Testimony continues at double murder trial for Edward Downey
Court sketch of Edward Downey (Janice Fletcher)
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2018 12:14PM MST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 28, 2018 4:55PM MST
The former girlfriend of a man charged with the double homicide of a Calgary mother and daughter in 2016 says she was abused by the accused and that he tried to force her into prostitution.
(**Warning: Graphic Content)
The woman, who can only be identified as AB, testified at the trial for Edward Downey on Tuesday and again on Wednesday morning. She testified from behind a screen so she doesn’t have to face the accused.
Downey is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie and her daughter Taliyah Marsman over two years ago.
Baillie’s body was found in a laundry basket in a closet in her Panorama Hills home in the summer of 2016 and Taliyah‘s body was found in a rural area east of Calgary a few days later.
On Monday, Downey pleaded not guilty to the charges and prosecutor Carla MacPhail said in her opening statement that Baillie was close friends with his ex-girlfriend.
According to the Crown, Downey was dumped by AB and he blamed Baillie for the breakup.
On Tuesday, AB described what was happening in her personal life before her boyfriend was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and said she lived with Downey in the Skyview Ranch area for about two years.
AB told the court that Downey never had a legal job while they were together and that when money was tight, he asked if she would work for him as an escort.
She says they even drove to Edmonton but that she backed out of a call before things got physical and told Downey that she wouldn't work as a prostitute.
AB told the jury, that Downey punched her in the face after a night out and that Baillie saw what happened and told her she was afraid for her.
AB was emotional when she described the moment that police told her Baillie was dead.
Under cross-examination on Wednesday morning, AB said she was never actually an escort but when asked if Downey wanted her to be, she said ‘at first, no, but when things got tight, yes.’
AB’s sister was the next to testify. She said Baillie told her about the night she saw Downey hit AB. She also said Baillie said she was worried about her friend and AB shouldn’t be around someone like that.
The sister says she told AB in June of 2016 that Downey was no longer welcome in her home or at family dinners.
Douglas Jesson lived in Panorama Hills at the time of the murders and was the next witness to be called.
He said 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 man was holding a red suitcase.
The Crown asked Jesson if anything about the little girl stood out to him and he said that ‘she’d been crying.’
Family members of the victims are attending the trial and many wiped away tears during Jesson’s testimony.
While being cross-examined, Jesson told the court that the girl he saw could have been five feet tall and 10 years old but that he is ‘not very good with ages.’
Jesson’s wife, Sharry, also testified and described seeing ‘a gentleman and a little girl standing beside the white car.’ She said that the other vehicle had four doors and ‘pure black’ windows and that the next time she saw it, it was driving away.
When the Crown asked her about the little girl, Sharry Jesson said she thought she was about 10 and that she was quite tall.
She admitted, under cross-examination, that she never saw the man and little girl from the front and said the girl’s hair was brown with a bit of blonde.
The court called a lunch break following Jesson's testimony and Constable Robert Schmidt and Sergeant Darren Smith each took the stand in the afternoon.
Cst. Schmidt was called to Baillie’s home on July 11, 2016 to assist other officers. He searched for Baillie’s vehicle later that evening and found it a few hundred metres from her home at about 1:20 a.m.
Sgt. Smith reviewed CCTV footage of the area secured from taxis, Calgary Transit buses, and neighbouring homes. In his testimony, Sgt. Smith said a timeline was established utilizing the footage and the presence and eventual absence of a dark grey Dodge Charger and Baillie's white Ford Fusion. Ealier in the proceedings, AB had indicated Downey would often borrow AB's Dodge Charger.
The case is being heard by Justice Beth Hughes and a jury, consisting of five men and seven women. The trial is scheduled to last three weeks.
Follow @CTVInaSidhu for complete coverage of the trial.