On Monday morning, Edward Downey, 48, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the 2016 deaths of Sara Baillie and her daughter, Taliyah Marsman.
Graphic and disturbing details of the case were outlined in an opening statement by Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail.
Taliyah had also FaceTimed her great aunt and uncle, Marilynne and Scott Hamilton, to share the same news. She spent a lot of time with the Hamiltons.
Sara’s aunt, Marilynne Hamilton, said she started calling around, but Sara and Taliyah were nowhere to be found.
She told the jury Downey had struck his girlfriend in the face in front of Baillie. He also blamed Baillie for A.B.'s decision to break up with him and not work for him as an escort, she added.
“We heard him gasp and told us not to come in…told us to stay where we were,” Marilynne said.
“I was pleading for him to tell me if it was Sara and Taliyah. He just kept saying, ‘I don’t know.”
After the discovery of Sara’s body, an Alberta-wide Amber Alert was activated for her missing daughter.
MacPhail told jurors Downey was known to both Sara and Taliyah. He was Sara’s best friend’s boyfriend.
Baillie's aunt, Marilynne Hamilton, testified that concerned friends and family searched Baillie's suburban basement suite later the same day.
That woman’s identity is protected by a court-imposed publication ban, and can only be referred to by the initials “AB.”
The Crown told the jury the day before Sara was killed, AB sent a text to Downey that said, “it’s time to pack your bags I’m ending this relationship.”
Officers arrived and spoke to Hamilton and her husband in the living room. Just as they were finishing up, an officer took a final look around.
MacPhail said things were falling apart, and it’s up to the jury to decide if Downey blamed Sara for that.
The jury was told text messages will be presented as evidence during the trial–texts between Downey and one of his associates, expressing his view of Sara’s influence on his girlfriend.
The Crown alleges Downey had also taken steps towards getting his girlfriend to work as an escort but she had decided “it was something she was not going to do.”
“It’s for you to decide if Downey blamed Sara for this as well,” MacPhail told the jury.
It was a map from that data that led police to find Taliyah’s body three days later just outside of the city limits. Her tiny body was discarded in some bushes.
The Crown said it’s their theory Taliyah’s killer took her and murdered her because she was a witness to her mother’s death.
"You will be asked to consider what impact this had on Mr. Downey," MacPhail told the jurors.
Family of Sara and Taliyah filled the courtroom Monday, many were crying as they heard details of the case.
It said they will be attending the trial and asked for privacy as the court case unfolds. The family said a statement will be made once the jury reaches verdicts in the case.
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CALGARY – A trial has begun for a man accused of killing a Calgary woman and her five-year-old daughter in July 2016.
The 48-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of 34-year-old Sara Baillie and her daughter Taliyah Marsman.
The courtrooms public gallery was so packed with loved ones and media that an overflow courtroom with a video feed needed to be set up.