ALBERTA

Brian Malley Trial: Neighbours Say They Heard Bomb That Killed Victoria Shachtay

01/20/2015 06:23 EST | Updated 03/22/2015 05:59 EDT
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RED DEER, Alta. - Evan Schielke was getting ready to go to work, standing on his apartment balcony, when he heard a loud bang and saw glass flying out of a window next door.

He called 911 as he ran over to help. Once inside, he smelled gun powder and saw debris the size of confetti littering the floor.

He then saw a dead woman sitting in a wheelchair at a dining room table.

"Her hair was pushed back," Schielke told a murder trial in Red Deer on Tuesday.

"She was slumped back ... There was blood coming from her head.

"There were black marks on her face."

A jury has heard Victoria Shachtay, 23, was killed instantly on Nov. 25, 2011, when she opened a Christmas present that had been left on the doorstep of her apartment in the town of Innisfail, south of Red Deer.

A pipe bomb had been placed inside a box in a gift bag and was rigged to go off as soon as it was opened.

Shachtay's financial adviser, Brian Malley, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the disabled woman's death, as well as charges of causing an explosion and sending a person an explosive device.

Crown prosecutor Anders Quist has told the jury that Shachtay received a settlement of $575,000 after a car crash that left her a quadriplegic. He plans to argue that Malley lost all of Shachtay's money, was going into debt by giving her money out of his own pocket and killed her to cut his losses.

Defence lawyer Bob Aloneissi has said evidence will show some of the woman's relatives had addiction problems and the real killer was someone who wanted to send a message to Shachtay or her family.

Schielke, the second witness to testify at the trial, told court he worked at a truck equipment company but was also a volunteer firefighter with some emergency training.

He said he put his head next to Shachtay's to determine if she was breathing, but didn't see any signs of life. He next went to assist Shachtay's live-in caregiver, who was screaming and crying at the front door.

Linda Braun, a school bus driver who lived across the street, testified that she ran over in her slippers when she heard the blast. She said Shachtay's eyes were open and she appeared to be dead.

She then helped to chase down some small dogs that had ran away from Shachtay's place during the commotion.

Braun also told the jury about two curious people she had seen in the area. A couple of weeks before the blast, she spotted a man standing on the corner taking photos in the direction of Shachtay's apartment building.

And seconds after the explosion, she said, a woman ran by her on the sidewalk without stopping to help out.

RCMP Cpl. Dan Gyonyor testified officers spent several days examining Shachtay's apartment and, later, Malley's home. Inside his garage, they found gunpowder.

And tire tracks outside Shachtay's building had similarities to tires on Malley's car but the tracks were not detailed enough to confirm or rule out a match.

Gyonyor said five fingerprints were also located on Shachtay's front door. None matched Malley's prints and one came from someone who has never been identified.

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