Three trials concerning multiple killings — two involving children — and one trial occurring 18 years after a beloved 21-year-old disappeared on Valentine’s Day are among the high-profile cases that will be before the courts in Calgary in 2021.
Here are some of the major cases that CBC court reporter Meghan Grant will be keeping an eye on:
Domestic triple homicide
- Accused: Dustin Duthie.
- Charges: 3 counts of 2nd-degree murder.
- Victims: Taylor Toller, Shawn Boshuck, Alan Pennylegion.
- Trial: March 8.
- Lawyers: Rebecca Snukal (defence), Shane Parker (Crown).
Dustin Duthie is charged with three counts of second-degree murder. Police allege he killed his girlfriend Taylor Toller in July 2018 and then his mother, Shawn Boshuck, and stepfather, Alan Pennylegion, a week later.
Duthie was arrested after he called 911 on July 31, 2018, to report the killings.
When officers responded, they discovered the bodies of Toller at her southeast apartment in Applewood Park and his mother and stepfather at their Hidden Valley home in northwest Calgary.
At the time of the deaths, police said the killings are believed to have stemmed from a domestic dispute between the victims and accused.
A mother and toddler killed
- Accused: Robert Leeming.
- Charges: 2 counts of 2nd-degree murder.
- Victims: Jasmine Lovett, 25; Aliyah Sanderson, 22 months.
- Trial: Sept. 20.
- Lawyers: Balfour Der (defence), Doug Taylor (Crown).
Robert Leeming is accused of murdering a toddler, Aliyah Sanderson, and the child’s mother, Jasmine Lovett, in April 2019.
Days before he was arrested and charged with the murders, Leeming — who had dated Lovett — gave several interviews to reporters who showed up at his home.
Leeming confirmed he was a suspect in the killings but denied involvement in their deaths. He said he and Lovett had been romantically involved “on and off.”
At the time of their deaths, Lovett and her daughter lived in the townhouse owned by Leeming.
Leeming said he had gone out to the Bragg Creek area for a picnic with the mother and daughter on April 17, and he last saw them the evening of April 18.
The bodies of the mother and daughter were found in Kananaskis in May.
Cold case killing
- Accused: Stéphane Parent.
- Charges: 2nd-degree murder.
- Victim: Adrienne McColl.
- Trial: Sept. 13.
- Lawyers: Shamsher Kothari (defence), Shane Parker (Crown).
Adrienne McColl, 21, was last seen on Valentine’s Day 2002. Sixteen years later, her boyfriend, Stéphane Parent. who had been living in Quebec, was arrested and charged with her murder.
McColl’s body was discovered in a rancher’s field near Nanton, south of Calgary, three days after she disappeared.
Friends of the victim have told CBC News that Parent and McColl were romantically involved at the time of her death but had a volatile relationship.
Parent, who was a person of interest at the time of McColl’s death, bought a one-way ticket to Ottawa days after McColl’s body was found.
He spent time living in Ontario and Quebec before his arrest.
- Accused: Jimmy Truong.
- Charges: 3 counts of 1st-degree murder.
- Victims: Cuc Lung and Quang Tran, Phu Phan.
- Trial: Feb. 8.
- Lawyers: Derek Jugnauth (defence), Brian Holtby (Crown).
Jimmy Truong is accused of killing a couple in front of a five-year-old child in September 2016, as well as a man outside his Edmonton home weeks earlier.
A fourth murder charge was dropped after a judge ruled in August there was not enough evidence to send the case to trial.
Cuc Lung, 34, and Quang Chi Tran, 38, were killed as they sat in their car, which had just pulled into the garage of their northeast home.
Lung’s five-year-old son was in the backseat of the vehicle and witnessed his mother’s killing but was not injured.
Police said Lung had a long history of associating with criminal networks and that the attack was likely targeted.
In October 2016, Phu Phan, 30, was fatally shot outside his Edmonton home. Truong wasn’t charged until June 2019.
Truong is currently out on bail.
Stephans’ court saga continues
- Accused: David and Collet Stephan.
- Charges: Failing to provide the necessaries of life.
- Victim: Ezekiel Stephan.
- The Alberta Court of Appeal will give about 24 hours notice when a decision is coming.
- Lawyers: Alias Sanders, Shawn Buckley, Jason Demers (defence), Rajbir Dhillon (Crown).
David and Collet Stephan’s drawn-out court saga continues as the couple awaits a decision from the Alberta Court of Appeal.
The pair were tried twice on charges of failing to provide the necessaries of life to their dying toddler, Ezekiel.
The Stephans have already gone through two trials; being convicted in 2016 and then, after the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial, acquitted in September 2019.
The Crown appealed the acquittal, making arguments in June that the trial judge was biased and made “insulting” and “offensive remarks” about the Nigerian-born medical examiner’s manner of speaking during his testimony.
The prosecution also argued the judge erred in making the Crown prove that timely treatment would have saved Ezekiel’s life. The defence stuck with the position that Ezekiel did not have meningitis and died from a lack of oxygen in an ambulance.
Ezekiel was 19 months old when he died in 2012. He would be 10 now.