Murder trial hears Richard Oland’s steamy text exchanges with mistress

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The cellphone of murdered multimillionaire Richard Oland was never found, but steamy messages and text exchanges with his mistress were captured on a computer backup program.

“I need your body,” Diana Sedlacek wrote in a message late on July 5, 2011 – the day before Oland, 69, was bludgeoned to death in his Saint John office.

The texts were heard Wednesday at his son Dennis Oland’s second-degree murder trial.

Sedlacek also wrote romantically about the fireflies at night and sent kisses. “Snuggle me up,” she texted.

The response from Oland reads: “Snuggle up KKK (kiss, kiss, kiss) in bed.”

The lovers, both married to others at the time, were planning a trip to Portland, Me., from July 15 to 19, 2011. But sometime during the evening or night of July 6, Oland was murdered in his office. He was struck over 40 times, mostly on the head, with both an axe-like weapon and a hammer.

The weapon was never found.

Crown prosecutors have told the trial that Dennis Oland, a 50-year-old investment adviser, was unhappy about his father’s extramarital affair, describing it as a “family concern.”

The text messages were read by Neil Walker, a digital forensics expert with the RCMP in Halifax. His testimony is being replayed on video from Oland’s first trial in 2015.

Oland’s conviction in 2015 was set aside on appeal and the new trial ordered. Crown prosecutors and defence lawyers have agreed, where possible, to re-use testimony from the first trial.

Walker uncovered the messages while searching a computer retrieved from the crime scene. Walker told the court that Oland’s iPhone had been plugged into the office computer for several hours on the afternoon of July 6, 2011. He said it was disconnected at 4:44 p.m. that day.

Defence lawyer Alan Gold said during his cross examination of Walker that Richard Oland often took his time responding to Sedlacek, taking as long as eight hours to answer her messages. Walker agreed that Oland “was not prompt” in responding.

As well, Gold established that Oland made an effort to disguise the affair. Her texts appeared with a contact photo of some of his male friends.

Earlier on Wednesday, Const. Dave MacDonald of Saint John police testified that folding and storing the jacket Dennis Oland wore on July 6, 2011, was not the best way to handle what became a key piece of evidence.

“If I had it to do over again I would do it differently, yes,” MacDonald said during cross-examination by Gold.

MacDonald said the brown, Hugo Boss sports jacket Oland wore when he visited his father late in the day on July 6, 2011, was seized by Saint John police about a week later. Because of its dark colour and tweed pattern, it was almost impossible to see stains with the naked eye.

The jacket was subsequently rolled up, placed in a paper bag 30 centimetres by 30 centimetres in size, and put in police storage.

When the jacket was forensically tested more than four months later, several bloodstains were detected. They were later matched to Richard Oland’s DNA profile.

“In retrospect, do you accept that raises the chances of stains transferring from one part of the jacket to another part?” asked Gold, referring to the folding of the jacket and its lengthy storage in a small bag.

“It could, yes,” replied MacDonald.

However, the police officer said he considered it a “dry” exhibit with little chance of transference. But he agreed with Gold that it should have been handled more carefully.

The court has been told the jacket, which was dry cleaned in the days following the murder, is the only article of Dennis Oland’s clothing found to have traces of his father’s blood and DNA on it.

During their search of Oland’s house, police seized clothing, shoes, bedding and items such as bathroom wastebaskets. But the only bloodstains connected to Richard Oland were those found on the brown jacket.

Oland’s defence team has suggested the lack of blood on items belonging to their client, including his car, his cell phone and most of his clothes, points to his innocence.

The defence team attempted, unsuccessfully, to have forensic evidence from the brown jacket ruled inadmissible.

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