The Alberta Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal application by Brian Malley, convicted in the bombing death of Vicky Shachtay in Innisfail in 2011.
Malley, 60, was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.
Shachtay died instantly on Nov. 25, 2011 when a pipe bomb disguised as a Christmas present exploded. Her caregiver had brought the package into her apartment after it had been left on her doorstep.
The 23-year-old mother was paralyzed in a car crash in 2004. She was 16 and pregnant at the time. In 2007 she received a $575,000 court settlement and asked Malley, a family friend, to help her invest the money. Nearly all of the money had disappeared by April 2011.
Malley’s lawyer asked that his conviction be set aside and to order a new trial, claiming the trial judge erred by not hearing evidence about other potential suspects in the case, including Shachtay’s drug-addicted brother.
The appeal also cited concerns over jury fairness, saying the trial judge should have dismissed a juror who was likely prejudiced against Malley after his wife had taken a photo of the jury. The juror in question expressed concern over their family’s safety but stayed on after the judge assured them the image would not be published.
In her appeal ruling released Wednesday, Justice Barbara Lea Veldhuis wrote that the trial judge was justified in his decision not to admit the evidence in question. Veldhuis said it was based on speculation and lacked the necessary evidentiary foundation.
Veldhuis also found no reason to disagree with the trial judge's decision not to dismiss the juror in question because Malley's legal counsel fully supported the decision when it was made.
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