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Douglas Garland appeals 3 murder convictions, calls sentence ‘excessive and harsh’

Douglas Garland is escorted into a Calgary police station in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents in Calgary, Alta., on July 14, 2014.
Douglas Garland is escorted into a Calgary police station in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents in Calgary, Alta., on July 14, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Convicted killer Douglas Garland has filed an appeal of his three first-degree murder convictions and sentence.

The defence filed the appeal moments before court closed Friday, Global News confirmed with the Alberta Court of Appeal.

Garland was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years after a jury convicted him of three counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

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

The trio was violently attacked in the Liknes home in southwest Calgary then taken to the Garland farm where they were tortured, killed, dismembered and their bodies destroyed. DNA of each of the victims was found at the Airdrie property.

Defence cited 10 grounds of appeal, many of which claim the trial judge erred in law.

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“The trial judge erred by engaging in speculation in making findings of facts on sentencing,” reads the appeal.

In sentencing, Justice David Gates found Garland captured, restrained, tortured, killed, dismembered and burned the bodies of Nathan and his grandparents.

The appeal also states “the trial judge’s comments to jury about coping with disturbing evidence reflected bias, was prejudicial to defence’s case and undermined the presumption of innocence.”

READ MORE: Justice tells Douglas Garland triple-murder jury ‘yesterday was difficult’

Defence is also claiming the consecutive period of parole ineligibility is “excessive and harsh” in the circumstances.

The appeal also states the victim impact statements “exceed the scope” provided by the Criminal Code.

Watch below: Douglas Garland was sentenced Feb. 17, 2017. Nancy Hixt reports.

Douglas Garland receives life without parole for 75 years
Douglas Garland receives life without parole for 75 years

Garland was attacked at the Edmonton Institution March 6.

The 57-year-old had just been transferred to the federal maximum security prison from the Calgary Remand Centre that morning.

Global News confirmed he was found breathing but unresponsive in his cell at approximately 9 p.m. then rushed to hospital.

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The same day Garland was sentenced he was beaten at the Calgary Remand Centre and rushed to hospital.  He suffered soft tissue injuries and was returned to the provincial jail two days later. Alberta Justice continues to investigate that incident.

Four fellow inmates have been charged with aggravated assault including Brandon Richards, 34, Michael Bohdan, 30, Connor Skipper, 20, and Tristan Thom, 18.

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) and the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) are investigating the most recent incident.