An Ottawa man facing charges of first-degree murder in the 2007 triple homicide of retired tax judge Alban Garon, Garon's wife and a neighbour had a hatred of taxes and those who collect them, and had earlier tried to lure Garon to his home, a Crown lawyer told an Ottawa courtroom.
Ian Bush, 61, pleaded not guilty Monday to three first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Garon, 77, his 73-year-old wife Raymonde, and their friend Marie-Claire Beniskos, 78.
The three were found bound, gagged and beaten to death in the Garons's 10th-floor apartment at 1510 Riverside Dr. on June 30, 2007.
In his opening address to jurors Wednesday in an Ontario Superior courtroom, Crown attorney Tim Wightman outlined the evidence he expects to present over the course of the months-long trial, including details of how police hit several investigative roadblocks.
Wightman described Bush's hatred of taxation and belief that taxation in all forms was "an abomination."
Wightman said the Crown will present evidence from Bush's acrimonious interactions with the tax court in the 1990s and 2000s, as well as his distrust of the Canada Revenue Agency, at the time known as Revenue Canada.
Bush sent letters to Revenue Canada using "arrogant and insulting" language, and also sent a letter to Alban Garon inviting him to a fictitious court proceeding at Bush's home, Wightman told the court.
Victims had bags around heads
Alban Garon suffered extensive blunt-force injuries to his head, including a "bloodletting" skull fracture, according to Wightman. A bag was placed around his head and a noose was tied around his neck and the bag, he said.
Raymonde Garon sustained a shoulder fracture and Beniskos suffered fractured ribs. Both women were hog-tied with bags tied over their heads, and both died of suffocation, Wightman said.
For 10 days, police investigators and forensic experts took evidence from the apartment. There were no signs of struggle or overturned furniture, he said.
Police leads on shoe prints taken from the scene led nowhere, as did DNA evidence that was cross-referenced with the national DNA registry, Wightman said.
Police had video surveillance footage from the nearby Hurdman bus station, but he said it yielded no immediate suspects.
A handyman at the Riviera condominium building told police he had an encounter with a serious-looking man holding a bag in the elevator who he had never seen before, but that he couldn't positively identify the person.
Wightman said Raymonde Garon had earlier told friends about an odd encounter at her apartment when a man claiming to be a delivery person asked if her husband was home to receive a package.
When she replied that her husband wasn't home but she could accept the package for him, the man said it was in his truck and that he'd return the next day.
Police investigators canvassed local delivery companies but no leads emerged, Wightman said.
DNA discovery in 2015
The break in the investigation came early in 2015 when investigators obtained a DNA sample from Bush.
Wightman told the jury an expert from the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto will testify that Bush's DNA matches DNA taken from the Garons's apartment.
He also told the jury the shoe imprint taken from the apartment in 2007 matches the type of shoe found on a photo on a memory stick found in the rafters of Bush's home.
In Bush's home police also found a sawed-off .22-calibre rifle and ammunition, as well as knives, an iron bar with tape on one end, and plastic bags that contained suffocation warnings, said Wightman.
Police also found a journal with the words "people who collect taxes are the lowest form of humanity. They are like the extortionist Jews," said Wightman.
Investigators also found a numbered list, entitled "Process," along with identification cards for a government employee, a hydro employee, a DHL delivery person, and an RCMP identification card.
A fanny pack was found in the home as well, said Wightman. He said Bush's son will testify he recognized his father in surveillance video from Hurdman station because of his unique gait and the fanny pack.
Bush was formally charged with three counts of first-degree murder in February 2015. He was found fit to stand trial after a psychiatric assessment.
Wife's brother found bodies
It was Raymonde Garon's brother, Jean-Pierre Lurette, also a resident in the condo building, who found them.
He went to their apartment to check in on them that morning because they were not answering their phone. He found a light on and the door unlocked, according to Wightman.
Lurette testified in court Wednesday afternoon, speaking French through an English interpreter.
Asked by Wightman what he saw in the room, Lurette said "three people bleeding on the carpet in the living room … I panicked and left quickly." He returned to his condo and called 911.
Friend and sister testify
The last people to speak to Raymonde Garon and Marie-Claire Beniskos also testified Wednesday afternoon.
Gisèle Beauparlant told court she recalled speaking to her sister, Beniskos, between 9 and 9:30 the morning of June 29, 2007. Pierrette Bourdeau, who told court she had known Raymonde Garon for more than 50 years, said she last spoke to Garon on the phone at about 9:20 the morning of June 29.
She said it was a short conversation, as the Garons were preparing to go to their cottage.
The trial is expected to last two months.