Appeal Court upholds sentence for man convicted of killing Calgary couple, grandson

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CALGARY — Alberta's top court has upheld a life sentence with no chance of parole for 75 years for a man who killed a Calgary couple and their young grandson.

A jury found Douglas Garland guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the 2014 slayings of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and five-year-old Nathan O'Brien.

A trial judge had ruled the automatic life sentence with a minimum 25 years before parole eligibility needed to be increased because of aggravating factors, including Nathan's young age and Garland not expressing remorse.

Garland's lawyers called the parole period vengeful, since he will be 129 years old before he can apply for release.

But in a 2-1 decision, the Appeal Court ruled the sentence isn't unduly harsh or unfit given the seriousness of the crime and Garland's moral culpability.

Because of the split decision, Garland has the right appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2021.

The Canadian Press