Former assistant declares Malley 'killed' Shachtay
But judge in murder trial warns jury that testimony is opinion and not admissible
Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015 10:02 am
The third week of the murder trial of Brian Malley -- charged in the premeditated killing of Innisfailian Vicki Shachtay – ended with an emotional declaration by the accused’s former employee that her ex-boss committed the bombing slaying.
However, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Kirk Sisson immediately interrupted the testimony of Barbara Tblus, had the jury removed from the courtroom and adjourned court.
After a lengthy adjournment, Sisson ordered the jury brought back into the courtroom and told them they were to disregard Tblus’s last statement as it was opinion and therefore not admissible.
Malley’s trial is continuing this week in Red Deer.
Shachtay died when a pipe bomb disguised as a Christmas present and left at the front door of her Innisfail home on Nov. 25, 2011 exploded when she opened it as she sat at the kitchen table.
Malley, 57, faces a charge of first-degree murder. His eight-woman, five-man jury trial before Sisson began on Jan. 19.
The Crown contends Malley killed Shachtay after losing more than $500,000 she gave him to invest after receiving the money in an insurance settlement following a 2004 automobile accident.
The third week of the trial wrapped up Friday (Feb. 6) with testimony from Tblus.
Working for Malley as his executive assistant from June 2009 until his arrest in June 2012, Tblus told the jury that Shachtay visited Malley’s Red Deer office several times over the years.
Asked by Crown prosecutor Andres Quist why Shachtay came to the office in person, Tblus said, “It was usually to get money. She was curt and upset that the money wasn’t in her account. She needed her money immediately.”
Asked what Malley’s attitude was towards Shachtay, Tblus said, “He didn’t like her very much. He seemed annoyed by her, by her constant calls about wanting money.”
Tblus said in the month leading up to Shachtay’s death, Malley said he was planning to end his business relationship with the woman.
“He was working to have the securities (Shachtay’s investments) come back up (in value) so he could sell it for her and then she wouldn’t be a client anymore,” she said.
Asked by Quist why Malley wanted to end the relationship, Tblus said, “Because she was a pain in the (expletive deleted).”
Quist asked, “Was that something he said?”
“Yes,” Tblus replied.
In July or August 2011, Shachtay telephoned the office and asked Tblus to tell her how much money was in her investment account.
When Tblus told Shachtay that the account was empty, Shachtay was shocked at the news, Tblus said.
“She asked, ‘What do you mean there is no money there?’ She was really upset,” she said.
Under cross-examination by Malley’s lawyer, Bob Aloneissi, Tblus was asked why she was initially supportive of Malley after his arrest but was not anymore.
“You had completely turned against Brian Malley,” said Aloneissi. “You had a good opinion of him but that changed.”
“That is correct,” said Tblus.
“Why?” asked Aloneissi.
“Many things happened,” said Tblus. “It was gradual. I cannot pinpoint the time. It was a gradual process. I’m not on Team Malley anymore. I didn’t believe in Mr. Malley anymore. If he did something wrong he should be punished.”
In the second week of the trial, Dr. Gregory Scott Litzenberger, who works at the RCMP’s Edmonton crime lab, testified that an analysis of a piece of tape and lined paper recovered at the bombing scene found a mixed DNA sample that is consistent with the DNA profiles of both Malley and Shachtay.
On Friday, Aloneissi asked Tblus whether she ever sent business documents on lined paper with clear tape to Shachtay’s home.
“It’s possible,” said Tblus.
As Aloneissi continued his cross-examination, Tblus suddenly said, “I’m not on Team Malley because he (expletive deleted) killed her for Christ’s sake.”
At that point the court was adjourned.
Tblus is expected to continue her testimony this week.
Last week saw Government of Canada forensic accountant Linda Howes reportedly testify that she examined financial records and determined that Malley paid Shachtay more than $44,000 from his own accounts in the months leading up to her death.
Malley’s trial is scheduled to last four more weeks.
It is not known if Malley intends to testify once the Crown’s case against him wraps up.
If convicted, Malley would face an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. He is out on bail pending the trial outcome.