What Happened to TJ
WHAT HAPPENED ON JANUARY 5TH, 2003...
This is a summary of our family’s knowledge, legal documents, court testimony, of what happened on January 5th, 2003.
TJ was a kid who felt tremendous responsibility for those who were less fortunate. He became friends with Trista Hildebrand who had been using drugs since a very early age. We believe that he felt responsible for her. He considered her to be like his little sister, although he still sold and did drugs with her.
Trista Hildebrand called TJ her best friend. But in the end, she betrayed him.
TJ looked after her and was very dismayed when she decided to move in with a young man who was also a drug user and dealer (his arrest is here). TJ knew this young man to be a very bad and evil person and he did not want Trista to live with him. There were many arguments between TJ and this other young man.
The young man did not like TJ either. He wanted to get rid of him and his influence over his girlfriend. The police told us he had a hit list of seven people.
The young man went to another drug dealing friend by the name of Dominic Urichen and discussed killing TJ. Dominic Urichen said that he wouldn’t do so himself, but that he knew someone who would. He went to one of his friends that he had gotten to know from the Manitoba Youth Centre, Anthony Pulsifer, and asked him to kill TJ. Anthony Pulsifer agreed to do so with the help of what he called, his “cousin”, Chad Handsor.
Trista Hildebrand, who said that TJ was her best friend, the young man, Dominic Urichen, Anthony Pulsifer and Chad Handsor met together to plan TJ’s death. They discussed various ways of killing him, including hitting him over the head with a baseball bat. In the end, they watched a movie called, “The Saltan Sea” where someone was killed by overdose with an injection of drain cleaner. The group decided to kill TJ by injecting him with one of the young man’s “concoctions”. The young man also gave a hunting knife to Anthony Pulsifer and Chad Handsor to use in case the syringes did not work.
Trista was in constant contact with TJ and she told him that she had a friend who had totaled his car and had a car stereo to sell. (One of TJ’s hobbies was to install car stereos.) On January 5th, 2003, the day that TJ was murdered, he had spent the night out in the car with Trista. He dropped her off at the young man’s apartment early in the morning and went home to sleep. He had made arrangements to pick her up and take her out for lunch. He called her from the car before he got to the apartment and she told him that the person wanting to sell the stereo wanted to talk to him. He spoke to Chad Handsor and made arrangements to take him to go to look at the stereo. He came back on the phone to Trista and asked her if he was being set up. She replied that he wasn’t being set up.
The young man prepared 4 syringes filled with either lighter fluid or Draino and gave them to Anthony Pulsifer. When TJ arrived, Anthony Pulsifer and Chad Handsor went out to the car to meet him and they went off together to “look at this stereo”. Chad Handsor was sitting in the front seat beside TJ. Anthony Pulsifer was sitting in the back seat behind TJ.
Chad Handsor told TJ that the stereo was at his uncle’s house and he started giving him directions to go out of town. They went from Windsor Park, down St. Mary’s Road to the Perimeter, where they turned west. At Pembina Highway, they turned south. According to Anthony Pulsifer’s testimony, somewhere around Red River Drive, they stopped and smoked some crystal meth. At some point, they left there and continued south on Pembina Highway. During this trip, Anthony Pulsifer tried to inject TJ with the syringes. He jabbed him in the neck twice and the back of his left hand with them.
When TJ did not die, Anthony Pulsifer took his shoelaces out of his runners and tried to strangle TJ from behind. A struggle ensued and TJ was pulled into the back seat of the car, by his neck, over the back of the front seat. At some point in the struggle, TJ bit Chad Handsor in the arm. He laid in the back seat, occasionally gasping for 30 minutes as the murderers drove the car to the place where they left his body, on a deserted road between St. Adolphe and St. Agathe. They pulled his body out of the car, pulling off his jacket, T-shirt and a runner while doing so. They pulled him out, jumped on his chest and stabbed him in the neck several times. The left him in a snow filled ditch. Several times throughout the murder, phone calls were made between Dominic Urichen and the two murderers in the car and between the young man and the two murderers. These calls were supposedly to make sure that they were killing TJ. At one point, when the young man heard that TJ was not dying, he told Anthony, “If you don’t kill him, there’s a needle here for you and your daughter too.”
After the murder, Pulsifer and Handsor drove the car back to St. Vital Centre and after taking all of TJ’s personal effects out of it, wiped it clean of finger prints and anything else that would identify them. They went into the bathrooms by the theatres in St. Vital Centre and supposedly threw TJ’s cell phones into the garbage. Chad Handsor put TJ’s jacket on and put the 4 syringes in the pocket. They had a bag of TJ’s drugs and money. They took a bus to an apartment on Furby St., rented by another young girl. She, a friend of hers and Dominic Urichen were all there at the apartment when Chad Handsor and Anthony Pulsifer arrived. Upon arrival, Pulsifer exclaimed... “Score!!!”
Someone in the rooming house had called the police (about a disturbance) and so the four turned off the lights, shoved towels under the door opening and sat quietly until the police went away. Then Anthony Pulsifer and Chad Handsor changed their clothes. They put on clothes that were in a bag in the apartment. They put their old, bloody clothes into plastic shopping bags. They also changed their shoes and put those into bags as well. Anthony Pulsifer wore a pair of Dominic Urichen’s shoes and Handsor put on a pair of one of the girl’s pink slippers. They divided up the drugs that they had found with Dominic Urichen taking the greatest amount.
Dominic Urichen gave the two girls $30.00 to take the bags of clothing and shoes, as well as TJ’s jacket with the four syringes in the pocket and get rid of them in a dumpster. The first girl wore TJ’s jacket and they took a bus down Portage Avenue to an apartment complex almost at the Perimeter. There, they dumped the bags and then returned to the Furby Street rooming house.
Meanwhile, Dominic Urichen called the juvenile and Trista (who had betrayed TJ) and told them that the job was done, to quote. “we hit a home run”. He went to the juvenile’s apartment and split up the drugs with him.
Chad Handsor and Anthony Pulsifer left the rooming house and went to a hotel.
The next night, Anthony Pulsifer went to stay with the young girl at the rooming house while Dominic Urichen was out at the juvenile’s apartment in Windsor Park. He started to tell her about killing TJ. He told her, “I’ll never forget the fear in TJ’s eyes as I was strangling him...” She became scared and called Dominic Urichen. Trista, Dominic and the juvenile went over to the rooming house. They picked up Anthony Pulsifer and took him back to the hotel where he and Chad Handsor were staying. The juvenile told Chad Handsor that he had to kill Anthony Pulsifer because he was talking. Chad Handsor agreed to do so, but had no intentions to kill him.
The juvenile took back the hunting knife and he and Trista Hildebrand soaked it in bleach for 24 hours and then put it into a dumpster at the 7-11 store next to his apartment.
Chad Handsor and Anthony Pulsifer spent the next day or two visiting a couple of Chad Handsor’s former girlfriends and Anthony Pulsifer’s mother. Anthony Pulsifer’s mother observed them counting out several thousands of dollars on her table. They asked her for help to get out of town “because they were in trouble”. She called her brother in Calgary and made arrangements for them to go there to stay. Anthony Pulsifer caught a bus to Calgary.
Chad Handsor contacted one of his former girlfriends and asked her to keep some of his stuff for a few days and then to bring it out to Calgary for him. He gave her drugs, drug paraphernalia, a switchblade knife and some clothes. She agreed. Then he too, went to Calgary.
The girl took the stuff to school, where one of her friends reported that she had drugs to the school administration. The vice principal called her in and she admitted that she had them. Unbelievably, he actually told her to leave them in a stair well and he would collect them from there. He chose not to call police and report this. He simply called police to report that he found drugs in his school. He thought he was doing this student a favour. He also called her mother and told her what was going on. The girl picked up the other things from her locker and went to the bus depot. There she caught a bus to Calgary. Her mother called the police and the Brandon Police stopped the bus and took her off it. They took all of the drug paraphernalia and the knife and then released her to her mother.
Just over 2 weeks after this, the police answered a complaint at the rooming house on Furby Street. While they were there, the young girl who had gotten rid of the clothes and stuff from the murder told the police that someone had been staying in her room and she didn’t want him there anymore. The next day, the police returned to the rooming house to find Dominic Urichen in her room. They decided to check him out and found out that he had an outstanding warrant with the RCMP for a break and enter in Regina. He had tied up an 83 year old woman and stole her money. They took him in to the police station. He told them that if they let him off the break and enter, he would give them the biggest case of their lives because he knew of a guy named TJ that was listed as missing, but that he was really dead and he also knew who had killed him. Constables Wiebe and Santiago immediately reported this to the officer in charge who immediately called the homicide department. Dominic Urichen was, at this time treated as a witness.
During the next two weeks, the homicide department worked night and day investigating this lead. Seven officers flew to Calgary and on Feb. 5th, arrested Chad Handsor and Anthony Pulsifer. They both gave full confessions to the murder, after intense questioning from Winnipeg Police. They returned to Winnipeg On Feb. 7th. Handsor & Pulsifer, in separate police vehicles, actually led the police to within a couple of feet of TJ’s snow-covered body. The police returned on Feb. 8th to search again. They found him under 18 inches of snow. They erected a heated army tent over him, and he lay there a further 4 whole days until they could remove him.
Chad Handsor and Anthony Pulsifer were charged with 1stDegree Murder. In July, five months later, Dominic Urichen was arrested and charged with 1st Degree Murder and Conspiracy to commit Murder. He was serving time in a youth centre in Regina for a previous criminal act. He too gave a full confession. At this point, Chad Handsor and Anthony Pulsifer were further charged with Conspiracy to commit Murder. A month after that, the young man was arrested and charged with 1st Degree Murder and Conspiracy to commit Murder. He did not confess, unfortunately. Trista Hildebrand was never charged with a crime.
The The Criminal Trials page will describe, in point form, our journey through the criminal justice system, and the eventual outcomes.