Killer of Calgary mother and daughter gets no parole for 50 years

CALGARY — A man convicted of killing a Calgary mother and her young daughter will have to wait 50 years before he has a chance at parole.

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year of first-degree murder in the 2016 deaths of Sara Baillie, who was 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman.

The convictions carry an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years, but Justice Beth Hughes ruled Tuesday that Downey must wait 50 years before he can ask the parole board for release.

``The gravity of the offence, Mr. Downey's moral blameworthiness, and his degree of responsibility are at the highest level,'' the judge said, noting Downey planned and deliberated on the girl's murder for hours before he killed her.

Downey showed no emotion as Hughes read her decision. An uncle and cousin of Baillie embraced in the courtroom.

The Crown had argued Downey's record of escalating crimes since his early 20s and the brutality of the murders warranted consecutive periods of parole ineligibilities _ a provision allowed when someone is convicted of multiple murders.

Downey's lawyers, however, argued that would be tantamount to a death sentence because their 49-year-old client would have no hope of release until his mid-90s.

The trial heard Downey killed Baillie because he blamed her for the breakdown of his relationship with his girlfriend, who was Baillie's best friend, and that Baillie had dissuaded the woman from working for Downey as an escort.

Jurors heard Taliyah was a witness who needed to be silenced.

Both died by asphyxiation.

The trial heard graphic evidence of how Baillie was found dead in a laundry basket in her daughter's bedroom with duct tape wrapped around her face, neck and wrists. And her daughter was gone.

Three days later, the girl was found dead in some bushes in a rural area east of the city.

Downey repeatedly denied the killings in his testimony and suggested someone named Terrance was to blame.

He apologized at his sentencing hearing in March to Baillie and Taliyah's friends and family, but did not admit to killing them.

© 2019 The Canadian Press