WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers might find disturbing. Discretion is advised.
Key forensic investigators from the Calgary Police Forensic Crime Scene Unit testified Tuesday in the triple-murder trial of Douglas Garland, explaining the magnitude of evidence collected in the case, including a book on how to commit murder. The jury was also asked to handle items recovered from the Garland property.
Garland, 56, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes.
Primary forensic investigator Const. Ian Oxton told court there were more than 1,400 exhibits seized from the 40-acre Garland farm.
The officer has been on the forensic crime scene unit for 9.5 years and said that is the most evidence he’s ever seen in a case.
“We believe with reasonable certainty that this is by far the largest number of exhibits collected for a case in Calgary,” Calgary police said in a statement to Global News. “The next closest would be a case involving 500 exhibits.”
Oxton took the jury through each area and building on the farm in his testimony Tuesday and described the contents found in “outbuilding No. 3.”
He said he saw an item that appeared “very clean and very shiny” compared to other items in the building. A closer look at the item revealed it was a hacksaw.
Oxton said “the hacksaw blades are 25 inches long.”
Court heard the saw and an additional blade were sent to the RCMP forensic lab for DNA testing.
He said he found multiple pieces of charred flesh around a burn barrel on the Garland property. There were boxes of weapons and restraints seized, including knives, scalpels, silencers and Taser cartridges.
Oxton said there were meat hooks that also appeared to have been cleaned found on another shelf. The jury was asked to handle an evidence bag holding the two meat hooks, which led to tears from those in court.
The Crown said he wanted jurors to feel the weight of the hooks.
Watch below: Global’s ongoing coverage of Douglas Garland’s murder trial
In the Crown’s opening statement, prosecutor Vicki Faulkner said evidence was found all over the property.
“DNA of all three was found,” she said. “DNA of both Alvin and Nathan are found on a saw. DNA of Kathryn is found on meat hooks.”
In the basement where Garland lived, officers found a book on how to commit murder and not get caught, and another called Be your own undertaker: how to dispose of a dead body. In a fridge, investigators found 36 tubes of anesthetic.
Oxton said officers seized a hard drive that had been tucked away in the rafters, along with documents with the name “Matthew Hartley” on them.
A Tyvek white jumpsuit, similar to those worn by forensic investigators was seized, along with an electronic listening device and a straitjacket.
In Garland’s office, police seized several pairs of women’s size 13 shoes, a reusable adult diaper and two mannequin heads with blonde wigs on them.
Earlier on Tuesday, court was shown photographs taken of Garland after he was arrested, depicting abrasions on Garland’s head and upper lip along with a large bruise on his knee and an injured thumb.
The Crown alleges Garland violently took the Likneses and young Nathan, killed them, then dismembered their bodies and burned them in the barrel.
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