POLITICS

Accused Alberta bomber was victim's financial adviser, former cop

05/28/2012 01:02 EDT | Updated 07/28/2012 05:12 EDT
INNISFAIL, Alta. - Police say a financial adviser charged with the doorstep bombing death of one of his disabled clients once had a career in law enforcement.

RCMP confirmed Monday that Brian Malley, 55, was a member of a municipal police force in Alberta about 30 years ago for a short period of time, but they wouldn't say where.

"Certainly it causes some concerns," said RCMP Supt. Curtis Zablocki. "However, at this point there's nothing to suggest that (his police experience) has any bearing or impact on this particular investigation or the commission of this particular crime."

Malley, who lived in Innisfail in central Alberta, was charged on the weekend with one count of first-degree murder. He is also accused of sending a person an explosive device and causing an explosion likely to cause serious injury.

Victoria Shachtay, 23, died Nov. 25 when a hand-delivered package left on the doorstep at her townhouse in Innisfail blew up.

Shachtay, who used a wheelchair after she was paralyzed in a car crash in 2004, had a seven-year-old daughter, who was at school at the time of the blast.

Police wouldn't give many details about any reasons for the killing, but said they were looking into whether the murder was financially motivated.

There have been reports that Shachtay was living off a $600,000 settlement she had received from the crash and that Malley was handling the money.

Shachtay's sister, Sarah, said she had met Malley on a number of occasions over the years and in the beginning "we all trusted him."

"Just like knowing him and meeting him he doesn't seem like the kind to do that," she said.

Shachtay said she became suspicious immediately after her sister's death.

"She was a loving, caring mother. Because he handled her finances and just the way it all undid, it made more sense," she said.

"She was so loved and cared for and she was such a good person that you don't really have a lot of people to look at in a circumstance like this."

Shachtay's family was both angry and relieved after the arrest.

"It was just as if a large weight had been removed," said Shachtay's father Victor. "This is just great news for us. The family was experiencing a lot of trepidation that this fellow was still in the general public. We're just so happy that the fellows down here got it done in such a speedy manner."

But he added that knowing the accused is upsetting.

"It's no comfort. He was a close member of the family but what are you going to do?"

Malley appeared via closed-circuit television in a Red Deer court, where his case was put over to July 9.

For investigators there's a certain feeling of satisfaction.

Police say that at its peak, the investigation involved more than 70 investigators who worked thousands of hours to gather and examine evidence related to the murder.

"I've done this work for 24 years. I've never seen in my experience this type of crime involving an explosive device. Very few of my colleagues either have seen that kind of crime," said Insp. Garrett Woolsey.

"It's incredibly satisfying for the homicide investigation team to at least have gathered the evidence to bring the case to charge."