"Timekeeper" lying, Tavares told trial
A prison informant is being accused of lying to justice officials to hide his own involvement in the gang-related beating death of David Tavares.
Steven Courchene claims he was recruited as “timekeeper” while Stony Mountain Institution inmates Charles Coaster, Evan Myran and Alvin Cote beat Tavares inside a locked recreation area on March 20, 2005.
“You want the jury to believe you felt bad about what happened to Mr. Tavares,” said defence lawyer Martin Glazer, who is representing Victor Ryle, the man accused of ordering the two-minute beating.
Glazer confronted Courchene with the evidence of another witness who said he saw Courchene assault Tavares prior to the fatal beating. “You weren’t keeping time at all, were you?” Glazer charged. “You were attacking Mr. Tavares.”
Courchene said he slapped and pushed Tavares after he yelled at Ryle and called him names but had no involvement — aside from time keeping — in the beating that followed several minutes later.
Coaster, Myran, and Cote are on trial charged with second-degree murder. Ryle is charged with manslaughter.
Prosecutors allege Tavares, a member of the Native Syndicate street gang, received a “timed beating” as punishment for a prison dispute with other gang members. Ryle is alleged to have ordered the beating while the other three accused carried it out.
Courchene testified Tavares had been drinking “homebrew” in the hours before his death and complained about debts other gang members owed him.
During an exercise period in the prison gym later that evening, Tavares confronted Cote over a debt, Courchene testified. “They grabbed each other and looked like they were going to fight,” he said. “I didn’t see any punches thrown.”
Courchene said Ryle intervened and told the men to break it up. Ryle and several “full patch” Native Syndicate members conferred with each other and it was decided Tavares should suffer a two-minute beating, Courchene said.
Ryle told Courchene to find a watch and picked out Coaster, Myran and Cote to administer the beating, Courchene said.
Tavares was knocked to the floor and the men continued to beat him about the head and body after he was apparently unconscious, Courchene said. “He wasn’t trying to defend himself, that I could see,” Courchene said. “I said ‘Holy f---, you guys are overdoing it.’”
Courchene said other gang members cleaned up blood from the beating and dragged Tavares’ body to a washroom.
Courchene is living in witness protection and was granted immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony.
These articles are biased as they spend too much on the facts set out by the Crown and not enough on the arguments that defence lawyers made or any background information on the accused's lives