days this week before continuing from February 15 to 19.
A number of exhibits will be introduced, including photo books for which the Crown is seeking a publication ban regarding “sensitive and graphic images.”
In the territory’s Legislative Assembly on October 26, 2018, then-Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Tom Beaulieu remembered Sayine.
Beaulieu recognized Sayine as the son of Raymond Giroux and the late Colleen Sayine, and grandson of a former member of the Legislative Assembly, Robert Sayine.