WARNING: This story contains graphic details and testimony that some may find disturbing
CALGARY — The Crown painted a dark picture Monday of the man it believes brutally killed a couple and their five-year-old grandson over a grudge about a patent for an oilfield pump.
"Doug Garland is all about domination,'' prosecutor Shane Parker said in his closing arguments at Garland's trial. "He neither forgave nor forgot. He stewed.''
Garland, 57, is charged with first-degree murder in the disappearance of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and Nathan O'Brien, who was on a sleepover at his grandparents' Calgary home.
Parker said Garland's grudge against Alvin Liknes over the pump they both had worked on was long-standing. He also said the accused fantasized about Kathy Liknes. Court heard during the trial that photos of her were found in Garland's deleted computer files.
"What you will absolutely have no doubt concluding is that Garland murdered all three," Parker told the jury.
The Crown believes the Likneses and Nathan were attacked in the couple's home on June 30, 2014, and that DNA and blood evidence suggests they were still alive when they were taken to Garland's farm north of Calgary.
A blood pattern expert testified that blood belonging to Nathan O'Brien and Alvin and Kathy Liknes was found in the Liknes' home. (Photo: CP)
Parker pointed to the bloody handprint of a child which he said indicated Nathan was bracing himself while walking through the home. He also noted that Alvin Liknes's blood trail would suggest he tried to fight off his attacker on the way out.
"They were not going out willingly. They were still alive,'' Parker said.
The lawyer also reminded the jury that closed-circuit security video showed three bodies under a white tarp in the back of a truck like the one Garland drove.
"Nathan, Kathy and Alvin, in these photos are prisoners being held against their will,'' Parker said.
"He neither forgave nor forgot. He stewed."
Parker briefly showed an aerial photo taken on July 1, 2014, that he said showed the diaper-clad bodies of Alvin and Kathy and the smaller body of Nathan lying near a burning barrel.
"It is a devastating image to see the deceased in this manner. It is devastating and conclusive evidence to find Douglas Garland guilty,'' he argued.
Douglas Garland is escorted into a Calgary police station in connection with the disappearance of Nathan O'Brien and his grandparents in Calgary, Alta., July 14, 2014. (Photo: Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
"This is as close as you get, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, to an autopsy photo for this case. Kathy and Alvin were diapered. This was a very deliberate murder. You can still visualize Nathan curled up near grandma.''
Parker told the jury that Garland had researched autopsies and the purchase of autopsy kits. The content of a file labelled "gore" on Garland's computer showed men and women diapered and restrained. It also included pictures of dismembered people.
The courtroom was full Monday and included several members of the Liknes and O'Brien families, who issued a public statement.
"The last five weeks have taken a heavy toll on us. It has been unbearable for our family and friends to endure the gruesome details that have been presented throughout the trial,'' it read.
"We know this has also been hard on the members of the jury and we thank them for their service. Nothing will bring Nathan, Alvin and Kathy back to us, but we can only hope the court will see justice done in their names.''
Alvin Liknes (left), Nathan O'Brien (centre) and Kathy Liknes (right.) (Photo: Calgary Police Service)
Parker cautioned the jury to be wary of conspiracy theories.
"This is not a case of someone faking their death, a murder-suicide or whisking away Nathan. These were living and breathing people, grandparents, a five-year-old with wonderful parents and family,'' he said.
"You can rightly conclude all three are deceased. In fact only fragments were found, not whole bodies ... Garland did not want you to have the information the corpses would have provided.''
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