Manslaughter plea rejected, murder trial continues for Alberta man who admits to shooting Kristian Ayoungman

On the day his murder trial began, one of the brothers responsible for killing a Siksika powwow dancer and hockey star proposed a plea to manslaughter, an offer that was rejected by the prosecution.

Brandon Giffen is charged with first-degree murder in the March 2019 death of Kristian Ayoungman.

Brandon got involved after his brother Kody Giffen initiated a fight with Ayoungman outside a Strathmore bar. 

Following two altercations, Ayoungman and his friends fled the scene but the brothers chased them, with Kody Giffen eventually pulling to the side of the highway and his other brother Brandon getting out and firing a rifle at the fleeing truck. 

Last August, Kody Giffen pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

A single shot

On Monday, defence lawyer Derek Jugnauth told the judge his client admits to pulling the trigger on his hunting rifle and killing Ayoungman but the trial issue is intent.

Jugnauth will argue Brandon Griffen did not intend to kill Ayoungman.

The single shot from Brandon’s rifle hit the Dodge truck, tearing through the tailgate, a canvas hockey bag in the truck bed, the cabin, the seat occupied by Ayoungman and finally his chest.

Prosecutors Ron Simenik and Lynda Levesque refused to accept the plea and commenced the trial.  

Details of the killing come from an opening statement read aloud by Levesque.

On March 16, 2019, Ayoungman sold a package of cigarettes to Kody outside the King Eddy Pub in Strathmore for $20.

When Kody noticed but there were a couple cigarettes missing, he became enraged and confronted Ayoungman. 

The two groups of friends fought. 

Afterward, Kody left to go get Brandon at a nearby apartment building. 

Coincidentally, Ayoungman was dropping a friend off at the same building and the two groups of friends encountered each other a second time. 

Once again, there was a fight.

Brandon went back inside and returned with a hunting rifle and when he returned to the parking lot, Ayoungman and his friends fled in a pickup truck, fearing for their lives.

Kody, who was driving, and Brandon, who was in the front seat, followed.

Ayoungman’s friend, who was driving the truck, headed home toward Siksika Nation. 

As the two groups headed south on Highway 817, the Giffen brothers pulled over. 

Brandon got out and fired at the truck, killing Ayoungman, who was in the back seat.

Within a couple of days, Brandon turned himself into police and handed over the weapon.

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