Jury urged not to jump to conclusions on man accused of killing woman, daughter

CALGARY — The lawyer for a man accused of killing a woman and her young daughter urged jurors Monday not to add to the tragedy by finding the wrong man guilty.

Edward Downey, 48, is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of 34-year-old Sara Baillie and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman.

Defence lawyer Gavin Wolch told Downey’s trial in Calgary that everyone agrees what happened was terrible.

“But we are asking you not to compound that tragedy by blaming Mr. Downey for something he didn’t do.”

Court has already heard that Baillie’s body was found stuffed in a laundry hamper in her daughter’s closet on July 11, 2016, and that her daughter was missing. Two of Downey’s partial fingerprints were found on duct tape that had been wrapped around Baillie’s face and neck.

The girl’s remains were found three days later in some bushes just east of Calgary. The trial has heard police used pings from Downey’s phone to zero in on the location.

Both Baillie and Taliyah died by asphyxiation.

The Crown’s theory is that Downey blamed Baillie for his relationship with her best friend ending and for his former girlfriend declining to work as an escort.

The Crown has said Downey relied on his ex-girlfriend, who cannot be named, for money and a place to live. Downey killed Taliyah because she could identify him, the Crown has suggested.

“This alleged motive amounts to nothing,” Wolch said in closing arguments.

He said there was no obvious animosity when Baillie and Downey saw each other briefly at a family gathering two days before she was found dead.

The trial has heard Downey’s then-girlfriend sent a text the next day telling him to pack his bags. Wolch argued the pair had long had a turbulent relationship, that Downey had started looking elsewhere and that he could make fast money other ways, such as dealing drugs.

“When he went to bed that night, he did not feel like his life was falling apart,” Wolch said.

Downey has admitted he was in Baillie’s apartment the day she was found dead.

He testified he met two other men — one he called Terrance and Terrance’s friend — there to buy cocaine that morning. He said Baillie and Terrance got into an argument in her bedroom before Downey left to get money from home.

Downey told court the man identified as Terrance asked for tape during the quarrel.

Downey said he ripped off a piece and didn’t think much of the request. Wolch noted DNA from three male sources was found on the tape, none of which could be definitively linked to Downey.

The Crown has told jurors Downey invented the two men.

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