CALGARY — A murder trial has heard a Calgary man who killed his girlfriend and is also accused of killing her young daughter told undercover police that the woman wanted “too much” from their relationship.
Robert Leeming, 36, has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Jasmine Lovett and not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson.
The mother and toddler were reported missing in April of 2019 after they didn’t show up for a family dinner.
Court heard that Leeming was befriended by two undercover officers, who told him they had retrieved a bag of evidence from a nosy neighbour and offered to help him with his problems.
In an audio recording played at the trial, one of the officers asked Leeming what happened and what Lovett had done to anger him.
“She wanted too much,” Leeming told the officers.
“She wanted to get … married.”
Leeming said he had been seeing someone else for five months — what “every single guy does” — and that Lovett wasn’t happy.
“Women, man, they always want more, right? Tell me when that ever stops with a chick, ever. From what I understand, she pretty much told her whole family,” Leeming said on the recording.
The officers, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, offered to help Leeming get rid of the bodies of Lovett and her daughter. One of the officers testified that Leeming led them to a day-use site in Kananaskis Country.
The officer said they went to the area on May 6, 2019, and walked a short distance on foot.
He said Leeming knew exactly where the bodies were, even though it was the middle of the night and there was fresh snow covering the ground.
“I said, ‘OK, where to?’ And (Leeming) goes, ‘You’re looking at it.’ And he points down. And underneath and against my left foot were branches and a pile,” testified the officer.
“(Leeming) goes and he grabs a branch and lifts it up as if to prove what’s underneath all these branches. As he does that, I see a small bit of blue that I believe to be the moving blankets.”
Investigators previously testified that the mother and child were doused in gasoline and wrapped in blue blankets before they were covered in dirt, mulch and branches.
The trial also heard that Lovett had skull fractures and was shot in the head. Aliyah died of blunt force head trauma.
The officer said Leeming boasted about steps he had taken to hinder a possible police investigation — including hiding wads of raw bacon around his house to throw off cadaver dogs and filling the back of his car with mulch.
“Well, mulch is death, right? So it smells like death,” Leeming told the officers in a tape recording played in court.
“You cleaned that car up good?” asked the undercover officer.
“Oh, yeah,” he replied.
The officer said Leeming also expressed relief that his 2014 Mercedes seized by police was an older model.
“It’s funny ‘cause they were telling me the Mercedes, they pretty much can hook up to the computer in the car and know exactly where I’ve been,” Leeming said with a laugh.
“It’s too old a car. If it was an ‘18, then I’d be in jail.”
Crown prosecutor Doug Taylor told the trial that he doesn’t anticipate calling any more witnesses but won’t close his case until next week.
Aliyah’s grandmother, Jodi Sanderson, told reporters outside court that the trial has been painful.
“It’s hard to listen to, but it helps to have the closure and know that it’s almost over,” she said.
“I don’t know how I could have survived if they weren’t found. It’s a nightmare. It’s like reliving the nightmare over and over.”
The trial resumes Tuesday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2021.
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press