Jury finds man guilty of first-degree murder in deaths of woman and her daughter

CALGARY — Tearful loved ones stood and applauded after a jury found a man guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of a Calgary woman and her five-year-old daughter.

Edward Downey, 48, had testified he didn’t kill Sara Baillie and Taliyah Marsman in July 2016.

“Now, I can go home and bury Sara and Taliyah’s ashes and forever let them rest in peace,” Baillie’s mother, Janet Fredette, said after Wednesday’s verdict.

“Our hope is that in time and little by little, this powerful love we feel for the girls will gradually take up more and more space in our minds each and every day, that pictures and sounds of the happier times will settle on us and drive out the darkness that has become part of our daily lives.”

It took the jury less than three hours to reach its verdict.

The conviction comes with an automatic life sentence, but it has yet to be determined whether Downey will have to wait 25 or 50 years to be eligible for parole.

The Crown has indicated it’s seeking consecutive periods of parole ineligibility and all but one juror recommended the same. A sentencing date is to be set in January.

The Crown’s theory was that Downey believed Baillie, 34, had influenced her best friend to break up with him and to decline to work as an escort.

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

“Sara died trying to help her friend out of a bad situation. She is a hero,” Fredette said. ”Sara’s death has ensured that no other individual will be harmed by Mr. Downey.”

Downey looked straight ahead as the verdict was read and showed no emotion.

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

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

Both died by asphyxiation.

Downey repeatedly denied killing Baillie and her daughter.

He testified that the day Baillie was found dead, he met two other men — one he called Terrance and a friend of Terrance’s — at Baillie’s place to buy cocaine, but Downey had to get money from home.

Downey told court that before he left, the man identified as Terrance was arguing with Baillie and asked for tape. He said he ripped some off a roll the friend chucked over, not thinking much of the request.

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

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

Cellphone pings from Downey’s phone helped police zero in on the location of Taliyah’s body. Downey testified he was in the area checking out drug stash locations instead of going to a planned meet-up spot to finish the drug deal.

Fredette thanked police, Crown and Victims Services.

“It has been a long two and a half years to get to this moment in time,” she said. “We are most pleased with the outcome of the trial and we are certain justice will be served following this verdict.”

Just Posted

Three teenage boys in hospital after opioid overdoses at Alberta house party

STRATHMORE, Alta. — Police suspect three teenage boys who are in critical… Continue reading

Poll suggests Canadian trust in science falling, scientists thought ‘elitist’

A survey suggests that the trust Canadians place in science may be… Continue reading

Trudeau attacks troika of Tories in first salvo for federal battle for Ontario

OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau fired the first shot in Monday’s… Continue reading

Global postal union meets amid Trump threat to pull US out

GENEVA — The effects of President Donald Trump’s standoff with China could… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Police investigating homicide after woman found dead in residential building in Winnipeg

Winnipeg police say they are investigating a homicide after a woman was… Continue reading

Samsung’s folding phone hits the US

NEW YORK — Samsung’s folding phone is finally hitting the U.S. Samsung… Continue reading

Thomas Cook collapse means headaches for Transat as partnership deal dies

MONTREAL — Tour operator Transat Inc. says it could face fallout from… Continue reading

Mikkelson sees evidence of success in women’s hockey showcase in Toronto

TORONTO — Two-time Olympic gold medallist Meaghan Mikkelson woke up in her… Continue reading

Canada downs Mexico 109-53 in women’s basketball AmeriCup opener

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Jamie Scott had 21 points, including five… Continue reading

Pink and red combos, Hollywood gold on the Emmys carpet

NEW YORK — Julia Louis-Dreyfus stunned in classic Hollywood gold, Zendaya donned… Continue reading

‘Everest has not gone away:’ Sharon Wood tells story of historic summit in book

CANMORE, Alta. — More than three decades after becoming the first woman… Continue reading

Most Read