The murder trial that took New Brunswick by storm

How Saint John, one of Canada’s most pleasant places, fell into the grips of the Oland family’s trial of money and murder


 
Dennis Oland and his wife Lisa head from the Law Courts as the jury begins their deliberations at his murder trial in Saint John, N.B. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Oland is charged with second degree murder in the death of his father, Richard Oland, who was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. Andrew Vaughan/CP

Dennis Oland and his wife Lisa head from the Law Courts as the jury begins their deliberations at his murder trial in Saint John, N.B. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. Oland is charged with second degree murder in the death of his father, Richard Oland, who was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. Andrew Vaughan/CP

Clad in red, Judith Meinert slipped into the courthouse elevator with a man accused of murder and his team of defence lawyers: “Good morning, everybody!” Offering high-fives and arm squeezes all around, she joined her friends in the courtroom and claimed her front-pew seat to watch the proceeding, which she did nearly every weekday during the September-to-December trial. When another woman began handing out candy canes, Meinert enforced the courtroom rules: “No gum, no treats, no candy, no nothin’.” Their preliminary prattle spanned complaints about the price of Lego to boasts about 29 deer spotted on someone’s front lawn, until the sheriff and judge entered the room. “Here they come, here they come,” the audience whispered.

Meinert, a 75-year-old retired schoolteacher, listened with ears perked to the arguments for and against Dennis Oland, a 47-year-old man who was charged with bludgeoning his millionaire father, Richard, to death in July 2011. The trial was one of the longest and most expensive in the history of Saint John, N.B., a port city of 140,000 people who usually share a remarkably rainproof good nature.

While Meinert and her fellow observers didn’t know Dennis personally, the case intrigued them because of the rare ghastliness of the murder—Richard’s secretary had found him in a puddle of blood, with 45 wounds from a hammer-like weapon—and also because the Oland family, which founded and operates Moosehead Brewery and other local companies, is a fixture of Saint John.

Dennis was the last person seen with Richard at his office the evening of the death, and was suspected to have lashed out at his father for hoarding a fortune, betraying Dennis’s mother, Connie, by keeping a mistress, and for mistreating Dennis as a child. “It’s like an opera,” said Meinert. “There’s blood, sex, money, everything.”

Judith Meinert outside of the courthouse for the Oland Trial. (Photograph by Meagan Campbell)

Judith Meinert outside of the courthouse for the Oland Trial. (Photograph by Meagan Campbell)

In the hours before the attack, Dennis had seemed flustered. Camera footage showed he went to and from his father’s office three times that evening, and crossed and re-crossed the one-way street out front before driving up it the wrong way. The Crown had binders full of witnesses to testify they had seen Dennis at a wharf that afternoon, where Dennis said he had picked up beer bottles but didn’t remember what he did with them. He had been carrying a cloth bag—Dennis said that people called it his “man purse”—the same one he had later brought to his father’s office. Clues pointing to the motivation for murder showed that, after losing money through divorce and chronic overspending, Dennis had taken a collateral mortgage, asked for early paycheques from his job at CIBC and borrowed $538,000 from his father. After Richard’s death, Dennis’s debt to his father was erased. He also inherited $150,000 (Richard had left most of his money in a fund for Connie), and became co-director of two of his father’s companies and president of one. Police found three drops of Richard’s blood on the sports jacket Dennis had worn that evening, which he had had dry cleaned the next day.

But Alan Gold, one of the four well-known defence lawyers, pointed to the disturbing mystery of the case: the spots of blood could have been months or years old at the time of Richard’s death, and were so subtle that the dry cleaner hadn’t noticed them. With the crime scene crusted with 360-degree blood spatter, how could Dennis’s jacket and other clothes have stayed so clean? Police had found no evidence of someone washing off blood in the office bathroom, so why was there no blood in Dennis’s car or on his “man purse?” A scuba-diving search around the wharf and multiple searches of Dennis’s house had revealed no murder weapon. And how could Dennis have pummelled his father around the time he had been seen in a store buying milk and at home rounding up his free-range hens? Gold spoke to the jury for 3½ hours in his closing arguments, spoon-feeding them reasonable doubt.

This is photo 92 of Exhibit P-70. A photo of Richard Oland's bloody shirt as evidence in Dennis Oland's trial. Court exhibit.

This is photo 92 of Exhibit P-70. A photo of Richard Oland’s bloody shirt as evidence in Dennis Oland’s trial. Court exhibit.

“He really hammered it home,” Meinert whispered to her neighbour. “Whoops, bad choice of words.” Patty Dow, 58, helped Meinert annotate the proceedings. “The prosecution should show more expression,” she said. “I’d like to see him just a little more punchy.” Despite the strength of the defence, Meinert and Dow believed Dennis was guilty, while about half the community belonged to the other school of thought.

The women were still captivated toward the end of the eight-hour day, as Justice John Walsh explained the forensic concept of “capillary electrophoresis” and the jury members, like lifeguards, had to work to stay alert. As Walsh gave them a recess and encouraged them to “keep on truckin’,” Dow relaxed into the pew and elbowed her neighbour. “This would be a great time for an ice cold beer.”

Richard Oland x330Moosehead Brewery is a focal point of New Brunswick. Set in central Saint John, the factory features a wall of original bricks from its founding by Susannah Oland in 1867, as well as a taxidermic moose to greet guests. Inside, Patrick Oland, Richard’s nephew, wears a reflective vest over his dress shirt and takes a visitor underground to the kegs. While Patrick and his brother, Andrew, run Moosehead, Richard made his $37 million by establishing investment and transport companies, always with the merciless determination of Duddy Kravitz. When one of his former companies, Brookville Transport, declared bankruptcy, he never repaid the money he owed the mechanics. He poached clients from smaller trucking companies and would have put Bud the Spud out of business if he felt like it. He verbally abused his wife and four children, including Dennis, but remained devoted to his beloved sailboat.

When Richard donated money, he attached all sorts of strings to it. He helped organize and sponsor the 1985 Canada Games in Saint John, as well as build an entire Catholic church in Rothesay, the town just outside Saint John where the Oland estate is set. But, as Rothesay Mayor William Bishop explained, “he came in about two or three times a year and made sure I knew how the town should be run. He’s one of those people who gets right in your face to make sure you’re listening.”

Because Richard wanted a bird-releasing spectacle at the opening ceremony of the Games, Bishop had to keep a dove in his house for a month beforehand. “It drove me crazy, saying ‘coo, coo, coo.’ ” Elsewhere, Richard was notoriously stingy; he cut off funding to the Rothesay Pony Club, which his father had run at the family estate to teach people to ride horseback. Buskers at the Saint John city market complained that Richard never tipped.

Richard (Dick) Oland of  Saint John, NB poses for a portrait in this undated file photo. (Cindy Wilson/Telegraph-Journal)

Richard (Dick) Oland of Saint John, NB poses for a portrait in this undated file photo. (Cindy Wilson/Telegraph-Journal)

Despite Richard’s reputation, the Olands blended in as ordinary New Brunswickers. Dennis’s kids went to public schools in Rothesay and joined sports clubs, and his father and uncles handed out beer around the yacht clubs, even to men in rowboats. “They seem to be just good, regular people in the community,” said Bishop. “I think you find that with Maritime families—the Irvings, the McCains, the Olands—they don’t try to dominate or take over. They play their role and they fit in. It seems embedded in us.” Richard went to Christmas parties at a local inn, which was “no big show,” said Bishop. “He was just an ordinary citizen.”

The family seemed equally ordinary among people in Saint John—a place where restaurant customers are inclined to offer a bite of dessert to the waitress, and drivers with high-speed windshield wipers will stop at a green light if the pedestrian waiting to cross looks cold enough. “The Olands don’t act like hoity-toity, uppity people,” said Dow. “They weren’t the royals,” echoed Barbara Pearson, whose daughter learned to ride at the Rothesay Pony Club. (In fact, the evening of the murder, Dennis said he was discussing genealogy with his father and discovered that their Oland ancestors were not aristocrats.) Indeed, this modesty isn’t new. Four generations of Olands are buried in a Rothesay cemetery across the street from a Dairy Queen, their gravestones as small as Halloween decorations. Even Gold, their lawyer from Toronto, who admits he is a “come-from-away-er,” acknowledged the culture. “While I’m not from here,” Gold told the jury in his closing arguments, “I’ve come to admire your way of life.”


Lisa Oland, wife of Dennis Oland, carries her husband's coat from the Law Courts where he was found guilty of second degree murder in the death of his father, Richard Oland, in Saint John, N.B. on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. Oland was taken into custody after the verdict was read. Richard Oland was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Lisa Oland, wife of Dennis Oland, carries her husband’s coat from the Law Courts where he was found guilty of second degree murder in the death of his father, Richard Oland, in Saint John, N.B. on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015. Oland was taken into custody after the verdict was read. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)

The trial sentenced the Olands to celebrity. For the 4½ years since Richard was found dead, rumours slow-cooked into theories involving a Russian mafia hitman and a psychopathic plan to “knock off Connie next.” The interest spanned age groups. “Some of my friends have different theories,” said Ben Morris, 15. In pubs, conversations shifted from comparing the heights of Christmas trees to debates about “circumstantial evidence” and the nature of evil.

Throughout the trial, Mayor Bishop received morning updates from a friend who drove to Saint John to watch. “We have coffee in the mornings, so he relays to us what’s going on,” he said. In the city, many people turned to Meinert, who briefed them each evening after court. “One time I had a pizza party with a bunch of nuns,” Meinert recalled. “They heard I was going, and they wanted to know everything. ‘Well what did the mistress say? What did he look like?’ Everything.” (The mistress, Diana Sedlacek, said she was at home with her husband the evening of the murder and had tried to reach Richard by phone).

Evidence raised in court meant the public did, in fact, learn just about everything. Exhibits made public included Dennis’s bank statements, child custody conditions and emails to his second wife with subject lines like “$$$,” along with text messages and selfies Richard sent to Sedlacek and details on his dry scalp condition, which, lawyers argued, could have caused the bloodstains on Dennis’s jacket during an innocent embrace. One of the Olands’ lawyers, William Teed, said the family’s right to privacy had been “run over by a truck.” The most curious observers took drives through Rothesay to scope out the family estate where Dennis’s family lives—its barns, horses and wobbly wooden fences causing their imaginations to flare with thoughts of Murdoch Mysteries. Lanterns glowing on the trees at night and footprints in the snow didn’t help the cause.

Over the course of the trial, many of the Olands retreated. Dennis’s kids were pulled out of school. The estate, where Dennis and his wife live, has a hedge almost as high as the net of the trampoline, as well as a “no trespassing” sign at the front of the laneway. In court, the family always kept to its reserved pews, and they recessed in a corner of the hallway with Timbits and coffee. The crime scene, where Richard’s associates still work, kept its curtains closed all day. Dennis’s wife, Lisa, started running an upscale, quirky consignment shop­—with a Burberry blouse on sale for $96 and a chart outlining how to dress for the Kentucky Derby—but an employee inside appeared uncomfortable at a mention of the case.

Perhaps most notably, the family chose not to disclose the location of Richard’s grave. He was not buried in the cemetery plot with his ancestors, even though there’s space.


Dennis Oland, accompanied by his mother Constance Oland, arrives for the start of his trial in Saint John, N.B. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Oland is charged with second degree murder in the death of his father. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)

Dennis Oland, accompanied by his mother Constance Oland, arrives for the start of his trial in Saint John, N.B. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015. Oland is charged with second degree murder in the death of his father. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)

Beginning on Dec. 15, Walsh took more than a day to instruct the jury. The Crown needed to prove Dennis’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and Walsh reminded the jury of myriad possible doubts, including the weakness of the blood and other DNA evidence on Dennis’s jacket. As Gold put it, “We shed our DNA as we go through life. We cough, we spit, we get nosebleeds, we pick scabs.” And some people in particular are DNA “shedders.” Other questions centred around the lack of evidence concerning a financial or emotional motive; a computer forensic expert hired by the family had found no antagonistic emails or other messages between Dennis and his father, even after mining an electronic history the size of “the Library of Congress 10 times over.”

Saint John Police Chief Bill Reid announced in a news conference Wednesday morning, Nov. 13, 2013 that Dennis Oland, 45, will face a second degree murder charge in the July, 2011 death of his father, Richard Oland. (Michael Hawkins/CP)

Saint John Police Chief Bill Reid announced in a news conference Wednesday morning, Nov. 13, 2013 that Dennis Oland, 45, will face a second degree murder charge in the July, 2011 death of his father, Richard Oland. (Michael Hawkins/CP)

That the Saint John police were controversially—and almost comically—sloppy sleuths helped to explain the lack of evidence. While working on the crime scene, officers used the bathroom for two days before it could be tested for blood or fingerprints, and they couldn’t always remember what they had touched around the office with bloodied gloves. The blood spatter expert didn’t arrive from Halifax until four days after the murder, by which time the body had been removed and spatter had dried and flaked. Officers touched the back door before testing it for fingerprints, didn’t interview some witnesses for 18 months, and didn’t photograph the back alleyway until three years after the crime.

The Saint John Police Department earned such little respect from Richard’s co-worker, Robert McFadden, that he refused to give a voluntary DNA sample, leading the police to seize a straw from his glass at East Side Mario’s. After a two-year investigation involving multiple house and underwater searches, police found no weapon. The New Brunswick Police Commission is investigating the investigation. As Gold put it, “This isn’t the police’s finest hour. Never has the police looked so long to find so little.”

The Saint John Police Force executed a search warrant at the home of Dennis Oland, son of Richard Oland, on Thursday. Photo: K‚tÈ Braydon/Telegraph-Journal

The Saint John Police Force executed a search warrant at the home of Dennis Oland, son of Richard Oland, on Thursday. Photo: K‚tÈ Braydon/Telegraph-Journal

Despite the darkness of the trial, all parties maintained a Maritime approach. When power cut out in the courthouse, leaving everyone in blackness for the second time during the trial, the judge simply said “Hm . . . ,” and a security guard in the lobby pointed out, “We’re not having much luck with this building.” When the judge had to dismiss one of the jurors before deliberations began (the jury had an extra member throughout the trial in case one got sick or otherwise couldn’t continue), he told them, “This is the part I really didn’t want to come to. I am compelled to express my personal, heartfelt thanks.”

Meinert built a camaraderie with “the regulars” who came to watch, and guards joked about charging them admission. Even when Meinert was absent for a funeral or volunteering gig, her new friends reserved her seat.

After just two days deliberating, the jury was decided. “It’s verdict time,” said Greg Marquis, a historian at the University of New Brunswick who is writing a book about the case. In response to an email alert from the court communications officer, Marquis and reporters flocked to court. Meinert was driving to Halifax to visit her family; Dow was in Moncton, and almost none of the other regulars arrived before the judge entered and the sheriff instructed the courtroom to rise. The audience—mostly Olands—sat back down and stayed rigid, as if posing for the sketch artist.


Guilty. Ninety-four days after the start of the trial, on a Saturday morning at 11:10, the judge announced the verdict. Dennis wept and cried, “Oh, no!” and “Oh, God!”, while Connie curled over in the pew and Dennis’s sister bent over her and cried on her back. Lisa turned to the jurors and said, “How could you do this?” Meinert was in the car, fixed to CBC Radio as her husband drove, when she heard the verdict in a news bulletin. “It’s a good thing I wasn’t driving,” she said. “I probably would’ve put the car off the road. I thought he was going to be found not guilty by reasonable doubt.” Meinert was equally shocked by Dennis’s outburst. “I think it just bushwhacked everybody because he had been so self-contained throughout the trial.”

A sentencing hearing was set for February, and police took Dennis into custody immediately. The maximum sentence for second-degree murder is 25 years without chance of parole, and all 12 jurors recommended giving no chance of parole for at least 10. “We are shocked and saddened,” said Connie in a statement. “Our faith in Dennis’s innocence has never wavered.” Patrick stated the same: “All Oland members are certain Dennis had nothing to do with the death of his father.”

Observers who still think Dennis isn’t guilty note that Richard had many enemies who wanted him dead. “Richard was a bad cat,” said Pearson. Mayor Bishop described the man’s funeral: “I don’t know how to put this . . . the church was packed, but there wasn’t a tear shed. People weren’t disturbed emotionally.”

Although Dennis has been found guilty, most people add the epithet “for now.” Right after the verdict came out, many Saint Johners expected the Olands to appeal and eventually win—largely because they have the money to hire “those highfalutin lawyers.” “I bet they’re making a pretty penny,” said Dow, adding she’s heard rumours that Gold, who defended the Hell’s Angels in 2004, makes $1,000 per hour. Although his rates aren’t public, other lawyers estimate a legal bill of between $2 million and $4 million for the defence alone, including the preliminary trial in December 2014. Gold confirmed that the defence plans to appeal.

Whatever their opinion on the verdict, fellow Saint John residents share sympathy for Dennis. “He’s a poor little pup who never grew up,” said Anne Fletcher, another trial regular. “He’s not my son but I feel for him.” They also feel for the rest of the Olands. Bishop predicted that “there won’t be any animosity toward the family. Connie’s such a nice person. I think once the thing is over, life will go on.”

Meinert described the trial’s finale: “It was a Shakespearian tragedy where everybody loses. The mother, who was so gracious throughout the trial, has lost her son for a while and her husband permanently.”

For Meinert and company, the end of the trial means their lives must also go on. “I can’t believe it. I don’t want to leave everybody,” Meinert said just before deliberations began. “It’s been a pleasure to meet you,” she told her friends. As the judge left the courtroom, Meinert approached each familiar face, no longer giving high fives but rather shoulder pats and hugs. In a city as quaint as Saint John, she will almost surely see them around; although, in case she doesn’t, she is already planning a one-year reunion. “Life as I know it will resume,” she said, “but when it’s time for sentencing I’ll be right back there. We certainly haven’t seen the end of this saga.”


 

The murder trial that took New Brunswick by storm

  1. Great article, great writing, Meagan Campbell. One note, Richard’s brother is Derek. Patrick is one of Derek’s son. Andrew is other son. My, this saga continues. I love opera and Meinert got it right with “There’s blood, sex, money, everything.” Once again, truth is better than fiction. Could you write it? One blogger is quoted to have said, “Wish I had a dime for every time Dennis crossed Canterbury St. that day.”

  2. This article contains a number of factual errors. Richard Oland had one brother, named Derek, and three (not four) children. In addition, Dennis Oland was seen carrying his “man purse” at the wharf AFTER he left his father’s office. Would he use the same bag to tote valuable documents and collect beer bottles? It is more likely the bag contained the murder weapon and his father’s phone. He picked up a rock before flinging the bag into the river elsewhere where there were no witnesses. Still, an interesting tale in which the son, now convicted of murder, nonetheless comes across more sympathetically than the father, his victim.

  3. I am interested to know why the writer left out the crucial detail regarding the blue jacket Dennis Oland said he was wearing when he met with his father for the last time (instead of the brown jacket he was actually wearing as recorded by security cameras and reported by witnesses).

  4. He did appear to be a rather manic man on a mission on that particular evening. Jaywalking like a street dog, F1 Style circling of the downtown streets, forgetting documents upon arrival, forgetting documents upon exit, forgetting where he was parked, forgetting traffic signs, forgetting jacket colors, forgetting number of visits to the office, and all the while toting a large volume floppy bag of which contents he could only describe as ‘stuff’ – less than 24 hours later. Then and when all was said and done, with an admitted bum knee, and ailing wife awaiting at home – he opts for a 5/10 minute stroll cum scavenger hunt down a lengthy wharf @ suppertime, curiously & approximately @ the same time a ping is registered off a nearby tower & on the missing mobile phone of the victim.

    Murdoch Mysteries indeed ….

    • Had the police found the murder weapon, Dennis Oland would have been charged with 1st degree rather than 2nd degree murder. I’m sure it is in that bag at the bottom of the river somewhere, weighted down by a rock or two. He disposed of it successfully but not fast enough. The mistress’ text gave away the location of the phone through the Rothesay ping, a transmission route that really couldn’t be explained away by the defence lawyers. I would assume Dennis took the phone owing to uncertainty over whether his father was really dead. He didn’t want to leave a means for him to call for help.

  5. A lot of the questions asked in these comments were answered during the court case, but to assist, I’ll briefly summarize here – Dennis said in his court testimony that obviously he was mistaken in the fact he hadn’t worn a blue jacket that day to visit his father. The reason he went to the wharf was to see if his kids were there (they were staying with his ex wife that week). He put litter (i.e beer bottles) in his bag. The police were too incompetent to ask the pathologist (or was it the coroner? can’t remember) what the actual weapon might have been, so police wouldn’t have known what kind of weapon to look for anyway. If Dennis took the phone so that Richard couldn’t call for help, Richard could have always used the land line to call….(Richard is of that generation and probably even still knows how to use a rotary phone if he had to…). However I have some questions and maybe someone can help with this-Why did the police not investigate the sounds heard by the printing company downstairs after Dennis left and was sighted elsewhere? What about the foot print in Richard’s office that could not be identified by the police? Jiri and Diana Sedlacek are each other’s alibi. Were neighbours interviewed to confirm this? Mr Sedlacek said he did not know about the affair until several months after Richard was killed when divorce proceedings started, and yet Ms Sedlacek asked to borrow money from Richard for her divorce during the time when Richard was alive? And then there’s the question of messy business associates, which Ms Campbell alludes to in her article. I look forward to some of these questions being addressed by the very competent Kathleen Lorden for the NB Police Commission. Good luck Kathleen! I think you’re going to need it….

    • I can answer one. The men working in the print shop who heard the noises did not report them to the police or investigate what was going on upstairs themselves. The owner of the business below, who estimated he heard the noises between 7:30-7:45 PM but never consulted a watch, something the Crown emphasized since the defence claimed it provided an alibi for Dennis Oland, stated in his testimony that he had other rental properties and had investigated noises in the past only to find the tenant had guests or some other innocuous explanation like putting together IKEA furniture. (As for the time frame, I visit the Maritimes during the summer and know that Atlantic Time means it’s light until 10:00PM at that time of year, making for a long evening that would work against pinpointing a particular time.)

      While the 40-something gashes on Richard Oland’s body indicated the party who killed him went far behind what was necessary, Dennis Oland was not a seasoned murderer and would not have known that. I believe he took the cell phone because it was within easy reach of his father, should he have been able to muster the energy to make a call and summon help. If he simply moved it, his fingerprints would be on it. While the office no doubt contained at least one rotary line, they may have been farther away and more difficult to access for someone incapacitated. Speed dail….

  6. I was at this trial for several days. I went not knowing whether Dennis was guilty or not. I went with an open mind. No I wasn’t there everyday…but I was there for the crown prosecutions closing arguments, the closing arguments of the defense and Judge Walsh’s charged to the jury. I can’t believe that this jury found Dennis Oland guilty. There certainly is reasonable doubt. Mr. Shaw who was downstairs in the printing place heard the noises coming from upstairs at a time Dennis was seen on video elsewhere. That in itself causes reasonable doubt. Therefore Dennis should have been found NOT GUILTY. As for Richard Oland’s cell phone pinging off the tower in Rothesay on the evening of July 6, 2011. Dennis is not the only person who lives in that area. Also on July 9, 2011 there was a roaming error on Richard Oland’s cell phone…..this means Richard Oland’s cell phone was still in service and had not been destroyed. So much for the theory that Dennis threw the cell phone into the water at the wharf on the night of the murder July 6, 2011. Perhaps if the police had checked with cell phone providers in the U.S. they might have been able to find it. Instead the police closed Richard Oland’s cell phone account down at the end of the month. Therefore being unable to trace the cell phone’s whereabouts. Now we all know Dennis was being tailed 24 hours a day as of the evening of July7, 2011 after being question, so obviously he didn’t still have the cell phone. As for Dennis saying he was wearing a blue sports coat on July 6, 2011, big deal, I couldn’t tell you what I was wearing yesterday. I think he was confused because on the morning of July 7, 2011 he had been wearing the blue sports coat. Now as for the brown sports coat being dry cleaned…his wife brought it to the cleaner along with several other items because they were preparing for the wake and funeral. The cleaners said there were no visible signs of blood either before cleaning or after. The little amount of blood stains and DNA found was minuscule. If they were trying to get rid of the so call blood and DNA evidence why would they have left the dry cleaning tag on the sports coat, why would they have left the dry cleaning receipt on the dresser. Dennis knew at this point they suspected him. They would have taken the cleaning tags off of the coat and got rid of the dry cleaning receipt. Also, another thing I would like to point out, if Dennis was planning on killing his father why would he go to the office while Richard Oland’s secretary Maureen Adamson was still there….to me I would think he would wait a few minutes until she left…therefore nobody would have known he had been there. Another point.. Maureen Adamson gave Dennis a camp log book to bring home to his mother….this book had been sitting on a table in Richard’s office…..no blood was found on this book….how is that possible….because Dennis did not commit the murder…it happen after he left. There was no blood found on Dennis’s shoes, cell phone, on the door handles of his car, the camp log book, his pants, his shirt or on his “man purse” or in his car (if you saw the pictures of his car you could tell it hadn’t been clean). I saw pictures of the murder seen….there was blood all over the room. Why wasn’t Dennis’s clothing, car, cell phone etc. covered blood. These points alone cause reasonable doubt. Now for the errors made by the police. Not checking the side door for fingerprints, they don’t know if the door was locked or unlocked, nobody knows who opened it. The 2nd lead detective testifies to going out that side door and having to jump down and pull himself back up because it is a 3 foot drop….it isn’t a 3 foot drop…there are stairs….also the police didn’t take pictures of this area until 2015. The police used the adjacent washroom for 2 days before any forensic evidence could be collected. The Deputy Chief of Police had been at the murder scene and asked another officer to lie and say he hadn’t been there. This Deputy Chief of Police had a box of evidence on his desk that had not been sign out to him. All of the evidence that had been collected was suppose to be locked up and a log of anybody who had any handling of it was to be recorded….there was no record of him having it…even though there was testimony of it being on his desk….Another point…on the search warrant they had the wrong date for the roaming error on Richard Oland’s cell phone…the date should have been July 9, 2011…..and I believe they put July 7, 2011….was this truly an error…or was it to mislead the judge. The search warrant used to collect Dennis Oland’s brown sports coat was expired. I always thought any evidence collected without a warrant was inadmissible. Lots of reasonable doubt…..therefore NOT GUILTY…..Just to make it perfectly clear I am not a friend of the Olands….and I have the most respect for the Saint John Police Force….However,I will say this… the one thing I have learned from attending this trial is….If I or anybody I know is ever accused of a crime I would go with Judge only…..I believe this jury forgot that Dennis didn’t need to prove he was innocent….the crown had to prove guilt beyond any reasonable doubt….that didn’t happen in my opinion and many others. I believe also Dennis was somewhat prejudged by many people calling him a spoiled little rich boy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. That doesn’t make him a killer. Richard Oland was also born with a silver spoon in his mouth. There were many people who didn’t care for Richard Oland…..but I think the police had tunnel vision early on and only considered Dennis as a suspect. And now unfortunately we may never know the true killer. This article makes my blood boil when I read the comments and actions of some of the people who attended this trial for example high fiving, calling it an opera, talking about candy etc….To me it seems that it is all fun and games to them…..Well to me my heart breaks for Dennis and his family. This has affected me in ways I never thought it would. I can’t get it out of my mind. This has been such a miscarriage of justice. Through the past 4 years the Oland family has handled all of this was grace and dignity. I pray eventually there will be justice for Dennis and his family. As for Richard Oland he might not been well liked but he didn’t deserve this.

    • His credibility plunged off a cliff as a result of testifying. According to him, his memory of that evening’s events were much clearer 4 years on than the night immediately following the murder. Very rare to have one’s mind/memory get better like a fine wine with time, usually it’s quite the opposite. Even more curious was the fact that his new found recollection provided a much better alibi with regards to the ping & final resting location of the victim. For those who have not followed it, he told police in a video statement on the day after the murder that he left his father that night sitting at his desk with his backed turned and just where the body was eventually found but then later changed this in his testimony to having his father standing out at his secretary’s desk as he took his leave. Also, in his original video statement, he told police that he arrived at Renforth Wharf at 6:45pm, just around the time that a ping from the victim’s cellphone registered off a nearby tower. But after thinking about that for four years, he suddenly added a third visit to his father’s office & which now put him just leaving the office at about the time the ping was registered in Renforth/Rothesay ( about a 20 minute drive away). So now & in the eleventh hour of the trial, he has suddenly,conveniently washed himself from two important pieces of the timelined evidence. What was the Jury to think at this point?

      • I was very surprised Dennis Oland gave a new version of events under oath. Surely his high-priced legal team went over his testimony beforehand. It is a very bad idea for a defendant to change his story because his loses credibility. I think his lawyers were banking on perceptions. Hapless Dennis Oland did enjoy the presumption of innocence someone from the wrong side of the tracks who’d had a few run-ins with the law would not. It was a brutal murder and he came across as incapable of such savagery. I served on a jury for a murder trial in California and the first thing a fellow juror said about the defendant during deliberations was “he looks really scary.” That was enough to vote for conviction in her eyes.

        In this case, the jury does not appear to have been motivated by gut reaction and instead looked at the evidence. The secretary testified she had locked the office doors prior to her departure. That made it unlikely a street person or uninvited guest could have gained access to Richard Oland’s office after Dennis left. The defence’s own expert witness testified the first blow had likely come when the victim was seated. He would not have been alarmed that his son was peering over his shoulder, man purse in hand, whereas it is extremely unlikely he would have allowed his mistress’s husband to get that close given the man could only have appeared unannounced for one reason.

  7. A possible explanation to the lack of a blood trace within the car:

    It appears that he is wearing gloves in the Thandi Restaurant Security footage and as he
    exits the office. This, afaik, was never addressed in court nor by the video expert witness
    that the prosecution flew in from the states and it is, of course, subject to individual scrutinizing and the capabilities of one’s own video monitor resolution & eyesight. However, if you freeze frame the video at various points and as he steps from the sidewalk to the street & then compare the skin tone/light from his facial area and with the hand area, the hand area below the white shirt cuffs appears too dark on either hand to be the skin tone of a Caucasian.

    What does it mean? Not too much and lots of people do wear driving gloves but if he did have gloves on in the office and then removed them in the 45 seconds or so that he rummaged around in the trunk area before sitting in the driver’s seat then it would most certainly explain the blood trace absence issue.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1p-QgVuwM1w

    • Interesting. The lack of blood evidence in Dennis Oland’s car does create doubt but the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard does not mean there can’t be any doubt. Richard Oland’s secretary did testify that she was surprised Dennis was wearing a jacket when he arrived given the temperature that day. Could his jacket have concealed the murder weapon? Sloppy police work did leave some holes in the Crown’s case. But it didn’t doom it as many people expected.

  8. He also makes a rather contradicting comment in the police statement (see below youtube link starting at about 1:06:10). You hear him say “Until I went over to his office it was a very typical day”. Surely the Jury must have picked up on this comment and asked themselves what he exactly had meant by this. Until? Does this imply that something extraordinary happened (and that he didn’t divulge) upon entering the office? Surely a friendly discussion about genealogy should not, in the mind’s eye, qualify for suddenly turning a typical day into an atypical one.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY-M9snY0kA

    • Didn’t he only visit his father’s office 3-4 times a year? So simply going over there at all made the day atypical. His aimlessly circling around an area he knew well, however, unable to decide whether to return to the office or go home or visit his father as planned reflects a level of indecisiveness incompatible with being a financial planner. After watching the police interview, Dennis Oland is not someone I’d want managing my money! In truth, it probably reflected nervousness about what he was about to do.

      The above poster noted Dennis Oland was born with a silver spooning his mouth, but that was true of his father, too. The father, however, was a ruthless businessman out to prove that his own father had been wrong in passing him over for the top position at Moosehead. Dennis Oland, by contrast, seemed to be someone incapable of achieving the level of success Richard Oland expected of his son. He enjoyed a lifestyle he couldn’t maintain on his own. I think the motive spelled out by the Crown precipitated the murder.

      • True, but we know that he had at least two conversations with his father earlier in the afternoon pertaining to a stock sale that, by his own admission, did not go quite as planned. We also know that his financial situation was in dire straits on or around that date. We also know that he’d been working on the genealogy project for quite some time with his father. We also “were told” that absolutely nothing financial was discussed within the meeting at the office and after they had had at least two financial discussions earlier in the day.

        So, although it is possible that a friendly meeting with one’s father about family history may have raised an atypical flag – it’s probably much more likely that that typical day turned into an atypical one sometime within the two financial conversations that they had had earlier in the afternoon and quite possibly intensified, in one way or another and from that point onward.

        • My father was a stock broker and I wondered what type of a record Dennis Oland had in that regard. Did the firm employ him primarily because he was from this very wealthy family and had the potential to bring in multimillion dollar accounts? The salary advance struck me as a little irregular. His father had given him some business, but it seemed a rather insignificant slice of his investments.

          I found out about the case quite by accident. I was driving through New Brunswick and heard 5,000 people had been summoned for jury duty in Saint John for a second-degree murder trial. My immediate concern was to avoid going near the Harbour Centre and wondered how close it was to Thandi’s, where I planned to eat lunch. When I got home I googled the story to learn about why such a large number of people were summoned. I was drawn in by the illustrious Oland family history as well as the opportunity to learn about the Canadian justice system. I can understand why the trial watchers were drawn to this case. On another thread someone joked there might be a movie might come out of this, starring Donald and Kiefer Sutherland! While I feel sorry for the family, the jury made the right call in my opinion.

          • One thing that stood out for me in Dennis Oland’s police interview was the claim that he had thought about returning to his office to collect some unspecified document but realized after he had started back he didn’t have the card key to get back in. At 5:15 in the evening??? Security is now the norm in office buildings. If there is a card system, it is typically in effect 24 hours. There may be additional features after hours but that would not kick in until later. I worked at a university that required a key to summon the elevator on the weekends. The police could have easily validated this information by going to the building and ascertaining the entry system for staff. It would not require a warrant. If Dennis Oland lied about that, he probably lied about other things, too.

            Though the US criminal justice system is more transparent, the integrity of the process is often lost in high-profile trials. Almost a decade ago, there was the case of a single mother accused of killing her young child because parenting preventing her from partying. She was not a sympathetic figure to say the least. The police released everything. Videotapes of her parents visiting her in jail ended up on youtube. Letters she wrote were released, too. One TV station hired a handwriting expert to provide insight into her personality. The trail, like the OJ case, became a cottage industry and a form of entertainment in which justice took a back seat. When she was acquitted, a day before Richard Oland was murdered, the verdict was met with public outrage.

            In the US, jurors are allowed to speak out as long as they don’t publicly identify other members of the jury. In the case of hung juries, this really helps the prosecution figure out what went wrong or what sort of person would be amenable to deciding the case in their favor. I was surprised they were able to assemble a jury so quickly for the Oland case. When I’ve done jury duty, I’ve been questioned intently and sat through other people being questioned about educational and work history, views on the police, etc. Each side wants to assemble a panel that will filter the testimony through a prism of life experiences that would lead them to view the defendant’s culpability in a particular way.

  9. No, he stated that “the elevator” requires a pass card after 5pm. I would imagine that it is on a digital timer and that clients are permitted to use the elevator up til 5:00pm without any restrictions – surely visitors would not require such security for any brief, impromptu visits. I believe that this portion of his statement to be true,

    • I can understand that security would prevent visitors from ascending to the office level of the complex after hours. But Dennis Oland was an employee and I find it difficult to believe he lacked access to his own office outside of the 9-5 work week. Many financial advisers work in the evening and even weekends to build up their business and he certainly could have used more clients. That is when you can catch prospective clients at home and sell them your services. Regardless, it was a detail the police could easily check to ascertain his level of truthfulness.

  10. From his own statement the relationship with his father was predominately a business/financial one. With that in mind, I’m quite certain the Jury had a hard time believing that absolutely nothing financial was discussed with his father that evening. Especially given his dire financial situation, the urgency of emails sent to his boss/wife in the days leading up to, & the fact that he had had two very recent phone conversations/transactions with his father that very afternoon about financial issues. I don’t think there is anybody on this planet that thinks that when the two finally got together that evening, not a word about finances was spoken in the 30-45 minutes that they spent together. Not one word? Not a person on this planet!

    Now, as far as his so called ‘man purse’ or grocery bag is concerned. We do not see him leaving the office with it in the security footage provided, he only appears to have 2 or 3 paperback novels carried by hand. Therefore we must assume that the bag and it’s contents were already prepared in the trunk of the car sometime beforehand. We then learn that he had forgotten several documents at his workplace. More specifically, in his statement and when asked what exactly was in his bag, he at first states that he uses it to carry an important green book … but then he quickly corrects himself and says that he had forgotten that book at the office. So now we have half the documents (presumably) already in the car, half the documents up in the office place, and a large grocery bag that’s admittedly used to carry this lot of documents not fully being commissioned for this transport task. Again, I believe the Jury must have been troubled by the uncertainty & confusion of taking a portfolio of documents from one building to another for a simple, friendly meeting. See his statement on these procedures starting at ~ 1:40:00 in the police statement:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY-M9snY0kA

    • I will watch it.

      With respect to the “man purse,” Dennis Oland introduced it in a light-hearted manner while on the stand. Not a good idea to in front of a jury that has seen grizzly crime scene photos. However his father was viewed by those who dealt with him, murder is no laughing matter. One juror also sent a note to the judge asking why the defendant appeared to be texting during testimony. It conveyed a lack of respect for the process and probably gave off a sense of “I’m going to get off.” Word came back that he was texting his legal team. Normally everyone is listening to the testimony. Here in the US, one judge gave a juror a day-long jail sentence after he was caught texting during a video that was being entered into evidence. When you are sworn in, you are told to put you phone away. It is a good idea for the defendant, too.

      • On another thread, a number of people pointed out that in Canada you can opt to have your case heard before a judge. I didn’t know that but someone else pointed out in a murder case, the provincial attorney general (not sure that is the correct title) has to sign off and that might be politically difficult in a high-profile case.

        Jury trials are always a roll of the dice. The numbers are generated randomly. I was in one court room where the Judge admonished those with high numbers to pay attention “because we may get to you” as the winnowing process got underway. Each side is allowed so many challenges and the judge can also excuse people. In the US, how many days your employer will pay your salary for service is a major factor in excusing people. Anyone working for the government is entitled to unlimited leave for jury duty so long-haul juries are disproportionately filled with government workers. Given the Olands have deep pockets, did anyone suggest they hire someone to poll within the community to find out who was already convinced guilt and who found the Crown’s case flimsy? From that you can develop a profile of a composite juror. Money matters in criminal cases.

  11. You would only need but a single rogue juror to cause a hung jury in this format. But this isn’t Kansas, it’s Saint John, New Brunswick. Murder trials of this magnitude happen once in a super blood moon in this part of the world. Accordingly, people are going to take this very, very, seriously. A once in a lifetime duty. It’s a very strong & cognitive social culture where strangers still look strangers right in the eyes on the street and instantly read from facial expression, voice tone & body language what’s going on ‘upstairs’ and in a way that a lawyer ‘from away’ could never-ever comprehend. These inherent skills may well have played a crucial role in the final decision of this murder trial.

    • I hear you. I have spent time in Maine and encountered similar sentiments. I would never suggest someone hire a New York lawyer to represent a client in a high-profile case there.

    • In the US, lawyers are licensed by state. It is very unlikely a New York (or Boston) lawyer would bother to take the Maine bar exam so such a situation would be unlikely to occur. Lawyers who are registered to practice in multiple states usually confine themselves to the high business locales like New York and California, where the exam is a lot tougher.

      I was once called for jury duty on a day when two cases “were going out for trial.” We were huddled in an empty court room to learn if our services would be needed. The lawyers in both cases were trying to settle and avoid going to trial. That meant the defendants had been offered plea bargains in which felonies can be bumped down to misdemeanors or some charges dropped. In the era of “three strikes,” more defendants, especially those with checkered pasts, are willing to take a plea rather than put their fate in the hands of 12 strangers in a room down the hall.

      I would assume parole is granted on a similar basis in both countries, however. Convicts have to acknowledge remorse and take responsibility for their actions, difficult if the person continues to insist he didn’t do it. Maybe in ten years it will look different to Dennis Oland.

  12. What exactly happens during deliberation in this case. I would assume that given the length of time (~ 40 hours) for the decision, that one or more jurors was sitting on the fence or leaning in the opposite direction of the majority. At this point is there some logical arm-twisting that begins to happen through deductive reasoning & a systematic analysis of the court events and (in this case) circumstantial evidence and so to make the minority start to ‘see the wisdom’ of the majority?

    • In the US dissenting jurors often report that “I went along with it” indicating there is arm twisting to reach agreement. I can recall after the OJ trial the one lone white juror said, “I felt he was guilty but because police officers lied on the stand the prosecution didn’t have a viable case.”

      Particularly in long-haul cases where people have been together for days, or even months, a camaraderie has developed that makes it hard to be the lone voice of dissent. Those who haven’t done jury duty are unaware of the amount of time jurors spend out of the courtroom while the attorneys confer with the judge. You get to know each other. On one of the occasions I did jury duty the judge queried people on whether they’d served before and did the jury reach a verdict. A hung jury satisfies no one. Having sat through all that testimony, and cognizant of the expense involved, there is a desire for resolution.

      Attorneys understand the power of wanting to be part of the group and will ask you, “What if you don’t agree, would you go along with it?” I can remember an astute attorney focusing on someone who was a probation officer about whether he could defend an acquittal to his colleagues, “You say yes but you are shaking your head no.” He used one of his challenges to remove him and frankly the man looked happy to walk out of the courtroom. The judge had been concerned that because he had several children under the age of 3, he might use jury duty to catch up on his sleep!

  13. There’s also a potential flag raiser for the Jury starting @ about 2:07:10 of the police statement. The investigator suddenly and out of nowhere creates a hypothetical situation where he implies that Dennis is the person that is leaving the crime scene. Now, it is possible that he did not hear this fabricated implication due to his hearing handicap or didn’t interpret as such. But if he did hear it, he seemed to capitulate to the ideology of this scenario. Many of us would have been up on the desk screaming what exactly do you mean by that or requesting to call their lawyer pronto at that point etc. etc. etc.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY-M9snY0kA

    • Anyone in that sort of interview situation is caught in a Catch-22. If you demand an attorney the presumption is that you must have something to hide. If you continue to give indecisive responses you also look guilty.

      Police like to get statements from “people of interest” before they charge them because then all the legal warnings about self-incrimination, known in the US as Miranda Rights, don’t apply. Dennis Oland could have walked out at any time.

    • If you have time and want to want a masterful interrogation, I recommend this one. The person being questioned is herself a cop and DNA revealed that she killed her former boyfriend’s new wife years earlier in Los Angeles. Needless to say, it didn’t reflect well on the LAPD. The two homicide detectives conducting the interview, by contrast, are total professionals. Gone are the days of OJ when the lead detectives were known as “dumb and dumber.”

      She has been lured to the location on the pretext they need help interviewing a suspect charged with stealing art. They needed to get her to a location where she would have to surrender her gun and the jail interrogation center is such a place. She’s not under arrest and can leave at any time. But once she leaves the room she will be placed under arrest.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5ljpPTNvCM

    • Most people convicted of second-degree murder are not hardened killers who lack the capacity for remorse. Rather they are individuals who did one terrible thing. Clearly Constable Davidson is trying to win Dennis Oland’s trust. At one point he asks, “Do you have anything else to tell me?” That is opening the door to a confession from someone in an emotional state who has a conscience. Yet Dennis Oland doesn’t take the bait. Moreover, the videotape of him casually shopping for groceries in the wake of brutally murdering his father, something Davidson was not unaware of at the time of the interrogation, indicates he has sociopathic tendencies. Most people are probably capable of violence to some degree. But few can commit a brutal murder and then go home and enjoy a mimosa and watch a movie.

  14. I would concur. Would add though that if you do happen to go into any detail in a police statement then stick with that story and don’t remold it at the last minute & four years on. It doesn’t look credible at all.

  15. Thanks for the link on that LA murder cold case Baiyili – tis fascinating. Different circumstances to be sure but no comparison all between her demeanor and Dennis Oland’s. Like day & night. She’s tense, high strung & herky-jerky from the get-go. With Oland, it’s hard to believe that he has even fully comprehended that his father had just met a fatal end, at first – joking, laughing, reminiscing. Then when he does begin to realize that he might be a suspect in this all, he almost goes into a fetal-like, defensive position and then the video ends.

    • Glad you enjoyed it! It is a well-done interrogation. In the US, everything is released right away into the public domain and there was an FBI agent on the nightly explaining how her anxiety goes off the charts as she realizes she is the suspect. I don’t Davidson did badly, either. You try and gain the person’s trust as you ratchet up the questioning.

      Granted, people react to stress and uncertainty differently. But Dennis Oland appears far too relaxed given he has to be aware that his father has met an unnatural end. Indeed, he makes reference to police cars outside the Canterbury Street office, etc. If his father were still alive, the family would be at the hospital not the police station. I think the St John Police had not encountered the gruesome murder of a prominent citizen before and they played their cards close to the vest.

      Finally, as a visitor to Canada who does not want to pay roaming charges, I can speak to what happens when a cell phone is taken across the border out of subscriber range. You will be informed of the charges if you try to make a call. Instead of the number of calls popping up on your cell phone you just get a red dot. Texts, by contrast, come right through as soon as you turn on your phone. So Diana Sedlacek’s texts should have gone through even if the phone was taken out of subscriber range. The closest border crossing at night is in St Stephen and that is a couple hours away. Never mind the wait to get across in the summer can be long. I doubt the phone left the area.

  16. I would hazard to guess that UNBSJ Prof writing the book was more hoping for a not guilty verdict, in that that institution has been heavily funded/gifted by the Oland family. There is a research vessel and wings of the institution in the Oland name among other reminders. It’s a whole different kettle of fish and decidedly more anti/negative to complete this book now and with a conviction. The timing and lean of the finished product should be very interesting in this respect.

    • Had there been an acquittal, he could extrapolate from the evidence presented and conclude the jury couldn’t muster a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet they did. However, since Canadian jurors are barred from discussing their deliberations, he cannot seek their input or rely on interviews they gave to the press to offer insight into their decision-making process. He may decide to pursue other research interests!

  17. Now that you mentioned it, I did find the Professor’s dismissal of a financial motive as “weak” odd. It was one thing for Dennis Oland to be bouncing cheques to his father. It is quite another to be unable to make court-ordered child support payments which, as was revealed through texts, were directly deducted from his account. The day of the murder he was texting with his ex about a child’s orthodontic status. All of this costs money and he wasn’t bringing in enough to cover his lifestyle.

  18. I’m not certain but I believe in Canada the law can prevent anyone convicted of a crime from benefiting (re: financial) in anyway from the crime they had committed. You now have an amazingly complex situation where the convicted became a partner, manager, and beneficiary of the victim’s estate at the time of death. Additionally and to further complicate it all, the victim’s estate may well have been funding, partially or more, the Defense bills for the Defendant throughout the several years it has taken to play out. It’s away out of my league but it if things stay the same and any appeals filed are not fruitful – the financial issues may only just be starting in this dreadful story.

    • Laws to prevent people from cashing in on crimes they committed were written with a certain type of perpetrator in mind. They are intended to prevent convicts from cashing in through interviews, etc., trafficking in a form of commercialized notoriety. It really isn’t necessary anymore since any outlet that offers payment, even in the case of someone acquitted like OJ Simpson who nonetheless was judged guilty in the court of public opinion, faces social-media organized boycotts that would send chills down the spine of any CEO.

      In the Oland case, I doubt the law would be enforced because there’s no party that stands to be injured by Dennis Oland’s receiving an inheritance. His father left his estate to his wife and she can presumably do what she wants with the money.

  19. Yes, but in this case and as a result of the death, the perpetrator received $150,000 immediately as a trustee of the victim’s estate, has a $500,000+ loan pardoned , and immediately becomes employed as co-director of his father’s companies and president of one as per this article.

    • It will be interesting to see if any action is taken and by whom.

      In the US, “Son of Sam” (the name used by a serial killed who terrorized New York City in 1977) “laws are not intended to enable asset forfeiture, the seizing of assets acquired directly as a result of criminal activity. Where asset forfeiture looks to remove the profitability of crimes by taking away money and assets gained from the crime, Son of Sam laws are designed so that criminals are unable to take advantage of the notoriety of their crimes. Such laws often authorize the state to seize money earned from deals such as book/movie biographies and paid interviews and use it to compensate the criminal’s victims.” (from wiki) State laws have had to be tweaked to avoid trampling on first-amendment “freedom of speech” rights but the Supreme Court has upheld the principle. In New York it was invoked in a case involving John Lennon’s killer.

      Asset forfeiture to compensate the victims requires a civil judgement. The families of the OJ victims eventually got that but it required them to keep tabs on what OJ was doing and report it to the court. It is not like anyone in law enforcement was going to make that a priority. OJ immediately moved to Florida where state law does not allow a home to be seized to fulfill a civil judgement and his pension had been structured in a way that prevented it from being seized as well. He was always going to favor his own kids over the other victim’s family anyway. It did give them some peace of mind.

  20. Good article, but the punishment for second degree murder in Canada is an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least ten years.

  21. More like this, I think:

    http://estatelawcanada.blogspot.ca/2010/06/can-murderer-inherit-under-will-of-his.html

    The short answer appears to be no in Canada. No in that, at the very least, the $150,000 would apparently have to be paid back to the estate. This is one is way more complicated than your average scenario though and where the convicted is not only a beneficiary but also a executor/trustee of the estate and partner/president of the business that holds the bulk of the monetary assets. Lots to chew on for the legal types in this one.

    • You are right. The Slayer Statue, which courts in both the US and Canada observe, precludes murderers from receiving a share in their victim’s estate regardless of what the will stipulates. (See link for Nova Scotia case.) The problem here is that the Oland family remains steadfast in their belief that Dennis is innocent and will fight any effort to disinherit him. He doesn’t have any money to repay the estate anyway. Moreover, he has children. Should the inheritance skip a generation? What about his current wife?

      It is worth remembering Dennis got so far into debt in the first place due to a divorce. His father stepped in with the half-million dollar loan to prevent the house from leaving family hands. Presumably Dennis either had to sell it and split the proceeds 50-50 or buy out his wife’s half. I read that when Dennis hooked up with Lisa, Richard wanted an assurance that he would not have to bail out another failed marriage to save the home. It would be interesting to know if they have a prenup. Lisa’s now looking at being alone for 10 years. By the time he gets out, and it may be a lot longer, he’s not going to be the same person. She may decide to bail on the marriage, in which case Oland ownership of the house could once again be in jeopardy. Lots to chew over indeed!

      http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2012/03/canadian-case-dealing-with-slayer-statute-and-intent.html

    • Sorry for the multiple submissions last night. Here’s a piece that does raise some good questions about the verdict. Ironically, in US cases where an acquittal generated public outrage part of the problem was that the District Attorney overcharged the defendant.

      By the time Casey Anthony’s daughter’s body was found in a Florida swamp several years after she went missing, it was impossible to determine the cause of the little girl’s death. A legal analyst weighed in by noting: “it is far easier to conclude that the defendant caused the death — that he or she was the only person with the opportunity and motive — than it is to prove that they did so with malice aforethought, in a premeditated and purposeful way, which is what is required in a first-degree murder case. Reasonable doubt has a different meaning when it’s a life or death decision. [Not applicable to Canada because there’s no death penalty. Anthony, who had failed to report her daughter was missing, faced the death penalty but OJ did not.]

      Had the jury been asked whether Anthony was guilty of voluntary manslaughter, I think they would have been able to conclude that she was, beyond a reasonable doubt. Had Simpson been charged, as most ex-wife killers are, with either second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter, I’d like to think he would have been convicted.”

      Yet the author of this article is correct. To believe Dennis Oland is guilty of murder, you have to believe he planned it. Yet he was charged with second-degree rather than first-degree murder. I also learned it is SAINT John, not St John. Apologies!

      http://thestarphoenix.com/opinion/columnists/oland-murder-conviction-less-than-convincing

  22. With due to respect to the editor’s privilege, I would have named this article:

    “Maritime Murder Most Sudsy”