Eric Favel takes stand in his own defence at murder trial

Favel told court he was beaten for a second time before Thomas Dustyhorn was shot in the face.

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Conversation about a difficult past was where things began to turn for the worse, according to Eric Charles Favel.

The discussion took place as Favel sat in the kitchen of his home on the Kawacatoose First Nation on the evening of Nov. 25, 2021. Around the table with him were his stepdad (Terry Asapace), his aunt (Prairie Asapace), and her partner (Thomas Dustyhorn).

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As they drank, Favel had been speaking to Prairie about the time he spent in foster care and how he learned Terry wasn’t his real dad, he testified on Tuesday.

Favel talked to his aunt about how he used to get hit a lot, he told defence lawyer Lisa Smart.

Soon he was being hit again, he said.

Favel told the jury he ended up on the floor, receiving blows to his body, when he heard his brother Coty Favel-Asapace come in.

“What the f–k are you guys doing to my brother?” Favel recalled his brother saying, before Coty stepped in and stopped the altercation.

For a time after that confrontation, there was calm, he said.

But as the sun was beginning to rise over the First Nation the next morning, the situation turned again to chaos. Dustyhorn was shot in the face, and would not survive.

Favel, 35, stands accused of second-degree murder in relation to the death. He pleaded not guilty when his trial began in Regina’s Court of King’s Bench on April 29.

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The Crown called its last witness Tuesday before Favel took to the stand. The accused man’s testimony continued Wednesday.

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Smart provided the jury an opening statement saying they would hear three themes as Favel told the story of the incident in his own words: “chaos, confusion and tunnel vision.”

Favel told Smart that after the initial beating, during which he said he was struck with the handle from a hydraulic jack, Terry, Prairie and Dustyhorn left.

Favel testified that he’d then told his brother Coty about what had happened, and asked him to take possession of two guns. A 12-gauge shotgun (not the one said to have been involved in the shooting) and a .22-calibre rifle were the guns Favel normally used, he told Smart, testifying that he was a hunter.

Terry and Prairie were saying he was trying to shoot them, he told the defence lawyer.

“I gave them to my brother so, like, to prove that I wasn’t trying to.”

There were other guns in his bedroom, court heard. This included the short, lever-action 12-gauge that fired the shot in question. Other people stored guns in that location because there weren’t often children in the room, he said.

When the group returned to the home, Favel joined them again, he told Smart. Favel described the previous violence as a “regular thing,” and said at that point he felt safe because Coty was also there.

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Favel said he eventually went to bed and, when he woke up the next morning, Terry, Prairie and Dustyhorn were still in the kitchen. He noticed a bong he’d recently purchased was laying broken on the floor, and he commented about it to the group, he testified.

“She came charging at me,” he said of Prairie.

Favel said he then grabbed a baseball bat and a “cue stick”

“She was already in my bedroom by the time I grabbed them, so I went to defend myself, but I ended up getting beat up with them. Terry came in there and was helping her. They were really giving me a lickin’.”

Favel ended up on the floor again, face down, he said, grasping for something to defend himself.

His hand found something, he said, acknowledging it was a gun.

“There was a big bang,” he said.

Smart asked him why he’d told the 911 operator that he accidentally shot Dustyhorn.

“Because my hand was on the gun, my right hand, my hand was on it, in the middle.”

Did he think he’d shot Dustyhorn?

“That’s what went through my head because my hand was on it,” he said, adding that his hand was not near the trigger.

Was his hand ever near the trigger of any gun?

“No,” he responded.

Smart then asked, had he ever pointed a gun at anyone?

“No, I did not,” the accused man said.

The Crown had not yet completed cross-examination of Favel by time of publication. It’s anticipated that the jury will hear closing arguments and begin deliberation within the week.

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