CALGARY -- A man jailed for killing a five-year-old Calgary boy and his grandparents in 2014 is appealing his sentence.

Alberta’s top court heard arguments from Douglas Garland’s lawyers appealing the life sentences with no chance of parole for 75 years he received for the deaths of Nathan O’Brien and Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

A jury found Garland guilty of the first-degree murders in 2017, which comes with an automatic life sentence, but the judge decided to triple the minimum parole eligibility because Nathan was so young and Garland hasn’t shown remorse.

Garland would be 129 years-old before he could apply for parole.

His lawyers argued that three consecutive parole ineligibilities is "excessive and harsh" and that victim impact statements "exceeded the scope" of what's allowed under the Criminal Code.

The appeal was conducted via the online platform WebEx to allow for physical distancing during the pandemic.

Defence lawyer Kim Ross argued the judge “imposed a vengeful sentence” that weighted certain principles of the sentencing more heavily than others.

Crown prosecutor Christine Rideout argued the sentence was appropriate for murder involving the slaying of a child when “there was no need to incorporate Nathan into his plan.”

On June 29, 2014, Nathan was having a sleepover at his grandparents' home. That's where prosecutors believe all three were attacked before being taken north of Calgary to the Garland farm and killed. 

Their bodies were not found but teeth, bone fragments, and flesh was recovered from a burn pit on the Garland property and a large amount of blood was found in the Liknes’ home.

A year before Garland appealed the sentence, the Alberta court of appeal rejected the appeal of his conviction.

The Crown had argued that a grudge about an oilfield pump patent that Garland and Alvin Liknes had worked on together angered Garland so much that he plotted the killings, with the attack taking place on the night of the Liknes’ estate sale.

A decision for the sentence appeal could take several months.

(With files from The Canadian Press)