Convictions upheld for Calgary man who murdered mother, 5-year-old

A Calgary man convicted of murdering a mother and her five-year-old daughter has lost his bid for a new trial.

Edward Downey, 51, was found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie and her daughter Taliyah Marsman who were killed on July 11, 2016.

Downey appealed and on Tuesday, the Alberta Court of Appeal refused to overturn his convictions.

During the trial, the Crown presented evidence that Downey had become enraged with Baillie who he blamed for his failing relationship with his girlfriend.

Aside from dissuading her friend from escorting for Downey, who’d had a history of pimping, Baillie had witnessed the killer abuse her best friend, according to the Crown.

Downey and his girlfriend were in the middle of a split when Baillie and her daughter were killed. 

Both mother and daughter died of asphyxiation. Baillie’s body was found stuffed inside a laundry hamper. Duct tape had been wrapped around her face.

Taliyah’s body was discovered days later in a rural area east of the city. 

In her appeal arguments, defence lawyer Kelsey Sitar argued the jury heard evidence of bad character which she said set the tone for the trial and the jury’s verdict. 

“Escorting was alleged to be the undercurrent of Mr. Downey’s life. It was highly prejudicial evidence with propensity and character that undermined trial fairness,” said Sitar in her arguments.

Downey was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years.

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