Malley trial: Testimony from a forensic explosives and gunpowder expert today

Testimony from a forensic explosives and gunpowder expert today indicates the gunpowder used in the bomb that killed a wheelchair-bound Innisfail mother was similar to gunpowder recovered from the residence of the financial advisor accused of killing her.

Testimony from a forensic explosives and gunpowder expert today indicates the gunpowder used in the bomb that killed a wheelchair-bound Innisfail mother was similar to gunpowder recovered from the residence of the financial advisor accused of killing her.

Victoria Shachtay, 23, was killed on Nov. 25, 2011, when she opened what she believed to be a Christmas present. It was a bomb and she died instantly.

Brian Malley, 57, is charged with first-degree murder and is on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Court has been told that Malley was Shachtay’s financial advisor and had invested more than half a million dollars from a settlement she received from a 2004 car crash. That car crash left her paralyzed.

By 2011 the money was gone, testimony indicates, and the Crown believes Malley had made $44,000 in payments to Shachtay from his own pocket.

Nigel Hearns, the forensic explosives expert, analyzed the small grains of gunpowder left at the scene that were a part of the bomb that killed Shachtay.

A typical improvised explosive device has an excess amount of gunpowder, leading to the rapid explosion of the container, he said, which was evident at the scene.

When he entered the Shachtay residence, he said he immediately saw signs of an explosion.

“Walls were crushed, glass was broken and debris was strewn everywhere,” said Hearns. “It was a mess.”

Small grains of gunpowder were analyzed at the RCMP forensics lab in Ottawa. Hearns compared them with the brand of gunpowder seized from Malley’s residence in May 2012. They were similar, however the gunpowder used in the bomb is a commercially available brand.

Testimony continues today.