Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Beware "Friends" Bearing Gifts

"If Mr. Malley decided to take pity on Victoria Shachtay, is that a reason to then kill her? Wouldn't he just stop paying?"
"His [stepfather's advice] was, 'Don't open it. Call the police'. In his mind, he thought it was a bomb. Why would he say that? What does he know?"
Bob Aloneissi, lawyer for the defence
Brian Malley leaves court in Red Deer Alta. where he stands trial on charges of first-degree murder, causing an explosion and sending a person an explosive device on Monday January 19, 2015. Victoria Shachtay died on Nov. 2011 when a package exploded on the doorstep of her condo in Innisfail, Alta. Stuart Dryden/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency
A trusted family friend. An older man who had promised the mother of a woman victimized by the man she trusted, that as she lay dying of cancer, he would help take care of her daughter. The daughter was a young woman whom a car accident had paralyzed when she was 16 and pregnant. The young mother became a quadriplegic, but the child, whom she named Destiny was born just fine. The mother requires a live-in aide, and the child, raised by her single mother, is now seven.

Facebook -- Victoria Shachtay, 23, died instantly when a pipe bomb killed her in 2011, shown with her daughter Destiny.

The crime of which his client, Brian Malley is accused of committing and is now standing trial for, has been characterized by his lawyer, Mr. Aloneissi as "horrible and heinous", but a crime he insists, that his client is not guilty of having committed. As a likelier suspect, the lawyer alludes to Victoria's Shachtay's stepfather becoming alarmed when informed by her that she had found an anonymous Christmas 'gift' left on her doorstep. He urged her to call the police.

Instead, the wheelchair-bound young woman returned home and though it was yet six weeks before Christmas, decided to open the mysterious package. Her stepfather's recoil to suspicion evidently did not inspire her to caution. When she opened the package the immediate effect was a violent blast. The pipe bomb contained within the package had been built to explode as soon as its container had been opened.

The resulting explosion tore holes through the roof, the walls of the house and produced debris the size of confetti. Seven-year-old Destiny was at school and was spared and the live-in caregiver escaped uninjured. The man who stands accused of murdering the child's mother certainly had a motive, one revealed by the ensuing police investigation.

After the accident that left Victoria Shachtay a quadriplegic, the result of the driver losing control of his vehicle and the young woman, a passenger, the only one who sustained injury, there was a $575,000 court settlement that came through three years after the accident. Victoria Shachtay turned to a man whom she fully trusted to help her manage the funds safely for hers and her child's future.

The 57-year-old Brian Malley persuaded Ms. Shachtay to take out an additional $200,000 loan to enable him to use it along with the $575,000 to make a wise investment on her behalf, establishing her future financial security. Only those funds happened not to have made their way into a secure investment fund; whatever he did with the money, it was evident that the trusted friend 'lost' it all.

He still had to provide the young woman with interest payments on her investment. And so he did, making payments amounting to $44,000 on an annual basis from his own accounts. "He was going into debt to keep her going", stated the Crown prosecutor to the jury in the Red Deer, Alberta courthouse. "He killed her to cut his losses."

He succeeded right on cue when his victim met instant death on opening the green-and-gold gift bag she had placed in the dining room of her townhouse 30 kilometres south of Red Deer, on November 25, 2011. Appearing in court on the first day of his trial Monday, Mr. Malley pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, causing an explosion and sending a person an explosive device.

His lawyer speaks of circumstantial evidence. For needless to say, no one witnessed Mr. Malley in the act of building, let alone delivering the deadly device. But there is evidence. DNA left on paper taped to the bomb containing Ms. Shachtay's name appears to match Mr. Malley's DNA, according to the prosecution.

As well, additional evidence exists that Mr. Malley owned or purchased some of the parts that were used in the manufacture of the deadly explosive device; a 15-centimetre-long piece of galvanized steel pipe, smokeless gunpowder, an end cap, a light switch, a lantern battery and tiny light bulbs.

Oh, but -- declared the defence lawyer -- his client as an avid hunter who also was skilled in home renovation had reason to be in possession of some of those objects. Someone, said Mr. Aloneissi, in whom festered "extreme hate" for Ms. Shachtay or her family sent the bomb, but it was definitely not his client.

Just incidentally, Mr. Malley also faces an $80-million lawsuit after having been accused of losing roughly $50 million from dozens of clients. That's circumstantial as well.

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