New Brunswick

Dennis Oland became suspect in father's murder same day body was found

Dennis Oland became a suspect in Richard Oland's murder about two and a half hours into a videotaped statement he gave to Saint John police on July 7, 2011 — the same day his father's body was discovered.

Richard Oland's son initially considered a witness, but deemed suspect during statement to police

RAW: Dennis Oland's police statement

6 years ago
2:30:03
This is the fist half of the videotaped statement Dennis Oland gave to Saint John police on July 7, 2011. 2:30:03

Dennis Oland became a suspect in Richard Oland's murder about two and a half hours into a videotaped statement he gave to Saint John police on July 7, 2011 — the same day his father's bludgeoned body was discovered in his office.

The accused was initially considered a witness and voluntarily went to police headquarters with other family members to provide any information that might assist with the investigation.

But by 8:22 p.m., he was a suspect in the homicide and informed that search warrants would be executed against him, according to an agreed statement of facts submitted at his second-degree murder trial on Wednesday.

Dennis Oland, 47, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the 2011 death of his father, prominent businessman, Richard Oland. (CBC)
Lead Crown prosecutor P.J. Veniot did not ask Const. Stephen Davidson on Wednesday why Oland was deemed a a suspect after he said he had no reason to want his father dead and suggested it might have been a crackhead looking for money or his mistress who killed him.

Oland was, however, the last known person to see his father alive during a meeting at his investment firm office on Canterbury Street the night before.

The 69-year-old prominent businessman was found lying face down in a large pool of blood on his office floor shortly before 9 a.m. He had suffered 45 sharp and blunt force injuries to his head, neck and hands.

Until I went over to his office, it was a very typical day.- Dennis Oland

When Davidson asked Oland to go over the events of that day, he said: "Until I went over to his office, it was a very typical day."

Davidson, a 12-year veteran who had only joined the major crime unit a few days earlier, did not ask Oland to explain what he meant by that statement.

But Davidson, who went on to become the lead investigator three months later, did grill him about his account of events, including times, the routes he took, where he parked his car and any stops he made.

"Is there something else that happened that you're not telling me?" Davidson asked.

Oland, who had appeared relaxed and forthcoming throughout the first part of the video, which was played Tuesday for the court, seemed confused and flustered by that point.

Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011. (Canadian Yachting Association)
"You have me intimidated now, so I'm getting a mental block," he said.

Davidson left him alone for a few minutes and Oland, 47, mumbled the events to himself quietly again, using his finger to retrace his route on the table in front of him.

"So I went up the driveway … and sat there … and then I parked … there, there … No … I went in … and sat there  … I drove in and I parked … then I left … went around and then I stopped there … and then I went in … So I …  I came in and I parked there … then … I left there and I went around and I stopped there … Then where did I go after that?"

Davidson came back in at 8:25 p.m. and the interview ended. Oland left the police station around 11 p.m. The court has not heard what transpired in between.

Account of July 6 events

Oland provided Davidson with a two-page handwritten account of the events of July 6, 2011, which was submitted into evidence on Wednesday.

He went into more detail during the interview with Davidson, saying he went to his father's office, Far End Corporation, at 52 Canterbury St., twice that night.

The first time was around 5:15 p.m., after he finished work at CIBC Wood Gundy, where he was an investment advisor. He said he wanted to show his father a will from 1825 that seemed to indicate an illegitimate child in the family line. Genealogy was a common interest, he said.

Dennis Oland told police he was wearing a navy blazer when he went to visit his father on July 6, 2011, but video surveillance from Brunswick House shows he was wearing a brown sports jacket that day. (Court exhibit)
Oland drove from his office at Brunswick House, to the parking lot at the corner of Princess Street, climbed the stairs to his father's second-floor office, but realized he had forgotten some other "stuff" at his own office.

He said he might have used the bathroom in the foyer area before he went back to his car and drove the wrong way onto a one-way street.

"I went to go back to my office, but I don't have the key," he said, referring to the pass cards required to operate the elevator after hours.

Asked why he went up the one-way street when his office was in the other direction, Oland said he was actually considering three options — going back to his office to get the additional documents, going home, or going back to his father's office with the documents he had.

He ended up going back to his father's office around 5:30 p.m., and parked along Canterbury Street this time. His father's secretary went home for the day a few minutes later, he and his father discussed the genealogy material, then he left around 6:30 p.m., he said.

Saint John police seized a brown sports jacket from Dennis Oland's bedroom closet on July 14, 2011. (Court exhibit)
His father was sitting at his desk at the time, possibly reading something, he said. "As far as the final words …like, OK great, goodbye, I mean, I don't … it might have been me saying, ah … yeah, got to go, time for me to go, you know, OK great."

Just as he was leaving, Oland said his wife, Lisa, called him, saying she was sick and wondering where "the hell" he was.

So he headed home to Rothesay. But on the way, he said he decided to stop at Renforth Wharf to see if his children were there swimming — even though he was already running late and his wife was anxious for him to get home.

When he realized his children weren't at the wharf, he said he drove home, he and his wife went to Cochran's Country Market, back home for dinner, and watched part of a movie.

Then he went to the Irving to get some milk, put their hens away, did a bit of gardening and went to bed shortly after 11 p.m.

Says he wore navy blazer

Oland told Davidson he was wearing a navy blazer when he went to visit his father that night.

But he was captured on video surveillance earlier that day wearing a brown sports jacket. His father's secretary, Maureen Adamson, also testified to remembering him wearing a brown jacket when he arrived.

A brown sports jacket was seized from Oland's bedroom closet a week later. The Crown has said it had four areas of blood on it that matched his father's DNA profile.

RCMP Sgt. Brian Wentzell found four areas of staining on the brown sports jacket seized from Dennis Oland's bedroom closet. (Court exhibit)
Davidson asked Oland if he had any involvement in his father's death.

"No," he replied with almost a chuckle.

"I have no reason to want my father dead, to kill him, to … I mean, no. I mean, we've had our things, but no, I wouldn't rob someone of the fun that they're having and, you know, I … he's just … no."

Earlier in the statement, Oland described his father as not being "the easiest guy in the world to get along with." They didn't have a close relationship, he said.

Oland said he was grateful, however, for the interest-only loan of $500,000 or $600,000 his father had given him about four years prior when he was going through a "bitter" divorce.

Davidson asked Oland if he could think of anyone else who would "have an interest" in killing his father. "Who would benefit from that the most?"

"Because of a grudge or revenge? That kind of thing?" asked Oland.

"For any reason," said Davidson.

Oland's first response is, "Someone who wanted $20 out of a wallet to buy drugs? Um … this is reaching, a vindictive ex-girlfriend?"

"I think he's pissed a lot of people off, but not to that point where someone would, you know, would want to … want to kill somebody," he said.

"The only person that comes to mind is this supposed girlfriend," previously identified in court as being Diana Sedlacek, whom Oland describes as being known as a Dragon Lady and "fatal attraction type of person."

Sedlacek is expected to testify later in the trial.

The trial resumes on Thursday at 9:30 a.m., when Davidson will be back on the stand.

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