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Garland Triple Homicide Case: First Two Weeks of Trial Highlighted by Forensic Evidence  October 1, 2016 – 03:16 pm
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A burning barrel, a broken lock, bloody footprints and more were presented as evidence by the prosecution during the first two weeks of Douglas Garland’s triple first degree murder trial, according to multiple media sources. Garland, 56, is accused of killing married couple Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their 5-year-old grandson Nathan O’Brien in the Canadian province of Calgary, Alberta in June 2014.

The three victims went missing on June 30 when O’Brien’s mother, Jennifer O’Brien, returned to pick her son up at the Liknes’ house and found the inside of the home vacant and covered in blood, according to her testimony, as reported by CBC News. Police were called, an Amber Alert was put out for O’Brien and an enormous search effort involving more than 200 officers was launched, but on July 15, it was announced that Garland would be charged with first degree murder in all three disappearances, despite the fact that no bodies were ever found.

With no bodies it seemed the prosecution faced a circumstantial case, however, the prosecution is relying on several key pieces of forensic evidence prove Garland is responsible for all three deaths.

The Crime Scene

In just the first week of the trial—which began on Jan. 16—multiple officers tested about the scene of the crime. Trevor Matthes, one of the first officers on the scene, described seeing a bloody footprint on the ground as well as bloody drag marks leading to the attached garage, the Calgary Herald reported. According to testimony by Matthes and fellow officer Derek Alexon, police discovered teeth in the house as well as an earring on the ground, which belonged to Kathy Liknes. Additionally, a 45-lb dumb bell in the home appeared to have blood on it. Jurors were shown crime scene photos displaying the enormous amount of blood, which officers testified was present on at least three levels of the four-story home.

The Broken Lock

A “master” locksmith who works for Schlage, the company that created the lock that was on the side door of the Liknes’ home, testified that the lock had been tampered with and disabled, CBC News reported. Specifically, he noted two drill holes on the lock and that the lock was displaced by 90 degrees. He told the court that one of the drill holes would have unlocked the door, allowing entry into the home. According to the Calgary Herald, police had previously said they did not notice any obvious signs of forced entry.

The Footprints

Multiple bloody footprints found in the Liknes’ home were analyzed by foot impression expert Lynn Gallen, who has worked on more than 4, 000 crime scenes, according to CBC News. After examination in a police laboratory, the shoe prints were matched to a Dr. Scholl’s shoe. Three shoe boxes were recovered from the Garland property during a police search, one of which was for a pair of Dr. Scholl’s Delta 2 size 13 wide shoes. However, the box was empty, so police bought an identical pairand compared it to the prints left at the scene. Gallen testified that at least one of the footprints “very nicely” matched the shoes that Garland had the box for, although the pair of shoes that went with the box were never found.

The Garland Property

Police said they were dispatched to Garland’s farm in Airdrie, Alberta on July 4 and July 5, at first hoping to find the missing family alive, but later to thoroughly search the property for potential evidence, reported the Calgary Herald. When officers arrived on the morning of July 5, they found a large burn barrel “still smoldering, ” as testified by Timothy Walker, a forensic identification officer. Walker extinguished the barrel and he and his team found several items within the ashes—pieces of bone, a pair of glasses and something Walker said could be a tooth.

On the next day of trial, Tuesday Jan. 24, jurors further heard about the evidence seized from the Garland farm – approximately 1, 400 different items,


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