On December 8, 2020, the Calgary Police Service arrested 51-year-old Leonard Brian Cochrane for the July 11, 1994 murders of 26-year-old Barry Christian Buchart and 25-year-old Trevor Thomas Deakins in Calgary, Alberta.
Two men broke into the victims’ home in South East Calgary and shot and killed the two men before feeling the scene. Police believe that the murders were part of a dispute over drug sales at the residence.
The case was reopened in 2019. Investigators were able to obtain a DNA profile of the suspect from blood found at the crime scene.
There is currently no information on who conducted the FGG investigation. The initial confirmation was made through surreptitious sampling.
Cochrane is being tried in the Alberta Court of King’s Bench on two counts of first-degree murder. The trial began in the end of April, 2023. On May 8, the Court ruled that the defence should be permitted to challenge the FGG investigation on the grounds that his s. 8 Charter right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure was violated. Cochrane is claiming to have a privacy interest in the DNA of his family members who uploaded their DNA to the databases used in the investigation.
This is based on the April 28, 2023 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Haevischer, 2023 SCC 11 which held that pre-trial motions should only be summarily dismissed if they are manifestly frivolous. A voir dire will now be held to determine the admissibility of the DNA evidence. Justice Yamauchi will rule on the important question of whether the defendant has a privacy interest in other people’s DNA.
On June 27, 2023, Justice Yamauchi ruled that the defence had not established sufficient grounds for the court to entertain a Charter application that Cochrane’s s. 8 rights were violated on the grounds that he had a privacy interest in the shared segments of DNA of his relatives in the genetic genealogy database.
The case against Cochrane is now proceeding. DNA experts testified that the samples from unknown suspect A were found in blood on a vinyl carpet and stair moulding in the home, and on a rock in an alley way outside the home. The DNA profile from these samples was compared with Cochrane. His DNA profile was found to be included in the crime scene DNA with a random match probability of 1 in 29 quadrillion.
The other suspect has not yet been identified and charged.
Grant, Meghan. “Accused Calgary Murderer to Argue He Has Privacy Rights Over Family Members’ DNA.” CBC News, May 8, 2023. Accessed May 10, 2023. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-leonard-cochrane-murder-trial-dna-genealogy-1.6836384.
Kost, Hannah. “26 ‘Long and Agonizing’ Years End with Arrest of Calgary Man in 1994 Double Homicide as 2nd Suspect Sought.” CBC News, December 8, 2020. Accessed May 10, 2023. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/leonard-cochrane-barry-buchart-trevor-deakins-murder-calgary-1.5832806.
Martin, Kevin. “DNA Found at Scene of Cold-Case Double Homicide Linked to Murder Suspect, Expert Says.” Calgary Herald, June 28, 2023. Accessed July 2, 2023. https://calgaryherald.com/news/crime/dna-found-at-scene-of-cold-case-double-homicide-linked-to-murder-suspect-expert-says.
Martin, Kevin. “Defence Can Explore Whether Genetic Tracing Violated Double-Murder Suspect’s Rights, Judge Rules.” Calgary Herald, May 8, 2023. Accessed May 10, 2023. https://calgaryherald.com/news/crime/defence-can-explore-whether-genetic-tracing-violated-double-murder-suspects-rights-judge-rules.