Blood that matches the DNA profile of slain New Brunswick businessman Richard Oland was found on his son's jacket, newly released documents related to the homicide investigation reveal.
Oland, 69, a member of one of the best-known families in Atlantic Canada, was found dead in his uptown Saint John office on July 7, 2011.
Police seized a brown Hugo Boss sports jacket with blood on it from the bedroom closet of Dennis Oland, 45, one week after his father's body was discovered.
"The estimated probability of selecting an unrelated individual at random from the Canadian Caucasian population with the same profile was one in 180 million," a sworn affidavit by Sgt. Tony Hayes, of the Saint John Police Force, states.
The jacket’s right sleeve, both cuffs, and chest area all tested positive for blood that matched Richard Oland’s DNA profile, forensic lab results from March 1, 2012, and June 26, 2012, show.
The jacket also had a dry-cleaning tag attached that appears to correspond to a seized dry-cleaning receipt dated July 8, 2011, according to the documents.
“This is two days after Richard Oland was murdered and the morning after Dennis Oland was interrogated,” Hayes states in the affidavit.
Police used the affidavit to obtain a general warrant and two production orders — for a dry cleaners and a bank — from a provincial court judge last fall.
No charges have been laid, but previously released search warrants reveal Saint John police consider Dennis Oland the prime suspect and indicate a possible financial motive.
The stockbroker and investment adviser owed his dad more than $500,000 and the latest documents suggest he fell behind in making payments in the months leading up to his father’s death.
Forensic evidence not ‘hallmark,’ judge rules
No details about how Oland died have been released. Those details are considered so-called hallmark evidence that only the killer or killers would know.
But there were several types of bloodstain patterns at the crime scene, according to previously released warrants.
Police and the Crown wanted to keep the forensic results under wraps, arguing they could jeopardize the ongoing investigation.
CBC News and Brunswick News argued they should be made public to ensure the proper administration of justice in the two-year-old case.
Provincial court Chief Judge R. Leslie Jackson recently ruled the information should be released.
“The rationale most often proffered for redacting hallmark evidence is that it is necessary to prevent false confessions or must remain secret so that important evidence is not tampered with or destroyed,” Jackson stated in his six-page decision on Friday.
“The police have both the items seized and the results, so there is little probability of tampering and the results are what they are; they speak for themselves,” he said.
Dry cleaning under wife’s name
The judge also ruled the redactions police and the Crown sought regarding the items seized from Dennis Oland’s home were “overly broad.”
“[Dennis] Oland, the police’s admitted prime suspect, knows what was taken from his home, thus I fail to see how the release of this information could prejudice or impair the ongoing investigation,” Jackson said.
“Indeed, no evidence was presented at the hearing specifying either the prejudice or impairment sought to be avoided. Therefore, I have removed those redactions.”
The dry-cleaning receipt was under the name of Dennis’s wife, Lisa, according to the documents released on Friday.
They include a production order for VIP Dry Cleaners in Rothesay, a production order for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Saint John, and a general warrant to test previously seized items.
Records from VIP Dry Cleaners show a sports jacket was dropped off at 9:08 a.m. AT on July 8, 2011, along with 18 other items, including another sports jacket, a pair of pants and 16 shirts.
Dennis picked the items up the following day and his wife went in later to pay, the co-owner of the business told police.
Jinhee Choi said staff normally make notes if there are any stains on the garments, but no notes were made for the Oland transaction.
Jacket considered key evidence
Previously released documents show police believe Dennis Oland lied to them about what clothes he was wearing the day his father was killed.
He is the last known person to have seen his father alive, and told police he had on a navy blazer when he went to visit his father at his Far End Corporation business on July 6.
But surveillance video taken earlier in the day shows Dennis wearing a brown jacket.
Richard Oland’s long-time secretary, Maureen Adamson, said Dennis was wearing a brown jacket when he visited his father. Adamson’s husband, who was parked outside the Canterbury Street office, waiting to drive his wife home, told police he saw someone matching Dennis's description entering Richard Oland's office building wearing a dark brown sports coat with lighter-coloured pants.
A woman reported seeing a man matching Dennis’s description acting strangely at Renforth Wharf that night between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., according to the documents.
The well-dressed man, who was walking briskly, stopped at the beginning of the wharf, and picked something up, went to the end of the wharf and sat down.
He then took something red out of a bag, wrapped the object he had picked up, put it in the bag, then walked briskly back and drove away in a silver car, the woman said.
Dennis Oland told police he had stopped at the wharf on his way home to see if his children were swimming there.
His silver 2009 Volkwagen Golf tested positive for trace or latent bloodstains in 10 areas, according to the documents.
But swabs of the driver’s side door handle and driver’s door trunk release switch sent to the forensic lab for additional testing subsequently showed no blood, the documents state.
The brown jacket with blood on it is considered one of the “most important pieces of evidence … in proving this case and taking it to trial,” documents released earlier this month indicate.
Payment to father came back ‘NSF’
On Oct. 2, 2012, police received Dennis Oland’s financial records from CIBC, dating back to Jan. 1, 2006, in order to conduct a forensic audit of his finances.
The affidavit police used to obtain the production order for the bank records indicates Richard Oland had loaned at least $400,000 to cover Dennis’s divorce from his first wife, Lesley.
Dennis was to make interest-only payments monthly. The $400,000 was to be deducted from the amount Dennis would receive in Richard Oland’s will after his wife, Constance, dies, according to the documents.
But the documents suggest Dennis failed to make payments in May and June of 2011 — the two months prior his father’s death.
A payment was deposited into his father’s account on July 5, but was returned “NSF” for insufficient funds on July 7, according to the documents.
The dollar amount has been redacted.
Dennis Oland’s supervisor at CIBC Wood Gundy told police Dennis hadn’t been making as much as he usually did and had asked for assistance from the firm.
The firm assisted him in "bridging the gap," John Travis had said.
There are two collateral mortgages on Dennis Oland's home, at 58 Gondola Point Rd., the documents show. They include one for $75,000, obtained in August 2010, and another for $163,000, obtained in March 2011.
Among his financial records seized by police were applications for lines of credit, loan documents, a refinance statement, RRSP statements, his investment portfolio summary, signature cards, and credit card statements.
Listed as “missing” is a credit card application.
Police requested a general warrant to conduct additional testing on previously seized items including: Dennis Oland’s BlackBerry, the GPS from a sailboat co-owed by his wife, a silver Ultra Speed 2 Gigabyte USB, a Scan Disk SD card, four cards and one memory stick, a CD marked: "Lisa's personal staff" an iPhone, and an iPod.
It's unclear whether the tests have been completed. No results have been released.
Saint John police Chief Bill Reid has repeatedly said he expects an arrest in the case before the end of the year.
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