WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers might find disturbing. Discretion is advised.
There were people sobbing and crying in the courtroom Monday during a lengthy closing argument by the prosecution in the triple-murder trial of Douglas Garland.
The trio was last seen alive June 29, 2014, after an estate sale in their southwest Calgary home.
Shane Parker began his final address to the jury by referencing a book allegedly accessed by the accused, Kill Without Joy.
“All phases of capture and death were researched — beginning to end,” Parker said.
Step by step, the prosecutor took the jury through the timeline — from the time Garland worked with Alvin Liknes on a pump for Vecto Resources — to when they had a falling out in 2007.
The Crown alleged Garland “stewed” about revenge on the Likneses for years.
He went through the evidence of the cyber-stalking of Alvin and Kathy he said was found on a hard drive hidden in the rafters of the Garland home.
“The hard drive was a window into the mind of Doug Garland,” Parker said detailing searches on ways to torture, kill and dismember and remove DNA — as well as countless searches about Alvin and Kathy including their address and photos.
Watch below: There was a shocking and sudden end to testimony at Douglas Garland’s triple-murder trial last Thursday. Nancy Hixt reports.
Parker went through the crime scene at the Liknes home and the story the analysis of the blood in the home told.
“Nathan tried to steady himself on the stairs,” he said of a tiny hand print found at the top of the stairs.
“Nathan and Kathy were not killed while sleeping in the bed … they were not willingly going with their attacker.”
He acknowledged Garland’s DNA was not found in the home.
“This was … virtually a mistake-free crime scene,” Parker said, reminding the jury of the Tyvec suits found at the Garland property.
Watch below: Video shown in court on Feb. 9 shows footage from the HAWCS helicopter of Calgary police arresting Douglas Garland.
Over and over the prosecution reminded the jury of its theory: “Alvin, Kathy and Nathan were still alive when they left the home.”
He reminded the jury of Alvin’s tooth found near the door to the home.
“Alvin was still struggling … because he was still alive going out the door.”
Six photos were shown to jurors, including the photo taken July 1 by an aerial surveying company alleged to be a photo of the three bodies.
“You can still visualize Nathan curled up by grandma,” Parker said.
“You know the grainy, pixelated images are Kathy, Alvin and Nathan,” he said.
“This is as close as you get to an autopsy photo in this case.”
The fact that only fragments of the trio were found “means Garland did not want you to have the information corpses would have provided,” Parker said.
The crown detailed each disturbing find on the Garland property including the molar of a child found in the ash, and the meat hooks with Kathy’s DNA.
“He performed an autopsy on Kathy,” Parker told the jury calling it a purposeful murder.
Watch below from Feb. 8: An expert in blood pattern analysis gave evidence of what may have happened in the Liknes home. Nancy Hixt reports. Discretion is advised.
He said the rubber boots seized from the farm are key evidence in the case, as DNA from all three victims were found on the outside of the boots. On the outside was Garland’s DNA.
The jury was also reminded multiple times of the Schlage BE-365 lock — the lock on the Liknes home, and the same lock researched repeatedly according to a search of the Garland hard drive.
“They were always going to die by his hand,” Parker told jury of the planning and premeditation he said happened in this case.
At the end, Parker thanked the jury.
“You are faced with an awesome responsibility … don’t outsmart your common sense. You got to hear all of the evidence, not a snapshot or a tweet … you felt the trial,” Parker said.
Defence told the jury Garland is entitled to the presumption of innocence and said the Crown has “failed to prove he caused the deaths of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and Nathan O’Brien.”
Lawyer Kim Ross went on to suggest it was a fatal struggle at the Liknes home: “those people did not leave that house alive.”
Ross said the prosecution hasn’t presented evidence the three victims were killed at the Garland farm.
He went on to say “there is no evidence before you these bodies were autopsied…tortured.”
“What happened on that farm does not prove that Douglas Garland caused the death of Alvin, Kathy, or Nathan,” Ross said.
Victims’ family statement
While the jury heard from the prosecution, a statement was released by the family of the three victims:
“The last five weeks have taken a heavy toll on us. It has been unbearable for our family and friends to endure the gruesome details that have been presented throughout the trial.
We know this has also been hard on the members of the jury and we thank them for their service.
Nothing will bring Nathan, Alvin and Kathy back to us, but we can only hope the court will see justice done in their names.
Thank you to everyone who has been there to support us through this process, and to the public for your thoughts and prayers.”
Justice David Gates will give final instructions to the jury Wednesday, after which time they will be sequestered and begin deliberating.
There are currently 13 jurors left but only 12 will decide Garland’s fate.