After six hours of deliberations last week, the jury in the case of Brian Malley returned to court with a guilty verdict. Crown Prosecutor Anders Quist said he expects an appeal of the verdict.
Malley, 57, was convicted of first-degree murder, causing an explosion of an explosive substance likely to cause serious bodily harm, death or serious damage to property and sending or delivering to a person an explosive device in relation to the death of Victoria Shachtay in 2011.
Malley was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years – an automatic sentence for a first-degree murder conviction. He was also sentenced to serve four years concurrently with the life sentence for the explosive charges he was convicted of – two years for each charge.
The charges stem after an explosion occurred inside Shachtay’s Innisfail residence in November 2011. The incident occurred after a package disguised as a Christmas gift was delivered to the home which RCMP confirmed was the source of the explosion.
Malley was arrested in Red Deer on May 25th, 2012.
Shachtay, 23, was disabled and in a wheelchair from a car collision that happened in 2004. She was also a single mother to a then seven-year-old girl.
Investigation showed Malley had known Shachtay for a number of years and acted as her financial adviser. Shachtay received a settlement of $575,000 after her accident. A $200,000 loan was also taken out on behalf of Shachtay. All of that money was gone within four years. Malley also supported her from his own personal account in the amount of $44,000.
During the course of the six-week long trial, 50 witnesses testified and 100 exhibits were entered.
Last week, Malley stood emotionless in the prisoner’s box as the verdicts were handed down. His wife and daughter sat in the front row of the courtroom. A number of Shachtay’s family and friends were also present.
Victor Shachtay, Victoria’s father, said justice had been done.
“I’m certain that Vicky would be satisfied with the outcome of this trial,” he said. “Once the jury members came in and read the verdict, I had no problem at all. After that in the big show of life, Mr. Malley just went up in a puff of smoke. I don’t care about him (Malley) – he’s gone. I don’t have to worry about that man again – he’s not on the streets killing other people.”
Victor remembered his daughter as one who appreciated life.
“She was a young mother who doted on her daughter. She faced all that life threw at her and tackled it. She was happy. She was a happy person. She was happy to be alive – happy to have a daughter. And she coped with everything. She didn’t feel sorry for herself.”
After the verdict was handed down, Quist said he was pleased with the jury’s decision.
“I’m very relieved and I am pleased that that the jury saw it the way that they did – the way that we asked them to see it. It was not an easy case – the evidence was circumstantial. There was no evidence directly from Mr. Malley admitting anything or anybody catching him making the bomb or delivering it, but we were able to put the pieces together because the RCMP did such a great job with this investigation,” said Quist. “This was a cold blooded murder – a single mom in a wheelchair, using a bizarre murder weapon. We are very pleased the jury got it right.”
He added the case was like a puzzle.
“There were a bunch of different pieces to this case. There was DNA evidence which we thought was particularly important, there was Mr. Malley’s purchase of various bomb components – items that added up to the device. The police had gone through and gathered the partially destroyed components from the scene and they were able to form an opinion as to what went into it. So finding Mr. Malley buying and owning those things is pretty important; owning gun powder under suspicious circumstances was important, telling lies to the police about why he had gun powder and why he had some of those other components was pretty important and then there was the whole financial overlay – the fact that he was her investment advisor and things had gone quite sour – there were many moving parts.”
Quist said this case was one of the most cold blooded that he has ever encountered.
“The evidence shows him having worked on this bomb from July of 2011 to November 25th of 2011. To carefully and methodically put those pieces together over that time with the intent to kill – that is pretty cold.”