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Danny Tokarchuk

Tokarchuk found guilty
Jury rejects self-defence argument in murder of
Hells Angels associate

Daniel Tokarchuk committed murder when he shot and killed Hells Angels associate Trevor Savoie on a River Heights street, a jury ruled yesterday.

Tokarchuk had argued he killed Savoie in self defence.

Kevin Tokarchuk

The case is believed to have triggered the revenge killing of his innocent brother, Kevin Tokarchuk (right), which resulted in controversy within the police service.

At least two of the jurors, both female, were visibly upset and crying as the foreman read the guilty verdict 26 hours after deliberations began. Savoie's family, including his mother, brother, sister and former girlfriend, were also wiping back tears.

Tokarchuk, 30, showed no emotion, staring blankly ahead as he was convicted of second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.

Wearing a black suit, the shackled Tokarchuk didn't even make eye contact with his mother, Diane, who sat quietly alone in the back of the crowded courtroom. She showed no reaction at any point during the two-week trial, even when a chilling police video of her yet-to-be murdered son, Kevin, was played for jurors.

"She's hurting. She's lost two boys now," defence lawyer Greg Brodsky told the Free Press outside court.

His client will return to court Dec. 16 for the sentencing hearing.

Jurors had the option yesterday to recommend that Tokarchuk's parole eligibility be raised to anywhere from 11 to 25 years, but unanimously decided to keep it at the minimum 10.

Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey will have the final say when she hands down the sentence.

"It's clear the jury didn't like doing what they did," Brodsky said of the visible show of emotion.

"They all knew his brother was executed. But they obviously decided this was the verdict they had to have based on the instructions from the judge."

No arrests have been made in Kevin's killing, which occurred in the garage behind the family's home.

Several sources have told the Free Press a potential suspect was identified, but has since died of a suspected drug overdose. The man was an associate of the Hells Angels.

Just days before Daniel Tokarchuk's trial began, three Winnipeg police officers were re-assigned to administrative duties as the fallout continued over Kevin's murder.

Police Chief Jack Ewatski has refused to comment, citing an ongoing arbitration hearing set to resume Jan. 17.

Six Winnipeg police officers were initially removed from the job in the summer of 2003 amidst allegations that members of the force ignored warnings that Kevin was targeted for death, possibly as part of a gang revenge plot.

The officers were all returned to different duties months later after an independent report recommended no criminal charges be laid against them.

They have since filed a grievance, claiming they were wrongly placed on paid leave by Ewatski and that their careers and personal lives have suffered because of it. They want a public apology from Ewatski and payment of lost overtime and shift premiums.

A public arbitration hearing examining the action taken against the officers was delayed Aug. 31 when Ewatski promised to turn over new material to the police union just moments before he was set to testify.

Brodsky said yesterday he will likely be appealing the guilty verdict against Daniel Tokarchuk, based largely on the instructions McKelvey gave to jurors Monday evening in response to a pivotal question.

McKelvey told jurors in her charge that one of the factors to consider on the issue of self-defence is whether Tokarchuk thought he was about to be unlawfully assaulted, either by Savoie's words or actions.

The jury wanted to know the full definition of the word "about" as it applied to her instructions.

Brodsky believed they should have been told there was no time limit or urgency as to when Tokarchuk had to feel threatened.

"If you think you're in danger and there's no escape, you don't have to wait for the lifting of the knife of the pointing of the barrel to react," he said.

Crown attorney Bob Morrison vehemently disagreed, saying an assault must be on the verge of happening.

"According to (Brodsky's definition), if you get threatened by a Hells Angels, you can just go get a gun and kill one," he said.

"If Mr. Tokarchuk was in danger and going to be harmed even a day later, that's not enough."

McKelvey finally settled on the standard Oxford's dictionary definition, telling jurors the assault doesn't have to be imminent, "although imminent is a factor they may consider."

Tokarchuk admitted he shot Savoie but claims he had no other choice to protect himself and his family.

Tokarchuk was selling drugs for Savoie, but began using the product and fell nearly $15,000 in debt. Savoie had come looking for Tokarchuk several days before the murder, speaking with his brother, Kevin. Savoie brought along his friend, Tyler Cascisa, who had been convicted of killing one of Kevin's friends years earlier.

In a videotaped statement prior to his death, Kevin Tokarchuk told police Savoie even mentioned speaking to their mother if Daniel -- who was hiding out in Ontario -- didn't surface soon.

Brodsky claimed Savoie's actions were meant to intimidate Tokarchuk and left him fearing for his life. He also suggested other bikers may have been at the scene, based on testimony from a witness he called last week.

Carol Bass-Amos told court she saw two men wearing black leather jackets with a red winged logo on the back, carrying guns and standing over Savoie's dead body seconds after the shooting. She said three other men appeared to be standing nearby.

Morrison described the evidence of Bass-Amos as "sad, pathetic and disturbed."

Tokarchuk had just returned the night of the killing from Ontario, where he had been hiding out to avoid facing Savoie.

In a police interview, Tokarchuk explained how he felt there was no choice but to kill Savoie.

Savoie threatened to beat him with a golf club if he didn't repay the drug debt immediately, said Tokarchuk. Savoie was also angry because Tokarchuk had lied to him about not being off drugs.

"He kept saying you had your chance, you had your chance. The way he was saying it made me very nervous," he said.

"I could see he was going to do something crazy because of the look on his face."

Tokarchuk said he heard Savoie pick something "metallic" up and believed it was a pipe. He also said he feared Savoie had a gun in his pocket.

"I pulled out my gun and just pulled the trigger. Then I just ran," he said.

Tokarchuk denied picking the shell casings up from the scene, and couldn't explain why police never found them.

Police also found no weapons on Savoie or near the scene, where he collapsed and died after being shot three times -- including one bullet straight through the heart.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't want any of this to happen. I was just scared about my family," Tokarchuk said at one point in the interview while burying his head in his hands.


Tears greet verdict
Tokarchuk convicted of murder

At least three jurors appeared to be crying yesterday as they returned a guilty verdict to the killer of Zig Zag Crew member Trevor Savoie. Daniel Tokarchuk, 31, was convicted of second-degree murder in the May 12, 2002, shooting death of 25-year-old Savoie in River Heights. Savoie had four bullet wounds, including one through his heart.

Tokarchuk faces life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years. The judge could extend the period he must serve before being eligible for parole at his sentencing hearing Dec. 16.

Tokarchuk was selling cocaine for Savoie and owed him a $15,000 drug debt. He racked up the debt after becoming addicted to the drug.

Savoie was a member of the Zig Zag Crew, a puppet club of the Hells Angels.

Tokarchuk admitted to killing Savoie but claimed it was in self-defence out of fear for his life because he owed him money. In a videotaped statement to police, Tokarchuk said he shot Savoie after Savoie threatened to beat him with a pole.

"Oh, Trevor, Trevor. Why did you do that ... Why did it happen," Tokarchuk said on the videotape.

During the trial, defence lawyer Greg Brodsky focused on the issue of self-defence, but the jury ultimately rejected it.

"Any vulnerable person ... knows when he's in danger. He knows that. You don't have to wait till a gun is staring you in the face or a knife is over your head. What the jury thought about that, I don't know," Brodsky said after the trial.

Some jurors had red noses and some appeared to cry quietly as they returned their verdict at 3 p.m. yesterday.

Because of the display of emotion, Brodsky asked to have the jurors polled. Each member stood and declared Tokarchuk guilty.

Savoie's mother and sister began to cry as the verdict was read. They declined to talk about the jury's decision.

Tokarchuk, dressed in a black suit, sat expressionless in the prisoner's box throughout the reading of the verdict.

Tokarchuk's mother, Diane, who had been in court since the trial began on Nov. 3, was not present for the verdict. She arrived after and declined to discuss the decision. Brodsky said Diane Tokarchuk was upset about the trial's outcome.

"She lost one son, Kevin. She's now had another son taken away from her. She's as you'd expect her to be," Brodsky said.

Kevin Tokarchuk, 24, was shot in the head in the garage of his family's home May 12, 2003 -- exactly one year after Savoie's murder.

No one has been arrested for that killing.

PLACED ON LEAVE

Allegations police failed to warn Kevin resulted in eight cops being placed on leave while an investigation took place. All have returned to work or retired.

During the trial, Crown attorney Bob Morrison called Kevin's murder "an act of vengeance, a punishment to Daniel for (Savoie's) killing."

Kevin made a videotaped statement to police shortly after Savoie's murder. On it, he said Savoie contacted him multiple times asking about the whereabouts of Daniel, who had escaped to Toronto shortly before the murder. Savoie was trying to claim his debt.

If Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey does not increase the minimum parole eligibility, Tokarchuk could be out of prison in 7 1/2 years, as he had been in custody since five days after Savoie's murder, Brodsky said.

Brodsky said he is considering an appeal.


Tokarchuk guilty of second-degree murder

WINNIPEG -- A jury has found a Winnipeg man guilty of second-degree murder for killing a drug-dealing associate of the Hells Angels.

Jurors returned the verdict Tuesday afternoon in the case of 31-year-old Daniel Tokarchuk.

Tokarchuk and Trevor Savoie were associates of the Zig Zig crew -- a feeder gang for the Hells Angels.

The Crown argued Tokarchuk meant to kill Savoie because of a drug debt in May 2002.

The defence argued the shooting was in self-defence.

Jurors began deliberations late yesterday after receiving final instructions from the trial judge.

Around nine last night, they asked for a definition of "about," as in, what it meant when Tokarchuk said Savoie was "about'" to hurt him over a drug debt.

The conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years.


Murder jury resumes today
Blackout delays deliberations

A jury will resume deliberations this morning in the second-degree murder trial of Daniel Tokarchuk following a series of delays last night which included a courthouse blackout and lengthy wait for an answer to an important question.

The six-man, six-woman panel were sequestered overnight in a hotel as they consider whether Tokarchuk was defending himself when he shot and killed Hells Angels associate Trevor Savoie in River Heights in May 2002.

Tokarchuk, 30, was dealing drugs for Savoie but ran afoul of his friend when he began using the product and ran up a $15,000 debt.

Tokarchuk has pleaded not guilty on the basis of self-defence.

Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey told jurors earlier yesterday one of the factors to consider on the issue of self-defence is whether Tokarchuk thought he was about to be unlawfully assaulted, either by Savoie's words or actions.

Jurors waited nearly an hour last night as Crown and defence lawyers debated the definition of "about".

Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky said there is no time limit or urgency on when Tokarchuk had to feel threatened.

Crown attorney Bob Morrison vehemently disagreed, saying an assault must be on the verge of happening.

"According to (Brodsky's definition), if you get threatened by a Hells Angels, you can just go get a gun and kill one," he said.

"If Mr. Tokarchuk was in danger and going to be harmed even a day later, that's not enough."

Brodsky argued the threat was very real, both before and after Savoie was gunned down.

"We didn't make a bail application in this case for a very good reason. We wanted to keep this man alive," said Brodsky.

McKelvey finally settled on the standard Oxford's dictionary definition, telling jurors the assault doesn't have to be imminent, "although imminent is a factor they may consider".


Deliberations begin in Tokarchuk trial

WINNIPEG - After three weeks of testimony, the jury is about to begin deliberations in the trial of Daniel Tokarchuk, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trevor Savoie.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey read instructions her instructions to the six man, six woman jury on Monday. She urged jurors to consider whether they believe evidence heard during the trial especially Tokarchuk's own videotaped statement to police.

McKelvey said if the jurors believed Tokarchuk's story that the shooting was in self defence, they must acquit him.

Both Tokarchuk and Savoie were drug dealers for the Hells Angels feeder gang, the Zig Zag Crew, before Savoie was shot to death on May 12, 2002.

For the past three weeks, the Crown has tried to demonstrate that Tokarchuk meant to shoot Savoie because he had fallen behind on a drug debt. The defence has argued the shooting was in self-defence.

The jury in Tokarchuk's trial will be sequestered until it reaches a verdict.


Crown closes Tokarchuk trial
Dismisses 'horrible' defence bid to suggest others were at killing scene

TREVOR Savoie certainly had support of the Hells Angels -- but none of his dangerous biker friends was around the night he was shot dead by Daniel Tokarchuk on a River Heights street, jurors were told yesterday. Crown attorney Bob Morrison closed the second-degree murder case against Tokarchuk yesterday by urging jurors to disregard a "horrible" attempt by the defence to prove there may have been others at the scene. Tokarchuk admits he shot Savoie, a Hells Angels associate, in May 2002 but claims it was done in self-defence. Morrison said there is no merit to the claim, saying Tokarchuk was carrying a loaded handgun while Savoie, who was much smaller in size, had no weapons.

Savoie was struck four times, including a fatal wound straight through his heart.

"Tokarchuk could have broken him in half. (Savoie) was no match for the steroid-enhanced Tokarchuk," said Morrison during his closing argument. The jury will begin deliberations Monday morning.

"Trevor Savoie, all five-foot-six, 125 pounds, stood in that laneway looking death in the eye all alone," he said.

Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky has suggested other bikers may have been at the scene, based on testimony from a witness he called earlier this week.

Carol Bass-Amos told court she saw two men wearing black leather jackets with a red winged logo on the back, carrying guns and standing over Savoie's dead body seconds after the shooting outside her Waverley Street home. She said three other men appeared to be standing nearby.

There was evidence during the trial that Hells Angels member Dale Donovan got a phone call from his good friend, Savoie, on the evening of the slaying. Donovan then briefly went out with another Hells member, Darren Hunter. Neither biker was called to testify during the trial.

The men are believed to have gone out between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., and returned about 20 minutes later. Savoie wasn't shot until 11:08 p.m.

"He certainly had some dangerous and physical friends. You've heard about (Ian) Grant, (Sean) Wolfe, (Dale) Donovan and (Darren) Hunter. But had they been nearby to see Tokarchuk kill Savoie, we wouldn't be here today. They would have killed him," Morrison said.

Morrison noted that Donovan had a memorial tattooed on his arm that included Savoie's face and date of death. Jurors were shown pictures of Donovan, the tattoo and several other bikers including Grant, Wolfe and Hunter.

"What these men are capable of was probably seen in the murder of Kevin Tokarchuk," he said.

Kevin Tokarchuk, Daniel's brother, was shot dead exactly one year after Savoie's killing in a suspected case of gang retribution. No arrests have been made.

Morrison described the evidence of Bass-Amos yesterday as "sad, pathetic and disturbed."

"If this wasn't a courtroom and this wasn't a murder trial, this would have actually been quite funny," he said.

Bass-Amos's description of a "virtual army" of people in the street contradicts Tokarchuk's own statement to police in which he said Savoie and himself were alone at the time of the shooting, said Morrison.

"If he had caught even a glimpse of Savoie's powerful allies, he would have been shouting that from the rooftop to police," he said.

Morrison said the defence evidence, even if it were to be believed, actually supports the prosecution's case as there is no way Savoie's friends would be acting the way Bass-Amos described.

"According to her, they were humiliating and abusing him at the time of his death. She described them as acting with incredible cruelty," said Morrison.

"If people really were doing all that, you can be certain it wasn't the Hells Angels or the Zig Zag Crew."

He said the only explanation is that the men were friends of Tokarchuk's, which adds "a new element of evil" to the case.

Bass-Amos said she rushed back inside her house and went to bed without calling police.

"No person seeing what she says she saw would do that," said Morrison.

Tokarchuk was selling drugs for Savoie, but began using the product and fell nearly $15,000 in debt, according to witness testimony.

Savoie had come looking for Tokarchuk several days before the murder, speaking with his brother, Kevin, court was told. Savoie brought along his friend, Tyler Cascisa, who had been convicted of killing one of Kevin's friends years earlier.

In a videotaped statement prior to his death, Kevin Tokarchuk told police Savoie even mentioned speaking to their mother if Daniel -- who was hiding out in Ontario -- didn't surface soon.

Brodsky claimed Savoie's actions were meant to intimidate Tokarchuk and left him fearing for his life.

Morrison told jurors yesterday Kevin never took that as a threat to harm his mother, and neither should they. He said the statement most likely meant Savoie would ask Tokarchuk's mother to repay the debt.

Tokarchuk had just returned the night of the killing from Ontario and slept for much of the 30-hour drive home, according to Kevin Tokarchuk and his girlfriend who were also in the car. Morrison said that indicates Tokarchuk wasn't exactly scared for his life.

In a statement to police, Tokarchuk claims Savoie suddenly pulled up beside his vehicle and threatened to run him off the road. He denies ever calling Savoie that night. Yet cellular phone records show he did place a call to Savoie shortly before the shooting.

Tokarchuk claimed Savoie came at him with a metal pipe or bar, but none was found by police at the scene.

Police also couldn't locate any shell casings at the scene, and Morrison said Tokarchuk likely picked them up to hide evidence.

Brodsky had told jurors on Thursday that Morrison was a master salesman who could put a fine polish on the even the weakest of cases.

"I'm not trying to sell anything here but the truth, a guilty verdict as charged," Morrison replied yesterday.


Tokarchuk's self-defence claim strengthened, court hears

DANIEL Tokarchuk's claim of self-defence in the killing of Hells Angels associate Trevor Savoie is bolstered by evidence that other bikers may have been at the scene of the May 2002 shooting, defence lawyer Greg Brodsky told jurors yesterday.

"How many others were in that lane? Do we know?" he asked during his closing argument at the high-profile second-degree murder trial.

Brodsky called a witness earlier this week who claimed she saw two men wearing black leather jackets with a red winged logo on the back, carrying guns and standing over Savoie's dead body seconds after the shooting. The witness said three other men appeared to be standing nearby.

There was also evidence earlier in the trial that Hells Angels member Dale Donovan got a phone call from his good friend, Savoie, on the evening of the slaying. Donovan then briefly went out with another Hells member, Darren Hunter. Neither biker was called to testify during the trial.

Brodsky suggested yesterday it would have been "stupid" of Tokarchuk to murder Savoie without good reason, considering Savoie had the backing of the outlaw motorcycle gang.

'No point'

"There would be no point to killing Mr. Savoie. If you kill one of them, you've got to kill them all. It's all for one, one for all. (Back-up) could be produced in seconds," Brodsky said.

"Do you know of any other clubs out there that have a sergeant-at-arms that sanctions executions?"

His witness, Carol Bass-Amos, told court she thought the two bikers she saw were laughing as they stood over the fallen victim, and one of them might have had his foot on Savoie's head.

Crown attorney Bob Morrison grilled the woman in cross-examination, questioning why Savoie's friends would have been laughing over his dead body. But Brodsky downplayed that part of the woman's story yesterday.

"Was it a laugh, or just a look of surprise when they saw this lady coming out of her gate?" he asked jurors.

Bass-Amos claimed she heard gunshots from her Waverley Street home, then rushed outside to see the violent scene. She rushed back inside and went to bed. She didn't call police until the following morning, then refused to sign a formal statement.

Morrison will make his final arguments today. The six-man, six-woman jury will begin deliberations on Monday.

Brodsky said his client had strong reasons to fear the Hells Angels, since Tokarchuk owed Savoie $15,000 in drug debts.


Crown attacks defence witness
Tokarchuk jury told of 2 gun-toting bikers

THE Daniel Tokarchuk second-degree murder trial took a surprising turn yesterday when a defence witness told jurors she saw two gun-toting bikers laughing over Trevor Savoie's body seconds after he was shot.

Carol Bass-Amos, 51, testified she heard five or six gunshots, then rushed out of her Waverley Street home to find the pair standing over the victim. Three other men appeared to be standing nearby, along with a man walking his dog, she said.

One of the men -- who Bass-Amos said was wearing a leather jacket with a red wing on the back -- appeared to have his foot on the victim's head while pointing a handgun towards him, she testified. The other man appeared to be a dark-skinned, possibly native, teen, she said.

"They were bikers," she said, adding she had seen at least one of them previously driving around the neighbourhood.

Bass-Amos told jurors she rushed back inside the home she shared with her husband, son and mother and went to sleep. She didn't speak with police until the following morning, then refused to provide a sworn, signed statement.

Bass-Amos -- who told court she has no criminal or psychiatric history -- was the only witness called by defence lawyer Greg Brodsky.

She came under heavy attack during cross-examination from Crown attorney Bob Morrison.

"The man on the ground may have been suffering and you didn't even call an ambulance? Any decent person who witnesses a murder or act of great violence would call the police," said Morrison.

Bass-Amos's explanation was that she didn't actually witness the murder, only the apparent aftermath.

Morrison also questioned the logic in Bass-Amos' claim that two bikers standing over Savoie were laughing, noting Savoie was a member of the Zig Zag Crew, the puppet club for the Hells Angels.

"You do know that the Hells Angels and the Zig Zag Crew didn't find the shooting of Savoie very funny, don't you?" he asked Bass-Amos.

In fact, Tokarchuk's brother, Kevin, was shot dead exactly one year later in a suspected case of gang retribution. No arrests have been made in that shooting.

Tokarchuk, 30, admits he killed Savoie in May 2002 but claims it was in self-defence. He told police in a videotaped statement that he feared Savoie because of an outstanding $15,000 drug debt and because of Savoie's ties to the Hells Angels.

There was never any mention by Tokarchuk of anyone else being at the shooting scene besides himself and Savoie.

Morrison also noted several contradictions in Bass-Amos' evidence, including:

Bass-Amos described one of the so-called bikers to police as having light reddish-blond hair in a ponytail down to his shoulders. Yesterday, she said the man had short brown hair.

Bass-Amos told Brodsky both men standing over Tokarchuk's body appeared to be wearing the same black leather jackets with a wing logo. However, she told police -- and Morrison in cross-examination -- one of the men might have been wearing a "bluish light summer jacket."

Bass-Amos told court she saw both of the men carrying guns. She told police that only one of the men had a weapon.

Bass-Amos told police, and court, the victim on the ground was "big and white." Morrison noted that Savoie stood 5-6, weighed 125 pounds and was described by a witness who called 911 as being a 12-year-old boy because of his small stature.

Bass-Amos told Brodsky yesterday she heard "yelling and a clanking noise, like metal" just prior to the shooting. Morrison noted she never told police about that.

Lawyers will make closing arguments tomorrow.

Jurors aren't expected to begin deliberations until next Monday.


Prosecutor wraps case against Tokarchuk
Accused of killing Hells Angels ally

THE Crown closed its case against accused murderer Daniel Tokarchuk yesterday, opening the door for defence lawyer Greg Brodsky to call evidence this morning.

Tokarchuk, 32, claims he killed Hells Angels associate Trevor Savoie in self-defence, and Brodsky said yesterday he will present a case in his client's defence.

Crown attorney Bob Morrison wrapped up his case yesterday by calling the last man to see Tokarchuk before he was arrested by police in May 2002.

Carmine Puteri said his friend, Tokarchuk, showed up at his door a day earlier looking for a place to stay.

"He told me he was having a feud with his girlfriend at the time," Puteri told jurors.

Puteri was working long hours and said he barely saw Tokarchuk before police moved in and arrested him outside his River Heights home.

Tokarchuk had spent two previous nights with friends Ryan and Dustin LaFortune, but left when the two brothers got nervous about his erratic behaviour, court was told.

A strung-out and irrational Tokarchuk mistook a picnic table for a police SWAT team and thought of mailing himself in a cardboard box to escape arrest, according to the brothers.

They said he was doing cocaine around the clock, holding a silver handgun and speaking about being in trouble with the police.

What the brothers didn't know at the time of Tokarchuk's visit was that he had shot and killed Savoie about an hour before his arrival, on a River Heights street.

The 25-year-old victim was hit four times in the upper body and hand, including one bullet straight through his heart.

Tokarchuk admits he killed Savoie but claims it was self-defence because his former "good friend" threatened to beat him over a $15,000 drug debt.

Tokarchuk was selling drugs for Savoie, but got into trouble when he became hooked on the product, jurors have been told.

Tokarchuk's brother, Kevin, was shot dead exactly one year after Savoie's killing in a suspected case of gang retribution. No arrests have been made in that slaying.

Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey called the sister of the girlfriend of Hells Angels member Dale Donovan to testify yesterday.

The young woman told jurors that Donovan got a call from Savoie during the evening he died. Donovan left the home he was at during the evening with Hells Angels member Darren Hunter, who is considered the "enforcer" of the bikers.

The pair returned about 20 minutes later, the woman said yesterday. Neither appeared to be angry or upset.

Donovan didn't find out about Savoie's death until the following morning and had actually paged Savoie about 90 minutes after he'd been shot, she said.

In his opening statement, Morrison told jurors they'll never know what was said during the phone call between Savoie and Donovan.

"For obvious reasons, we're not calling active full-patch members of the Hells Angels to give evidence. We can't rely on anything they'll say," he said.

But Morrison said it's important to note Savoie went and met with Tokarchuk on his own, not bringing any "muscle."


Tape of Tokarchuk's police statement shown to court

WINNIPEG - Daniel Tokarchuk's trial for second-degree murder continued in Winnipeg Friday with a taped police statement from the accused himself.

Tokarchuk sat silently in the prisoner's box throughout the day, watching the taped statement he made to police five days after Trevor Savoie was shot to death on May 12, 2002.

Tokarchuk is accused of shooting Savoie after falling behind on a drug debt. In the video statement played for jurors, Tokarchuk said he was scared of being beaten with a golf club by Savoie. He said he fled to Hamilton for two weeks, and when he returned, he happened to run into Savoie driving around in the city.

Tokarchuk told the officers Savoie called him on his cell phone and demanded he pull over. Tokarchuk told officers he got out of his car and walked with Savoie.

He said he fired his gun in fear that Savoie was about to hit him with a metal pipe or shoot him with a pistol.

On the videotape, a police officer contradicted Tokarchuk's version of events. He tells Tokarchuk that cell phone records show it was Tokarchuk who called Savoie the night of the murder, noth the other way around.

That officer, Det. Sgt. Ross Read, was on the witness stand while the videotape was screened. Although an emotional Tokarchuk appears to cry at points during his statement, Read testified that he was "100 per cent convinced" that Tokarchuk wasn't actually crying. He also doubted that Savoie was carrying a pipe or a gun on the night he was shot.

Read will be cross-examined next week on the interview he did with Tokarchuk.


Tokarchuk murder trial begins

WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg courtroom was packed Wednesday morning as Daniel Tokarchuk faced the jury at his trial on the charge of second-degree murder in the death of Trevor Savoie.

Crown attorney Bob Morrison began opening remarks to the six-man, six-woman jury with a warning that they will hear evidence of a criminal underworld most people don't want to know exists.

Savoie died after being shot three times in the River Heights area of Winnipeg in May 2002.

Tokarchuk surrendered to police five days later. In a statement, he told police he killed Savoie in self-defence.

Morrison said evidence will show Tokarchuk's explanation doesn't make sense. He said Tokarchuk was significantly larger than Savoie, who was unarmed when attacked.

Morrison told the jury Tokarchuk had a $10,000 to $15,000 debt to Savoie for using drugs he was supposed to deal on behalf of the ZigZag Crew, a feeder gang of the Hells Angels.

Savoie was allegedly with Hells Angels members the night he was killed but Morrison said none of those gang members will be called as witnesses for obvious "credibility reasons."

The Crown said jurors may have heard about the killing of Tokarchuk's brother, Kevin, a year to the day after Savoie's death. Police believe Kevin Tokarchuk's shooting was in retaliation for Savoie's killing. However, Morrison said the brother's death should not play any role in jurors' judgment of the case.

The trial is scheduled to run until the end of November before Court of Queen's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey.