Douglas Garland to stand trial for murders of Calgary couple and grandson

WATCH: A judge has ordered the man accused of killing Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their grandson Nathan O’Brien to stand trial for three counts of first-degree murder.

CALGARY – An Alberta judge has ordered Douglas Garland to stand trial for three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Kathryn and Alvin Liknes and their grandson Nathan O’Brien.

Garland, 55, had been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the Liknes’, and one count of second-degree murder in the death of their grandson, O’Brien. That count was upgraded to first-degree on Wednesday afternoon.

READ MORE: Who is Calgary triple-murder suspect Douglas Garland?

“Three first-degree is better, but I wish he would plead guilty and not have to go through it all again,” said Barb Beaudry, the Liknes’ niece.

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Beaudry, along with the rest of the Liknes and O’Brien families, has been on an emotional rollercoaster for nearly a year. She’s been attending the preliminary inquiry for Garland, the man accused of killing her aunt and uncle, and their young grandson.

“It was awful,” said Beaudry, describing what it was like to attend the inquiry.

“He’s a monster.”

Nathan O'Brien, Alvin and Kathy Liknes
Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Kathy and Alvin Liknes are shown in Calgary Police Service handout photos. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

The trio vanished from the Liknes home last June while Nathan was sleeping over — hours after his grandparents held a sale at their house in advance of a move to Mexico.

TIMELINE: Missing Calgary family Nathan O’Brien, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes

For seven days, the prosecution laid out its case against Garland. Evidence presented at the hearing is under a publication ban and cannot be reported on; the details often brought the family to tears.

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Garland will appear in court on July 31 to set a date for trial. It’s anticipated the trial will start at least 12 to 18 months after that.

Garland’s defence lawyer Kim Ross, is anticipating a six-week trial.

“The threshold test on a preliminary is very low, so we were anticipating the matter would be going to trial, and it will proceed to trial now,” said Ross.

In the meantime, family members are trying to cope as best as they can.

“My cousins want you to know they’ve had wonderful support from family and the public and friends,” said Beaudry.

“And that doesn’t bring anyone back, but it makes it a little more tolerable..bearable, I guess.”

With files from Erika Tucker