Calgary court hears heartbreaking testimony at Downey double murder trial
Friends and family of a woman and child who were murdered over two years ago were in tears in a Calgary courtroom after hearing heartbreaking testimony from witnesses at the trial for Edward Downey.
(**Warning: Graphic Content)
Downey is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and her daughter, Taliyah Marsman, 5, in the summer of 2016.
Baillie was found dead in her basement suite in Panorama Hills on July 11 and Taliyah’s body was found on a rural property east of Chestermere, three days later.
Downey was arrested and charged in their deaths and pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder on the first day of his trial.
In the Crown’s opening statement, the jury was told that Baillie was found dead with duct tape around her face and wrists, stuffed into a laundry hamper, which was hidden in her daughter’s closet.
Prosecutor Carla MacPhail said Downey’s finger prints were on the duct tape and that Baillie and Taliyah were both asphyxiated.
MacPhail said Baillie was killed because she became a wedge between Downey and his girlfriend, who was Baillie’s best friend at the time. The prosecution said Taliyah was killed because she could identify her mother’s killer, someone she already knew as a family friend.
Downey’s ex-girlfriend, who can only be identified as AB, testified on Tuesday and on Wednesday, court heard from her sister who said Baillie said she was worried about AB after she saw Downey punch her friend in the face following a night out.
A neighbour, Douglas Jesson, told the court that he saw ‘a gentleman take a little girl out of a car and take her across the street to another car’ and that the little girl looked like she had been crying.
He said that the girl was wearing polka-dot boots and was with a stocky, black man who was holding a red suitcase. Jesson and his wife, Sharry, said they both saw the pair on July 11.
A pair of police officers testified in the afternoon and talked about the search for Baillie’s vehicle.
Calgary police Sgt. Darren Smith reviewed CCTV footage from the area around Baillie’s home and showed a timeline of photos to the jury.
He said he was also asked to look for a grey, Dodge Charger that was owned by AB but often used by the accused and that it was spotted parked around the corner from Baillie’s home on the morning of July 11.
He told the court that Baillie’s Ford Fusion was seen parked in front of her home until 10:13 a.m. and that it was gone by 10:34 a.m. He said that it was seen again a few hours later and then left the area. Nykoluk said the last time the Charger was captured on camera in the area was at 1:27 p.m.
The trial continued on Thursday, with testimony from CPS Cst. Bradley Nykoluk who was called to conduct a check on welfare at Baillie’s home after family members failed to reach her when she didn’t turn up for work.
Nykoluk said he did a brief search and that ‘there was nothing obvious that stood out to me’ and that he saw an iPad charging on the bed.
He said he didn’t see any signs of forced entry or anything out of the ordinary after his initial search but that he thought he ‘was missing something so I decided to do a secondary search of the residence.’
Nykoluk said he searched through drawers and cupboards and when he went to move the laundry hamper out of the way in the closet, it wouldn’t budge and appeared to be heavier than it should have been.
He described the moment when he found the body in the laundry basket and said two feet with painted toe nails were sticking out and that he realized ‘they were beyond help.’
Family members were in the courtroom once again and were emotional while listening to the difficult testimony.
A judge and jury, consisting of five men and seven women, is hearing the case, which is scheduled to last three weeks.
More to come…
Follow @CTVInaSidhu for complete coverage of the trial.
Timeline for Dodge Charger and Ford Fusion