'Father figure' testifies

A “father figure” to Steven Pirko testified Tuesday that Pirko had confessed to him about killing Chris Ausman, years after Ausman's body was found on Highway 33 in the early hours of Jan. 25, 2014.

Pirko's second-degree murder trial began earlier this month. The trial comes two and a half years after Pirko's arrest.

Last week, by way of a recorded confession to police, the jury heard that Pirko had struck Ausman in the back of the head with a hammer he had been carrying, after Ausman had gotten the upper hand in a fight with Pirko's friend, Elrich Dyck.

Pirko said Elrich had been trying to pick a fight with people on Highway 33 as they walked home from a party, before Ausman took him up on the offer.

Leslie Dyck, Elrich's father, testified Tuesday that in November 2016, prior to his arrest, Pirko confessed to him about killing Ausman.

Leslie said Pirko also told him he had thrown the hammer he had used in the killing onto the roof of the Shopper's Drug Mart in the Willow Park Shopping Centre on Highway 33. The murder weapon was never recovered by police.

Under cross examination by Pirko's lawyer, Leslie described his relationship with Pirko, after meeting him in 2005.

“I tried to be honest with him. When serious stuff came up I tried to be there for him,” Leslie said. “He said I was more of a father figure to him than anybody.”

Leslie's influence on Pirko was evident earlier in the trial. After hours of police interrogation following his arrest, Pirko only confessed to killing Ausman after the officers played him a video recording from Leslie.

“Tell the truth, we’ll still be your friends, we’ll still be your family,” Leslie said in the video.

After he finished testifying Tuesday afternoon, Leslie walked by Pirko in the courtroom and said: “Take care. You did the right thing, you did."

Leslie also testified about his son Elrich while on the stand, after Crown prosecutor David Grabavac brought up Elrich's nickname: The Rutland Beast.

“He was just like a beast, (but) more of a horse than a wolf,” Leslie said. “Jeez, this is my own kid. Kind of big and dumb and always in the way.”

He also said Elrich was “loud, kind of obnoxious (and) downright rude” when he had been drinking alcohol, but he didn't know his son to get physically aggressive.

“He was never much of a fighter,” Leslie explained.

Elrich Dyck is also expected to testify for the Crown this week.

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