B.C.’s top court hears closing arguments in 1983 murder of toddler

Click to play video 'Philip Tallio attempting to appeal 1983 murder verdict' Philip Tallio attempting to appeal 1983 murder verdict
Thirty-seven years after Philip Tallio was sentenced for killing his 22 month-old cousin, an appeal of that conviction is before the B.C. Court of Appeal. Rumina Daya reports – Nov 23, 2020

VANCOUVER – Judges in the British Columbia Appeal Court are hearing closing arguments from defence lawyers for a man who says he wrongly spent 37 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Phillip Tallio pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of his 22-month-old cousin in 1983 but testified last month that he did not understand what that meant.

Read more: Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 at the time and has said he was checking on the little girl when he found her dead in a home in the northern
community of Bella Coola.

His defence team told the court it should consider fresh evidence and that two other possible suspects could have been responsible for the little girl’s death.

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Tallio’s lawyer at the time testified last month that he explained the plea deal to the teen, who seemed to grasp that he was admitting to killing Delavina Mack.

The court has heard Mack had been sexually assaulted, but Tallio’s lawyers say DNA evidence does not definitively point to him as the perpetrator.