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Fate of accused triple-murderer Douglas Garland put in hands of jury

Fate of accused triple-murderer Douglas Garland put in hands of jury
WATCH ABOVE: The jury in the trial of Douglas Garland was sequestered and given the green light to begin deliberating Wednesday. Nancy Hixt describes the detailed final instructions given to the jurors.

WARNING: This story contains graphic content that some readers might find disturbing. Discretion is advised.

Detailed final instructions were given to the jury Wednesday in the case of accused triple-murderer Douglas Garland.

The jury was sequestered and given the green light to begin deliberating just after 5 p.m. MT and had finished for the day as of 9 p.m.

READ MORE: Timeline – Missing Calgary family Nathan O’Brien, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes

Garland, 57, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of five-year-old Nathan and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

“Mr. Garland does not have to prove anything,” Justice David Gates told jurors.

Gates explained they will have the options of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter.

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For more information on the classifications of murder in Canada visit the government website here  

He also reminded them Garland is presumed innocent.

Read the latest tweets from Nancy Hixt below and scroll down to continue reading today’s article

Gates went through an exhaustive review of all evidence with the jury.

“Forty-eight witnesses were called, 89 exhibits were tendered,” Gates said, reminding the jury all exhibits will go into the jury room with them during deliberations. He asked them to handle exhibits with care and wear the surgical gloves provided.

READ MORE: Douglas Garland triple-murder case – what the jury didn’t hear

Gates divided the evidence into four categories: the Liknes residence, the Garland farm, the green Ford F150 truck and a category he called “other.”

Gates went through the analysis of blood spatter at the Liknes home–detailing the likely injuries and blows the victims suffered at the home.

Watch below: There was a shocking and sudden end to testimony at Douglas Garland’s triple-murder trial last Thursday. Nancy Hixt reports.

Crown closes case in triple-murder trial of Douglas Garland; defence will not call any evidence
Crown closes case in triple-murder trial of Douglas Garland; defence will not call any evidence

He referred to the Schlage BE-365 lock on the Liknes door and evidence Garland had researched how to pick the lock. Though he noted, “no electric drill was found on the Garland farm or in the Liknes residence.”

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He also said none of Garland’s DNA or fingerprints were found at the Liknes home.

Gates then detailed findings at the Garland property, noting three Tyvek suits—like the ones forensic officers wear—were found, along with a face mask.

He reminded jurors the “burn barrel was noted to be hot to the touch when police arrived July 4, 2014.”

Gates also went through the results of forensic testing at the farm.

Watch below: Video shown in court on Feb. 9 shows footage from the HAWCS helicopter of Calgary police arresting Douglas Garland.

Douglas Garland arrest video
Douglas Garland arrest video

He said DNA of Alvin was found on a meat saw, on a charred fragment recovered, on rubber boots, as well as on a swab taken from a light switch on outbuilding No. 3.

He noted Alvin’s DNA was also found on Garland’s shoes, which were seized by police.

Gates said DNA of Kathy was recovered in a fragment on a piece of cloth found in grass near burn barrel, on a fragment found in the grass near the greenhouse, on rubber boots, a meat hook and a swab taken from a light switch in outbuilding No. 3.

READ MORE: Alberta supporting jurors after mentally exhausting trials

He went on to describe the findings related to their grandson.

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DNA of Nathan was found on the handle of the meat saw and also on the rubber boots, Gates said.

“You are the judges of facts,” he told jurors, asking them to consider all evidence presented when making their decision. “You must not speculate.”

Gates told jurors not to guess or make up theories. He said they can rely solely on the evidence that’s been presented during the trial.

Gates gave each of the jurors three documents he called “decision trees” to assist them with their findings for each of the alleged murders.

“Did Douglas Garland cause the death of Alvin Liknes? Did Douglas Garland cause the death of Kathryn Liknes?” he said, explaining those are the questions they have to answer.

He said the decision tree for the alleged murder of Nathan is different.

He said the Crown must prove Garland unlawfully caused their deaths to find guilt of murder, however he said the Crown is not obliged to prove how the deaths were caused.

Nathan and his grandparents were last seen alive June 29, 2014.

Deliberations will continue Thursday starting at 9 a.m.