Tearful confession in court

It was an emotional day in Kelowna court Wednesday as the videotaped confession of Steven Pirko was played for the jury on the 11th day of Crown evidence submissions in his second-degree murder trial.

Pirko was arrested Nov. 18, 2016, almost three years after the body of 32-year-old Chris Ausman was found on the sidewalk of Highway 33 near Rutland Road.

Wednesday afternoon, the second half of an almost three-hour interrogation video of Pirko from the day after his arrest was played for the jury.

In the video, officers Eric Boucher and Shane O'Rouric tell Pirko that Elrich Dyck, Pirko's friend who was with him on the night of Ausman's death, has told police “what happened.” But they say he wasn't the only person to do so. 

“It’s probably harder for us to find people you know who you didn’t tell (about the murder), because everybody seems to have heard a story from you guys,” Boucher says at one point.

Pirko repeatedly tells the officers “I have nothing to say.”

His attitude finally changes after the officers play a video from Elrich Dyck's father Lesley Dyck, who Pirko was close with.

“Tell the truth, we’ll still be your friends, we’ll still be your family,” Lesley Dyck tells Pirko in the video.

Pirko has his forehead resting on the table during Lesley Dyck's emotional appeal. Shortly after the video ends, Pirko throws his head back, sobs loudly, and admits to killing Ausman. The confession comes about two hours into his third interrogation interview. 

He tells the officers Elrich Dyck had been “egging people on” during their walk along Highway 33, trying to pick a fight with people outside the Cadillac Lounge.

“I'm not trying to fight anyone, he is,” Pirko says through tears. “I'm not trying to kill a guy.”

He explains how Dyck finally got the fight he had been looking for, but Ausman quickly got the upper hand.

“I was seeing Elrich getting worked over,” he said. “I didn't want to see my buddy get f***ed up.”

Pirko says he was carrying a hammer in his pants' waistband because he had been previously threatened by another person unrelated to the Ausman incident, and he was concerned about his own safety.

Pirko said he initially hit Ausman twice in the back of the knee with the hammer.

"This guy's a f***ing tank, I don't understand how he didn't go down," Pirko says. “Elrich says 'hit him in the head Pirko,' and I hit him.

“He falls the f*** down starfish-style in the middle of the street ... Elrich gets on top of him and hits him twice and we run off.”

Pirko demonstrated how the incident unfolded in the interview room, with the two officers role playing as Dyck and Ausman. 

In the courtroom, both Ausman's family and Pirko's mother cried as the confession was played.

“How long have you kept that inside?” Boucher asks Pirko in the video.

“Long f***ing time man, long time,” Pirko answers. “Three times I've tried to off myself because of that.

“I’m going to jail for the rest of my f***ing life over something he f***ing started.”

Near the end of the interrogation session, the officers leave the room for a few minutes. Pirko looks up at a photo of Ausman that had been pinned to the wall and says: “I'm sorry, man.”

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