Jury continues deliberations in triple-murder trial of Douglas Garland

Jury in Douglas Garland murder trial set to continue deliberations
WATCH: Jurors in the Douglas Garland triple-murder trial will begin their second day of deliberations on Thursday. Bindu Suri has details.

UPDATE: Douglas Garland guilty of 3 counts of first-degree murder in deaths of Nathan O’Brien and grandparents

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

Jurors will begin their second day of deliberations Thursday in the triple-murder trial of Douglas Garland.

The nine men and three women who make up the jury started the process of debating verdicts just after 5 p.m. MT Wednesday following a day of exhaustive instructions from Justice David Gates.

Garland, 57, 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.

“Your sole duty is to decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty,” Gates told the jury.

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

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

They were told they could find Garland guilty of three counts of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter; find him not guilty; or a combination of those options.

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

“You will have to use your common sense,” Gates told jurors as they decide if Garland intended to cause the deaths of Nathan, Alvin and Kathy.

They were told to consider each of the deaths separately. The justice gave them a “decision tree” he made for each of the victims to aid in reaching verdicts.

Watch below: The jury in the trial of Douglas Garland was sequestered and began deliberating Wednesday, Feb. 15. Nancy Hixt describes the detailed final instructions given to the jurors.

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

The trio was last seen alive June 29, 2014 after an estate sale at the Liknes home in southwest Calgary. Nathan had stayed with his grandparents for a sleepover.

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The following day Nathan’s mother, Jennifer O’Brien, found the house “covered in blood.”

It was four days after their disappearance that Garland’s truck was identified by his sister as the suspect’s vehicle. She recognized it on the news shown from CCTV. The truck had been caught on tape circling the Liknes home.


That night, RCMP converged on the Garland farm, prepared for a hostage rescue.

But Nathan, Alvin and Kathy were not found. Their bodies were never recovered.

What police did find was a burn barrel still smouldering.

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

DNA of all three victims was found on the Garland property.

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

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.

DNA of Nathan was found on the handle of a meat saw and also on the pair of rubber boots.

READ MORE: Crown asks jury to convict Douglas Garland on 3 counts of 1st-degree murder

Forty-eight witnesses were called and 89 exhibits tendered during the trial.

“You are the judges of facts,” Gates said.

The jury will deliberate from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily until they reach unanimous verdicts.

Gates told court if the 12 jurors can’t reach a unanimous decision, a mistrial will be declared and a new trial would have to be held.