A microscopic fragment of DNA found at the scene and gunpowder and lightbulbs that could be used to create the pipe bomb that killed Victoria Shachtay point to Brian Malley as her murderer, a Crown prosecutor told a jury on Monday.
“Malley’s DNA was on the piece of tape, paper and cardboard,” said Quist, referring to the remnants of the note that had been placed on a supposed Christmas package left on Shachtay’s Innisfail doorstep on Nov. 25, 2011.
When she opened the package the bomb exploded, killing the wheelchair-bound single mother of a seven-year-old girl instantly.
“Mr. Malley’s DNA was on the bomb package because he put the bomb package together,” said Quist in his closing submission in the more than five-week-old trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.
Malley, 57, is charged with first-degree murder and a pair of explosives-related charges.
A particular brand of lightbulb that Malley was known to have purchased was the same as the one used in the bomb, said Quist. Malley was known to have purchased two containers of gun powder but police only turned up one in a search of his home.
The other “all went into the bomb, in my submission.”
There was also evidence that Malley had bought a steel pipe, the same size and type as the pipe bomb.
The defence had argued during trial the pipe was used as a sleeve around a gas line at Malley’s mother-in-law’s house.
Quist said that was a “complete sham” and an attempt to provide an innocent explanation for his purchase of the pipe.
When all evidence is taken into account there is no reasonable doubt of Malley’s guilt, he said in closing.
“I urge you to find him guilty as charged.”
Defence lawyer Bob Aloneissi said convicting his client would be like trying to fit “a square peg into a round hole.”
“We have a huge gap, a gap the size of the Grand Canyon. Where is the real, hard evidence?” Aloneissi asked the jury.
He said they can’t presume Malley bought the parts to build the bomb, or that he built the bomb, or that he delivered it to Shachtay’s doorstep.
“Don’t convict Brian Malley on suspicion,” the defence lawyer said.
Evidence showed Malley purchased a pipe six-inch-long with a two-inch-wide galvanized steel nipple (pipe with threading at both ends) and one end cap in July 2011.
Defence argued the pipe Malley bought was the one recovered from the yard of Malley’s mother-in-law’s Edmonton home.
Aloneissi said there is no evidence Malley purchased another pipe and end caps.
He said there is also no evidence that his client knew how to make a bomb so dangerous that loose gun powder in the threads of the pipe could ignite from friction by screwing on an end cap.
Aloneissi said materials found at his client’s home were for use in construction or hunting — not bomb making — as Malley was a home builder and hunter.
He said the bottle of gunpowder found in his basement was sealed. The light switch used in the bomb was not the same type his client possessed, and there was no evidence he bought the battery cap used in the bomb.
He said experts could not say exactly whose DNA profile was found at the scene on a piece of paper the size of confetti, and if the DNA was a match it could have been inadvertently transferred.
To say that Malley killed Shachtay to cut his financial loses was a red herring, Aloneissi said.
He said his client earned $600,000 a year and had a reputation of giving to others.
“(Malley) was free to pay or not to pay. He was under no obligation to pay her money and he could stop any time.”
Malley was Shachtay’s financial advisor. She, who was paralyzed in a 2004 car crash, had given him $575,000 from a 2007 injury settlement.
When her money was gone, Malley paid Shachtay $44,000 out of his own pocket and credit.
Justice Kirk Sisson is due to present his charge to the jury this morning and then the jury will begin deliberating.