New Brunswick

Dennis Oland murder trial hears about 5 stained areas found on his jacket

​The jury in Dennis Oland's murder trial heard more details Friday about a key piece of evidence in the Crown's case against him — a brown sports jacket seized from his bedroom closet one week after his father's bludgeoned body was discovered.

Crown has previously said 4 areas of blood found on seized brown jacket matched DNA profile of Richard Oland

​The jury in Dennis Oland's murder trial heard more details Friday about a key piece of evidence in the Crown's case against him — a brown sports jacket seized from his bedroom closet one week after his father's bludgeoned body was discovered.

RCMP Sgt. Brian Wentzell, a blood spatter expert, testified about the five areas of staining he found on the jacket.

The stains were in the upper left chest area and on both sleeves, said Wentzell.

They ranged in size from "sub-millimetre" to about two centimetres, he said.

All five stains were visible without using any special enhancements, just a strong light and magnification, but they "varied in concentrations" and some were "quite faint," said Wentzell.

"Because of the colour of the jacket, they don't show up very well," he added.

Dennis Oland, 47, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the 2011 death of his father, Richard Oland. (CBC)
Lead Crown prosecutor P.J. Veniot previously told the jury during his opening statement at the beginning of the trial that four areas of blood were found on the jacket, which had been dry cleaned and still had the tag attached.

"DNA scientists will testify that in each of those locations, a DNA profile was found … It matched that of Richard Oland," Veniot had said.

The prominent businessman's body was discovered lying face down in a large pool of blood in his uptown Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

He had suffered 45 sharp and blunt force injuries to his head, neck and hands.

Dennis Oland, 47, who was the last known person to see his father alive during a meeting at his investment firm office the night before, has pleaded not guilty in his death.

RCMP Sgt. Brian Wentzell, a bloodstain expert, was asked by the Saint John Police Force to assist with the Richard Oland murder investigation. (CBC)
The accused told police he was wearing a navy blazer when he went to visit his father that night. But the victim's secretary testified he was wearing a brown jacket when he showed up at the office. He was also captured on video surveillance earlier in the day wearing a brown jacket.

Wentzell, who was asked by the Saint John Police Force to assist in the investigation, had testified Thursday that his abilities were "limited" by the amount of time that had passed before he was called.

He only arrived at the crime scene on July 11, 2011 — four days after Oland's body was discovered. By then, the body had already been removed, several people had been in and out of the office, and some items had been moved.

Veniot revisited the issue with Wentzell on Friday, asking if he had examined other homicide scenes where the body was not present.

He replied that he had. Wentzell added that he has even, on occasion, offered blood spatter analysis based on photos alone, without attending a crime scene.

Wentzell spent more than eight hours examining the large blood pool and "hundreds" of blood spatter stains in Richard Oland's office.

Jacket examined 5 months after seizure

He was sent Dennis Oland's jacket to examine on Nov. 30, 2011 — nearly five months later.

"I was to determine if I could locate what stains were on the jacket and how they were deposited on the jacket," he said.

He examined the jacket on Dec. 6, 2011, marking the stains he found and photographing them.

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)
The photos, which were submitted into evidence, were shown to the jury as Wentzell described each stain.

The front of the right sleeve had a stain "three millimetres or less in size," he said, showing a photo of the stain, which had been magnified 20 times.

"Red staining is noted in the fibres," he said, adding there was no garment manufacturer's tag to indicate what the jacket was made of.

A second stain was found on the front of the right sleeve, also measuring "three millimetres or less in size."

The third "reddish staining" of similar size was in the upper left chest area.

The inside front of the right sleeve had a "minimum of two stains, sub-millimetre in size," and "three areas of diluted-appearing stains, two centimetres or less in size," said Wentzell.

Wentzell also examined Richard Oland's clothing and found a linear indentation transfer stain on his blood-saturated sweater. (Court exhibit)
He circled the areas in question on an interactive screen being shown on the display monitors in courtroom.

On the inside cuff of the left sleeve, Wentzell found a "minimum of four stains, sub-millimetre in size" and two stains measuring one millimetre by five millimetres, and one millimetre by three millimetres.

After marking and photographing the jacket, Wentzell requested the marked areas be tested for blood and DNA by another RCMP lab.

Another witness is expected to testify about those findings later in the trial.

Wentzell examined the jacket again on Oct. 30, 2012. "There was going to be additional sampling and I wanted to record what had been sampled at that point," he said.

He took photographs of the jacket, showing where fabric in the areas he had previously marked, had been removed for testing.

He also checked the jacket again for any additional stains, but didn't find any, he said.

Indentation, pattern found on victim's clothing

Wentzell also examined Richard Oland's clothing and found a linear indentation mark on his blood-saturated sweater.

A linear transfer stain was also located on the front right side of the victim's blood-soaked shirt, said Wentzell. (Court exhibit)
Whatever contacted that area had that shape and had blood on it, he testified.

A similar linear transfer stain was also located on the front right side of the victim's blood-soaked shirt.

Below the back of the collar, which had "hundreds" of blood spatter stains on it, Wentzell found a transfer stain "indicating some kind of pattern detail."

"I'm not able to say what that was," he said.

The pathologist who conducted the autopsy previously testified Oland's injuries were inflicted by two separate surfaces — one that caused round wounds about three centimetres in diameter with a faint cross hatching pattern in them, and one with a sharp edge, strong enough to cut through bone without breaking apart and leaving pieces in the wounds.
Wentzell also noted a transfer stain with a with a pattern in it below the back of the collar, in the centre area of Richard Oland's shirt. (Court exhibit)

Sgt. Mark Smith, the head of the Saint John Police Force's forensic identification unit, previously testified that the blunt force wounds measured about three centimetres in diameter and appeared to have been caused by a hammer-type instrument.

He estimated the incised wounds were made by a sharp instrument about six or seven centimetres in length.

No weapon was ever found.

The victim's loafer-style leather shoes also had some stains. The left one, for example, had two spatter stains on the outstep side near the heel, and a minimum of three on top of the shoe in the toe area of the instep side, said Wentzell.

The location and shape of those stains suggest they were deposited while the shoe was sole-down on the floor.

Cross-examination set for Monday

Dennis Oland's defence lawyers are scheduled to cross-examine Wentzell on Monday morning.

They have previously suggested Richard Oland's blood may have been transferred to the jacket.

They presented evidence about the victim having a skin condition that would sometimes make his scalp bleed.

They also presented evidence that he had a hearing problem and would often lean in when speaking to someone, sometimes touching their arms as he spoke.

The Crown asked the pathologist if he noted any open sores on Oland's head that were unrelated to the attack. Dr. Ather Naseemuddin said he did not recall seeing any.

Before dismissing the jurors for the weekend Justice John Walsh reminded them "the time to decide this case is after — not before — you've heard all the evidence."

He also urged them to "avoid the media."