Accused double-murderer repeatedly denies involvement in deaths of Calgary mother, daughter
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Downey has denied he killed Baillie and her five-year-old daughter Taliyah Marsman while testifying in his own defense.
“I did not kill Sara,” he told court.
The 48-year-old spent nearly two days on the stand. He has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in their deaths.
Baillie was found inside her northwest Calgary basement suite on July 11, 2016. Taliyah’s body was found three days later, outside city limits, following an Alberta-wide Amber Alert.
Downey said on the day Baillie was killed, he went to her house to get drugs from an old drug associate, Terrance, but denied he had anything to do with the two murders. His lawyer told jurors the last time Downey saw Taliyah, it was that same morning and “she was alive and well.”
Downey said he didn’t have a phone number for Terrance, despite having an extensive contact list in his phone.
“The reason Terrance is not on those contacts is because he does not exist,” Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail suggested. Downey denied the suggestion.
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Downey told court Terrance was in a room with Baillie and asked for tape. Downey said he gave him approximately 18 inches of duct tape.
The Crown held up the actual tape that was removed from Baillie’s face and neck.
“That’s a lot more than 18 inches, isn’t it?” MacPhail asked, adding 1.5 metres of duct tape was removed from Baillie’s head.
Earlier in the trial, court heard Downey’s fingerprints were found on the duct tape that bound Baillie.
The Crown suggested Downey went to Baillie’s home alone July 11, 2016, and brought the duct tape with him.
“Your plan was to go in there and kill Sara Baillie,” MacPhail said.
“No I did not,” Downey said.
The Crown went on to suggest he killed Baillie because “she was a big problem for him.”
He denied the suggestion and stated, “she was not a big problem for me.”
“Maybe it was a surprise Taliyah was there, sir?”
Downey replied, “No, why would it be a surprise? She lives there.”
Family members broke down, sobbing as the Crown went into graphic detail about the deaths.
“You kept them in their house against their will,” MacPhail said. “You punched Sara in the belly to wind her.”
Each time the Crown made a suggestion regarding their deaths, Downey denied any involvement.
“I didn’t apply no tape to Sara Baillie,” he said.
“I didn’t kill Sara; I didn’t kill Taliyah,” Downey repeated.
The Crown suggested he took Taliyah back to AB’s home in Skyview Ranch.
“By then she was hungry,” she said. “You fed her some blueberries.”
“I did not…I did not kill Taliyah,” Downey said.
The Crown continued into graphic detail suggesting the methods used to kill Taliyah and dispose of her body.
Downey repeated “I did not” to every suggestion related to the homicides.
“You killed Sara because you hated her and you killed Taliyah because she knew you and she could tell.”
Downey again denied the allegations.
Downey has told court he was east of the city July 11, 2016–in the area Taliyah’s body was found– because he was looking for an old “stash spot” his drug associates had previously used.
Earlier in the trial, court heard a Calgary police crime analyst used cell tower pings from Downey’s phone to help officers find the little girl.
Downey acknowledged he was texting Dianna–a woman a friend was setting him up with–on July 11, 2016.
At one point there is a gap in the conversation.
MacPhail asked him to explain why he didn’t respond to Dianna’s text for several minutes.
“Why would I be trying to explain the gap?” Downey asked the Crown.
The Crown then suggested a reason for the delay.
“You were busy dumping Taliyah Marsman in the bushes, weren’t you?” MacPhail asked.
“I didn’t dump Taliyah Marsman in the bushes,” Downey replied.
She then asked about earlier testimony when he claimed he drove by the Peter Lougheed hospital to see if Baillie was there. The Crown suggested Downey didn’t go by the hospital at all.
“You didn’t do it because you knew Sara was dead,” MacPhail said. “You knew Sara was dead because you killed her.”
Downey denied the accusations.
He admitted to the Crown he had called Baillie “disrespectful pot and horndog.”
In asking what he meant by those messages, he said “it could be a lot of different things.” When pushed further, he said he was calling Baillie a “bad girl.”
On Wednesday, Downey’s lawyer Gavin Wolch told jurors “nobody intended to kill Sara Baillie,” adding his client did not go to her home alone on July 11, 2016.
The Crown questioned Downey about his finances in June and July 2016, after reading texts suggesting he wasn’t making payments on a Mercedes, owed $1,000 to his nephew, and didn’t have $20 to lend his sister for gas.
He said he was dealing drugs to make money at the time.
It’s the Crown’s theory that Downey killed Baillie because she was trying to get AB (a woman who cannot be named due to a court-imposed publication ban) to break up with him and was helping her stay away from work as an escort. The Crown has suggested to the jury that Downey later killed Taliyah because she witnessed her mother’s murder.
The jury was told they will return Monday, Dec. 17 to hear closing arguments from both the Crown and defence.
They will receive final instructions from Justice Beth Hughes next Wednesday before they begin deliberations.
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