A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year of first-degree murder in the 2016 deaths of Sara Baillie and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Judge to sentence man for murder of Calgary woman, her five-year-old daughter

CALGARY — A sentencing hearing is to begin today for a Calgary man convicted of killing a woman and her young daughter.

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year of first-degree murder in the 2016 deaths of Sara Baillie and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman.

The Crown told the trial that Downey believed Baillie had influenced her best friend to break up with him and that Baillie had convinced that friend to refuse working for him as an escort.

The prosecution further argued that Baillie’s daughter was a witness who needed silencing.

Downey repeatedly denied the killings in his testimony, and his lawyers argued someone else was responsible.

The convictions come with an automatic life sentence, but a judge is to determine whether Downey must wait 25 or 50 years before he can apply for parole.

The trial heard Baillie, 34, was found dead in a laundry hamper in her daughter’s closet with duct tape wrapped around her face, neck and wrists. Taliyah was missing.

The girl’s remains were found in some bushes east of the city three days later.

Both died by asphyxiation.

Downey, 49, testified that the day Baillie was found dead, he met two other men — one he called Terrance — at Baillie’s place to buy cocaine. But Downey said he left to get money from home.

Downey told court that before he left, the man identified as Terrance argued with Baillie and asked for tape. Downey said he ripped some off a roll the friend tossed to him, but didn’t think much of the request.

Two of Downey’s partial fingerprints were found on the duct tape that had been wrapped around Sara’s face, the trial heard.

The Crown told jurors that Downey invented the two men and called Downey’s version of events absurd.

Cellphone pings from Downey’s phone helped police zero in on the location of Taliyah’s body.

Loved ones in the courtroom’s public gallery could be heard sobbing throughout the three-week trial. On a few occasions, insults and expletives were shouted at the accused.

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