‘Ottawa’ Lan Bush Trial: Unexpected Delivery Man Put Victims on Edge in Days Before Triple Killing
A knock at the front door startled Raymonde Garon.
It was highly unusual for anyone to just present themselves at the door to her apartment in what was supposed to be a secure, gated condominium, a jury heard Friday.
But, still, Garon answered and saw whom she would later describe to a dinner table full of family as a delivery man who suspiciously didn’t have a package.
The knock at the front door came on June 27, 2007. Three days later, Garon, 73, her husband, retired federal tax judge Alban Garon, 77, and their friend and neighbour Marie-Claire Beniskos, 78, were found dead on the floor of that same condo at 1510 Riverside Dr. They had been beaten, bound and gagged. A pool of blood surrounded them and a plastic bag was tied around each of their necks. A single hangman’s noose was also placed around Alban’s throat.
Ian Bush, 61, a human resources consultant who prosecutors allege had a tax vendetta against the retired judge, is on trial for three counts of first-degree murder. Prosecutors allege that Bush gained access to the Garons’ home and killed the couple and Beniskos on the morning of June 29, 2007.
Richard Lurette, Raymonde’s brother, testified in French through a translator that on the evening of June 27, 2007, he was having dinner with his sister and cousins in Saint Sauveur, Que., when Raymonde told the group an unsettling account of what had happened earlier that day.
“Someone had come to her and had rung, and he said he had a package for Alban,” Lurette said. His sister asked the man to leave the package, but the man told her he had left it in the truck and would come back the next day.
“The whole episode was odd,” Lurette told the court.
“There’d be no delivery person that would act like that.”
Cousin Danielle L’ecuyer was also at dinner that evening, and told the court that even though Raymonde had offered to go down with the man to retrieve the package, he still refused.
Even as a visitor to the condo, Lurette would have to identify himself to a security guard at the gatehouse entrance, name the resident he was there to see and then wait while the guard called up to the resident to announce their guest. He needed approval before the gate was raised to let him in.
“In the building she lived in, people didn’t just show up on your floor,” L’ecuyer testified.
The property manager of the Garons’ luxury condominium, Riviera II, testified Friday that while that was the procedure for visitors, anyone with a delivery would be directed by security to the building’s superintendent who would then receive the package.
But that would only happen when someone presented themselves to the front gate of the complex where the security gatehouse was located.
Nancy Bouillon also told the 11-man, one-woman jury that while there were security cameras monitoring the three-building complex, the cameras displayed a live feed only. None of the footage was recorded.
Assistant Crown Attorney James Cavanagh told the jury that officers will testify that a rear pedestrian gate in the fence that surrounded the entire property was found to be buzzing after police responded to the discovery of the bodies. When they tried the fence, it was unlocked.
In 2007, Alban Garon, after discussing the unexpected visitor with those at the dinner table, agreed that the couple should look into the supposed delivery and was planning to call the company, Lurette said.
The next evening, June 28, 2007, at a 75th birthday party for a friend at the Kanata Holiday Inn, Raymonde, still thinking about the confusing appearance, told former neighbours and longtime friends Adrien St-Cyr and his wife about the same event.
When St-Cyr found out that his friends had been killed, he phoned police, concerned that the Garons hadn’t told anyone else of the encounter and that it could be key evidence for investigators.
Ottawa police and RCMP officers canvassed more than 20 delivery companies and determined that none of them had delivered anything to Unit #1002 at 1510 Riverside Dr. in the week leading up to the deaths.
The trial continues Monday.