They have heard two different stories from two accused killers.
Now members of a Winnipeg jury must decide whether either is telling the truth -- or if both have concocted a string of lies meant to conceal their joint involvement in a brutal killing.
Closing arguments were heard Tuesday in the Chad Davis case, setting the stage for jury deliberations to begin Thursday morning. Davis, 22, was beaten to death in 2008, his body then stuffed in a barrel and floated down a river to be found months later.
Kristopher Brincheski, 31, and Corey Tymchyshyn, 37, have both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder for what the Crown alleges was a drug-related slaying. Both took the witness stand in their own defence last week, taking turns blaming each other while downplaying their own role.
"I urge you to see these stories for what they are -- deceptions created to try and sway you away from the truth," Crown attorney Keith Eyrikson told jurors Tuesday in summarizing a month of evidence.
The Crown said the evidence clearly shows Brincheski and Tymchyshyn played integral roles in plotting and carrying out the cold-blooded attack, which they say was done because both men were deep in drug debt to Davis.
"They killed Chad Davis to make their life easier," said Eyrikson. "They were both in need of money, both looking for a way out, so they hatched a plan to solve their problem."
He urged jurors to look past the testimony of both accused, saying it was self-serving and "preposterous" at times.
"We know both accused can't be telling the truth. Both versions can't be true. And while each of the accused has told some truths... they are both lying," said Eyrikson.
Earlier in the day, defence lawyers made their vastly different final pitches to the jury.
Tymchyshyn's lawyer, Roberta Campbell, said her client should only be convicted of "accessory after the fact" after admitting he helped Brincheski dispose of the victim's body. But she said Tymchyshyn was being truthful in denying being present when Brincheski killed Davis in self-defence.
"He did not kill Mr. Davis. He was not part of a plan to kill Mr. Davis," said Campbell. "Corey's not lying to you, not trying to hide the things he's done."
But Brincheski's lawyer, Gerri Wiebe, suggested otherwise. Just like her client did on the stand, she painted Tymchyshyn as the violent, ill-tempered mastermind who was solely responsible for the killing. "Corey Tymchyshyn is not the charming, easygoing guy he wants you to believe he is. He is a cold, calculating manipulator. And now he is trying to manipulate you," Wiebe told jurors.
She said only Tymchyshyn knows what really happened between him and Davis. She said Tymchyshyn then forced Brincheski to assist him in hiding Davis and other evidence and repeatedly threatened him if he breathed a word about what happened.
"When things went bad and he had a dead body on his hands and no plan to deal with it, he called Kris Brincheski," said Wiebe. "Like all his other patsies, (Brincheski) was an easy mark."
The Crown argued Tuesday a series of text messages and phone calls on the day of the killing between Davis, Tymchyshyn and Brincheski show both accused were aware of what was going to happen, were present when the killing occurred and then took steps to cover it up.
The Crown also rejected Brincheski's claim to be "haunted" by what happened to Davis, noting police located more than $8,000 worth of Davis's possessions in Brincheski's home, including shoes, a bed, a big-screen plasma TV and other electronics. Brincheski's brother also gave a damning statement to police implicating him, only to try to back-pedal on the story after the fact. The Crown urged jurors not to be tricked.