Final arguments to take place in Douglas Garland murder trial

Douglas Garland

Jurors in the triple-murder trial of Douglas Garland are scheduled to hear final arguments Monday from Crown and defence lawyers.  Lead prosecutor Shane Parker and defence counsel Kim Ross will detail their opposing theories on whether Garland plotted the murders of Kathy and Alvin Liknes before kidnapping them and their grandson from the couple’s Calgary home and killing them at his farm.

If Parker sticks to the theory his co-prosecutor, Vicki Faulkner, outlined in her opening address four weeks ago, he’ll argue Garland held a years-long grudge against the grandfather which culminated in a murderous plot.

That grudge was over an oilfield pump for which Alvin Liknes applied for a patent under his name. A decade ago, Garland did some work on the pump.

The Crown’s case, which unfolded over four weeks of evidence, focused on a hard drive found hidden in the ceiling of the basement in the Airdrie farm home Garland shared with his elderly parents.

On it, police found evidence the main user of the hard drive spent months researching the couple as well as ways to disable and kill people.

There were also “gore” photos of dead and dismembered bodies, along with sexually graphic images of women clad in adult diapers, many of them bound as well.

Investigators found numerous restraints and handcuffs on the Garland property during an extensive search of the 16-hectare farm once he became the main suspect.

Kathy, 53, and Alvin Liknes, 66, disappeared from their Parkhill home in southwest Calgary, along with their five-year-old grandson, Nathan O’Brien, the morning of June 30, 2014.

The boy had been left at the residence the previous evening for a sleepover, by his mother, Jennifer.

When the mom arrived the next morning, she found a bloody scene and no sign of the three relatives. Their bodies have never been found.

Among the pieces of evidence Parker is likely to focus on is closed-circuit TV footage from cameras in and around the Likneses’ neighbourhood, aerial photographs taken of the Garland property the day after the victims disappeared and forensic evidence showing the DNA of all three victims was present on the farm.

The surveillance cameras captured a pickup truck similar to one regularly driven by Garland, driving along 38A Ave. S.W., where the Likneses lived, in the early morning hours of June 30, 2014.

At one point, a white item, which a police witness said could be a tarp, was noticeable in the box of the pickup.

The aerial shots, which the Crown said were discovered by luck, show three figures on the ground near the southern end of the Garland farm the morning of July 1, 2014.

Two of the figures appear to be adults clad in white underwear, or diapers, face down in the grass.

A smaller, less clear figure, is nearby.

In a shed near where the figures were seen, police found a bag of approximately 50 adult hospital diapers.

Parker will argue the figures are those of the victims.

Aerial shots from the following morning show the figures were no longer there.

While Ross and his co-counsel, Jim Lutz, called no evidence, much of their cross-examination was focused on the possibility the victims died at the residence, where no DNA linked to Garland was found.

If convicted, Garland would face an automatic life sentence and could have his parole ineligibility set as high as 75 years.

By: Kevin Martin


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