Criminal Cases

Douglas Garland trial: killed an inventor and his wife and grandson

Prosecutors told a Calgary court that Douglas Garland killed a Calgary couple and grandson over a “petty grudge,” over a patent dispute and burned their bodies in a barrel after killing them.

In her opening statement, Crown prosecutor Vicki Faulkner said Garland was angry with Alvin Liknes over a 2007 dispute relating to a patent for a pump.

Alvin Liknes filed 5 Canadian patent applications for pumps between 2000 and 2009:

Patent Number Title

  1. 2676833           APPARATUS FOR PUMPING FLUIDS FROM A WELL, filed 2009-08-27
  2. 2478953           METHOD AND PUMP APPARATUS FOR REMOVING LIQUIDS FROM WELLS, filed 2004-08-24

Alvin Liknes also filed 6 USPTO patent applications for pumps between 2000 and 2011:

Method And Apparatus For Removing Liquids From Wells, US 20060045767 A1, filed on 7 Oct 2004

Apparatus For Pumping Fluids From A Well, US 20100071891 A1, filed on 22 Sep 2008

US20100071891A1-20100325-D00000-Alvin Liknes-well-pump

Douglas Garland is not named in any Canadian patent applications.

Douglas Garland, 56, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in connection with the missing family members who were last seen June 29, 2014, namely, Alvin Liknes, his wife Kathy Liknes, and their grandson, Nathan O’Brien.

He said “not guilty” in a loud, clear voice when asked for a plea at the outset of his trial.

In her opening statement, the prosecutor told the jury that when Garland learned through internet searches that Alvin and his wife, Kathy Liknes, were planning to leave Calgary, Garland finally decided to act on his grudge.

Forensic analysis of Garland’s computer hard drive will be presented as evidence, said Faulkner, showing research on murder, “how to kill without emotion,” torture and autopsies.

Five-year-old Nathan O’Brien was at his grandparents’ home, having an impromptu sleepover, when the trio was taken.

Nathan’s mother, Jennifer O’Brien testified, that the morning after the sleepover she found a “bloody scene” inside the home with blood on the beds, walls and in the kitchen.

“I immediately saw pools of blood and hand marks of blood on the wall.”

Jurors heard evidence was later found “all over” a rural property just north of Calgary, where Garland lived with his parents.

Alvin and Garland’s relationship sours in 2007

Allen Liknes was prosecution’s second witness.

  • Allen Liknes is Alvin Liknes’ son. He was married to Douglas Garland’s sister Patti at the time the family disappeared.
  • Both Allen and Patti were instrumental in alerting police to information that caused Garland to become a suspect the day the trio was discovered missing, according to the Crown’s opening statement.
  • Allen testified that he, Alvin and Garland had worked together around 2006-2007, when his father hired Garland to do some wiring for a pump the father and son were developing.
  • Alvin Liknes patented the oil and gas pump in 2006 and 2007.
  • Garland worked on wiring for the pump, but the relationship soured around 2007, and by 2010, Alvin Liknes stopped speaking to Garland, his son told jurors.
  • The relationship between Alvin and Garland disintegrated beginning in 2007 when Garland became upset that he had been let go from the business after he stopped answering the phone, Liknes testified.
  • By 2010, he and his father stopped talking to Garland because Alvin had had enough.
  • Allen told officers about the long-standing grudge Garland held against Alvin on June 30, 2014.
  • In cross examination, Allen Likes told defence lawyer Kim Ross that Garland never threatened his father.
  • “He’s not confrontational at all. If anything he’s sneaky.”

Archie Garland’s testimony:

  • Archie Garland, 86, is Douglas Garland’s father:
  • Douglas Garland was upset with Alvin Liknes because of work they’d done together on an oil and gas pump.
  • “Alvin didn’t pay Dougie some money and that didn’t sit well.”

Prosecutors Shane Parker and Vicki Faulkner expect to call about 60 witnesses.

The defence lawyers Kim Ross and Jim Lutz have not stated whether they will call any evidence.

Douglas Garland Trial Headlines:

Read a CBC reporter’s live tweets about the Douglas Garland triple murder trial

Douglas Garland had book on how to dispose of dead bodies, triple-murder trial hears 2017 Jan 24

On the same day triple-murder suspect Douglas Garland was arrested and photographed with injuries covering his body, officers were scouring the farm where he lived and seizing a number of items prosecutors would later introduce as evidence.

Douglas Garland had book on how to dispose of dead bodies, triple-murder trial hears