Malley asked friend to buy gunpowder, court hears

After his arrest for murder, an Innisfail financial advisor and home-builder asked his hunting buddy and business partner to buy a specific brand of gunpowder, court heard on Tuesday.

After his arrest for murder, an Innisfail financial advisor and home-builder asked his hunting buddy and business partner to buy a specific brand of gunpowder, court heard on Tuesday.

Hunting buddy Bob Yanew was testifying at the trial of Brian Malley, 57, who faces first-degree murder charges in the bombing death of Victoria Shachtay, 23, of Innisfail.

The trial is being held before a jury in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Yanew was a life-long friend of Malley and the two were co-owners of Kodiak Homes, a real estate development company, along with a third person.

Yanew said he visited Malley at the Red Deer Remand Centre shortly after his arrest in May 2012 for the Nov. 25, 2011, killing of Shachtay.

Malley asked Yanew to buy a bottle of gunpowder for him when the two visited while Malley was at the Red Deer Remand Centre.

“I was pretty much in shock,” said Yanew, adding he did not act on the request.

“Him asking me to do this was even more of a shock. He was a brother to me and I couldn’t understand why he wanted to get me involved and incriminate myself.”

Yanew said he was accompanied to the remand centre by his wife and by Malley’s wife Christine.

Yanew said he told the third partner in the home-building company about Malley’s. Twenty-five days later, Yanew gave his second statement to police, but his first including the conversation about buying gunpowder for Malley.

At first, Yanew struggled with disclosing to police what the conversation was about, testifying that he wanted to protect his friend. But he told the RCMP that Malley had asked him to buy gunpowder.

In other statements to police and during his testimony during the preliminary inquiry before the trial, Yanew said the note contained either the name of the store the two went to or a specific brand of gunpowder. In his testimony Tuesday, Yanew was certain Malley had asked him to buy gunpowder.

Malley later left a message on Yanew’s phone saying that what they had talked about at the Red Deer Remand Centre had been taken care of.

The four people only had a half-hour to talk at the remand centre, but Malley asked that he have the last five minutes of the allotted time to speak to Yanew alone.

Yanew said Malley mouthed that he was being set up by the RCMP and that they were going to lose one of the containers of gunpowder.

Malley said he had bought two containers of gunpowder and told Yanew that if police only showed one, Malley “knew what they were trying to do.”

During the police search of Malley’s residence on May 25, 2012, they found one container of gunpowder.

It is alleged that Malley built a bomb using a six-inch long steel nipple, pipe with threading at both ends, and filled it with Alliant Blue Dot Double Smokeless gunpowder. That bomb was then disguised in a Christmas bag and put on Shachtay’s doorstep.

Shachtay was killed when she opened the gift, detonating the bomb.

Shachtay invested more than $750,000 with Malley, $575,000 of which came from a 2007 settlement. Shachtay was paralyzed in a 2004 car crash. The settlement and the investment were meant to provide for her and her daughter.

By 2011, the money was gone from her investment.

Malley and his mother-in-law are suing Yanew and the other former co-owner of Kodiak Homes. Yanew and the other partner liquidated the company after the charges were laid against Malley.

The trial continues today in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench. The trial, already in its fourth week, is expected to run to the end of February.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com