Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Alex Baptiste, left, speaks to reporters alongside his cousin Verlyn Baptiste after he testified about the last time he saw his sister, Dawns Baptiste, alive, at the Calgary courthouse Monday.

Trial begins for man accused in death of Calgary woman Dawns Baptiste in 2015

CALGARY — A murder trial has begun for a man accused of raping a woman and then hitting her in the head with a rock in 2015.

Curtis Healy has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Dawns Baptiste.

Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail told jurors Baptiste and Healy were both on a transit train the last night she was seen alive.

Two days later, Baptiste’s body was found face down in a northeast Calgary backyard with her pants and underwear pulled down and one boot removed.

MacPhail says the Crown intends to show that the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and that DNA from blood and hair on a rock matched Baptiste’s.

She said Healy told police after his arrest that he used the rock to “finish her off.”

An expert will testify that blood on Healy’s shoe matches Baptiste’s DNA and that semen found on Baptiste matches Healy’s, MacPhail told court Monday.

Loved ones sat in court wearing red T-shirts with a photo of a smiling woman with glasses and pink hair. On them was written: “In loving memory of Dawns Echoes Baptiste” along with the dates of her birth and death.

Her brother, Alex Baptiste, described in court how he, his sister and his then-common law wife met up downtown on Feb. 10, 2015, and headed to a McDonald’s restaurant in northwest Calgary to eat.

He said his sister was upset that day because she couldn’t find where one of her four children had a dentist’s appointment and that she was unable to see her son.

After supper, the Baptiste siblings headed back downtown by train and got separated.

That was the last time Alex Baptiste saw his sister alive. He said he thought she intended to stay with a close friend in northeast Calgary in the same neighbourhood where her body was found.

Outside court, Alex Baptiste said he plans to be there throughout the trial, which had previously been scheduled to take place last year.

“It’s pretty hard because we wanted to finally put our sister to rest and now that we’re finally able to do that, I hope that everybody will do more for other missing and murdered Indigenous women out there,” he said, describing his sister as a loving, outgoing mother.

The Baptistes are members of the Samson Cree Nation south of Edmonton.

“I’m going to be there ‘til we get justice for her and make sure that justice is going to happen for other families out there that are coping with the same loss too.”

Just Posted

Improving life for people with Alzheimer’s and their families is a priority for Raitt

The federal Conservatives deputy leader is dealing with the disease in her own home

PHOTO: International Peace Day

Visitors broke bread, made crafts and trading cards at a gathering marking… Continue reading

Snowfall warning issued for Central Alberta

Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Central Alberta Friday afternoon. Warning… Continue reading

POLL: Most Red Deerians don’t want cell phones in the classroom

Sixty-six per cent of Advocate readers who responded to an on-line poll… Continue reading

Grassroots movement to clean up Red Deer is gaining momentum

Homeless people need more attention than shopping carts, says former councillor Cindy Jefferies

Updated: Grey Cup in Red Deer to raise funds for military families

Money raised will go to the Military Family Resource Centre and be used locally

Dustin Byfuglien scores in overtime, Jets beat Flames 4-3 in pre-season

WINNIPEG — Bryan Little tied the game late in the third and… Continue reading

Mistrial denied in Calgary murder trial over jury’s visit to hotel Denny’s

CALGARY — A Calgary judge has denied a request for a mistrial… Continue reading

Former Canadian astronaut says space shuttle is a vehicle of hope

OTTAWA — Sending messages of hope from space is a big part… Continue reading

Canada requests trade panel on uncoated groundwood paper ruling by U.S.

OTTAWA — Canada has requested a NAFTA trade panel review a U.S.… Continue reading

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

SURREY, B.C. — Three First Nations in British Columbia gathered today to… Continue reading

Tail with a happy ending: Dog rescued from fighting ring, ready for police work

Dallas’s ear-to-ear grin and bright brown eyes seem to sparkle with joy.… Continue reading

Liberal leader doubles down on notion that $75 weekly grocery bill is possible

MONTREAL — One day after being ridiculed for saying it was possible… Continue reading

Jury resumes deliberating man’s guilt in Calgary mother of four’s death

CALGARY — Jurors are continuing to deliberate the guilt of a man… Continue reading

Most Read