Ex-girlfriend of Hebert says he confessed to killing Yekel, jury to hear recording
BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week
CANTON -- The ex-girlfriend of the man on trial for a 2014 murder testified that he confessed the killing to her.
Christopher Hebert, 47, is being tried in St. Lawrence County Court for second-degree murder for allegedly killing Yekel, who died at age 25 around June 7, 2014. Prosecutors say Hebert severely beat her and then choked her. Yekel's skeletal remains were recovered in woods near the Massena Industrial Park on Aug. 29, 2014.Brandy Bressard testified today that Hebert called her shortly after Yekel's death and told her he had killed someone, but said it was a man.
"He called me, he was very frantic, he was acting erratic ... he was very loud, he was talking very fast," Bressard testified. "He told me a man had robbed him and he took this man to the woods to beat him up ... he ended up going to the hospital and he was going to go to prison ... he told me that he had killed him."
She said they talked on the phone later and he said the body was wrapped in a tarp. Investigators testified last week that they discovered part of Yekel's skeletal remains wrapped in a silver tarp.
"He said the body was wrapped in a tarp and it was too heavy to move himself and he asked a friend to move it, Jason ... he told me Jason didn't want to get involved," Bressard said.
Jason Smith, a former Massena resident now serving 20 years in state prison for armed robbery, also testified last week that Hebert told him he had killed someone.
"He told me he was partying and he'd passed out and when he woke up money was missing. He told me he'd brought Lacey out to the industrial park. He said he freaked out on her, started hitting her over the head with a rock," Smith on Friday, March 15. "He said after that he realized with his criminal history that it didn't make a difference with first-degree assault or just to kill her ... he said he choked her to death."
Bressard said she later went to the New York State Police and told them about her phone call with Hebert. She said they gave her a cell phone which she used to record conversations with him.
She also went and visited Hebert twice while he was incarcerated at Five Points Correctional Facility, wore a wire and recorded him confessing to the crime.
In the first visit, around April 4, 2017, Hebert discussed the phone call to which she had testified earlier.
"I asked him about the phone call and I asked him about what I had read in the paper and I asked him to be honest with me and tell me the truth because he had said to me in the phone conversation it was a man and I was under the assumption he was lying to me," Bressard said. "There was a point where he said he'd let me assume he never said it was a man ... I asked him flat out if it was Lacey ... and he said yes."
"He had said they had some score set up, something about guns, and when they got there there were no guns," Bressard said from the witness stand.
On Thursday, March 14, Gerald Dissottle testified that he, Hebert and Yekel had been using cocaine shortly before she died. He said Yekel had asked Hebert for more of the drug and offered to pay him with guns she had hidden away. Dissottle testified that Hebert called him after he and Yekel had left to get the guns, and said the guns weren't there. Dissottle testified that he got a second call shortly after and heard Yekel frantically screaming and hung up.
Bressard said she visited Hebert a second time at Five Points around June 13, 2017, and he confessed to murder, which she got on tape.
"I asked him to be honest with me and tell me the truth. I asked him if he could guarantee what happened to her would not happened to me if we worked things out ... he said nothing like that would ever happen because he would never be out of control," Bressard said from the witness stand. "He told me that he punched her in the face five or six times and that he had got on top of her on the ground" "He said he smashed her in the head with it ... and he couldn't believe she was still alive and he said he told her to just ... 'go to the light, just let go' and he took his hands and he acted like he took his belt off and put it around her neck ... and he choked her out."
"He said she looked at him and said 'you killed me already, I'm dead,'" Bressard testified.
She corroborated earlier testimony from a former St. Lawrence County jail inmate who also testified that Hebert confessed to killing Yekel, while they were locked up together in Canton last fall.
James Waite on Friday, March 15 told the court that he and Hebert were watching TV and a report on the case came on the news, which included a picture of Yekel. He said Hebert told him "just that she didn't look like that last time he seen her … Basically that he, had something to do with [it].”
He said Hebert told him he beat Yekel and she looked at him during the murder and said “I’m dead, Chris.”
The jury is now listening to the recordings Bressard made during the two times she visited Herbert at Five Points Correctional Facility in 2017.