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'Had to get out of there:' eyewitness recounts gruesome axe killing in Fort Resolution

Yellowknife courthouse. NNSL file photo.

Jason Larocque recalls hearing Chad Beck say “he’s not going to mess with our family,” after assaulting Cameron Sayine with an axe. 

Larocque, Beck’s cousin, was the only eyewitness to Sayine’s killing. He testified Tuesday in the second day of Beck’s murder trial. Beck admitted Monday to killing Cameron Sayine on Canada Day two years ago. He plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, but the Crown rejected that plea and is proceeding with a 10-day judge alone trial on a second degree murder charge.

The property where Chad Beck killed Cameron Sayine in Fort Resolution. Sayine's body was later found in the grass. Photo obtained from NWT Supreme Court

In the events preceding the crime, Larocque describes spending July 1, 2018 drinking with Beck and two other friends. The group began drinking at Beck’s house before moving to Larocque’s father’s property. He thinks they started in the camper and later moved into the house where he “passed out” on the couch.

Under Crown prosecutor Blair McPherson’s line of questioning, Larocque told the court that when he woke up he was “still buzzing” from the vodka and beers he had drank earlier.

He recalls being woken by Sayine. It was the first he had seen of him that day.

He recalls waking up to see Beck “almost passed out” on the other living room couch and bleeding from his head. He, Sayine, and Beck were the only ones in the house, Larocque recalls. 

In his statement to the police in 2018, Larocque said Sayine “always comes here and threatens Chad all the time.” In trying to explain to Beck’s head injury, he told police that Sayine had been picking on Beck and “must have beat Chad up or something.”

While the three were in the living room, Beck left the room to go outside.

Larocque told the court he assumed Beck went to urinate since the house did not have running water. Beck had apparently been gone for only a few minutes. When he returned, he had an axe in hand. 

What happened next, Larocque said, was quick. He testified that Beck hit Sayine in the back of the head with the axe until he fell to the ground. When Larocque grabbed the axe from his hand and “gave him a slap,” Beck apparently mumbled about how Sayine wouldn’t mess with their family anymore.

Sayine, 27, had been dating Larocque’s daughter and apparently had become violent with her. Like any father Larocque, 39, told the court he wanted to protect his daughter but “that’s not the way we handle that.” 

Beck started to drag the body out of the house. That’s when Larocque said he “had to get out of there,” and left to call his parents who then called RCMP. 

When Larocque’s father James arrived on the scene, he describes seeing Beck come out of the house covered in blood and “in a trance.”

James took Beck by the shoulders to “get control of him” and sat him on the swinging bench on his porch. He told him to stay put while he checked the house. When asked if he made any observations about Beck’s sobriety at the time, James said Beck didn’t resist and “didn’t say a word.” 

At the start of the murder trial on Monday, the court heard testimonies from RCMP officers Cpl. Sam Munden and Cpl. Justin Helm, who responded to the call. They arrived at the Fort Resolution residence around 10:40 p.m. that night. When they arrived they said Beck was sitting on the porch. 

Munden told the court that as they approached the porch, Beck stood up from the swing, put his hands up, and got down onto the ground without direction from either officer.

“Normally people don’t surrender themselves to the police like that,” he said.

Helm stayed with Beck while Munden investigated the residence.

Munden told the court that when he saw blood on the door he thought someone in the house might be in distress. As he walked through the house, Munden saw blood on the floor and smeared throughout the residence.

As he continued his investigation, he found Sayine’s naked body laying in the grass. 

Among the injuries, Munden said there was a gash in Sayine’s forehead where he could see brain tissue — an injury Munden is familiar with from his years spent as a collision reconstructionist.

Both officers were asked about Beck’s motor skills during the arrest. 

Both indicated he was able to get up from the swing without trouble though neither could remember if he required assistance while walking. 

Following his death in 2018, Sayine's sister, Stephanie Giroux, told NNSL Media her brother "has always been (her) sidekick."

"I took him everywhere. I did everything with him," she said of the 27-year-old.

Cameron Sayine, left, and his sister Stephanie Giroux who is grappling with the death of her 27-year-old little brother, the victim of a homicide in Fort Resolution on Canada Day. photo courtesy of Stephanie Giroux

She said Sayine had plans of going back to school and doing "all these things he promised us and our mother before she died."

"He never got around to it," she said.

The trial continues.