'They mattered:' Calgary court hears from family of murdered mother, daughter
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, March 8, 2019 4:13AM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 8, 2019 1:50PM EST
CALGARY -- Friends and relatives have told a Calgary sentencing hearing that they're haunted by images of a slain mother and daughter's final moments.
Six victim impact statements were read in court this morning as convicted double murderer Edward Downey sat placidly.
A jury found the 49-year-old guilty last year of first-degree murder in the 2016 deaths of Sara Baillie and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman.
Baillie's mother and Taliyah's grandmother, Janet Fredette, told court she can't close her eyes at night without imagining her daughter fighting for her life.
Baillie's uncle Scott Hamilton said he has had trouble sleeping and wonders if he could have done anything differently to change what happened.
His wife, Marilynne Hamilton, said the pain is unimaginable and she thinks about Taliyah dying alone and afraid.
"You didn't have the right to decide that their lives didn't matter, because they mattered to us. They mattered a lot," she told Downey, her husband and daughter by her side.
Framed photos of Baillie and Taliyah were propped up on a table in Downey's line of sight.
The trial heard that Downey believed Baillie had influenced her best friend to break up with him and also had persuaded her friend to refuse working for him as an escort.
The prosecution further argued that Baillie's daughter was a witness who needed silencing.
The best friend, who testified behind a screen at trial and cannot be identified because of a publication ban, had her victim impact statement read by prosecutor Ryan Jenkins.
"I'm doing this not only because I'm strong enough but because Sara would have wanted me to. She would have wanted you to know that you didn't break us," the friend wrote.
"She would have wanted you to know that you didn't win. I want you to know that you didn't win."
Downey repeatedly denied the killings in his testimony. 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 Crown is seeking consecutive periods of parole ineligibility.
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 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.