Edward Downey appealing conviction, sentence in murders of Calgary mother and daughter

Less than a month after he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a Calgary mother and her daughter, Edward Downey has filed an appeal of his conviction and sentence.

Downey was found guilty in December 2017 of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie and her five-year-old daughter Taliyah Marsman. It took the jury less than three hours to reach the verdict.

Baillie was found dead inside the northwest Calgary basement suite were she and Taliyah lived on July 11, 2016. The girl’s body was found outside city limits three days later after a provincewide Amber Alert.

A file photo of Sara Baillie and her daughter Taliyah Marsman.


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Downey cited several grounds for appeal, including alleged errors by the judge in pretrial rulings and the imposition of consecutive periods of parole ineligibility.

Downey is seeking a new trial by judge and jury, according to the notice.

On May 21, Queen’s Bench Justice Beth Hughes called Downey “callous and remorseless” in passing her sentence.

“The gravity of the offence, Mr. Downey’s moral blameworthiness and his degree of responsibility are at the highest level,” Hughes said in reading her decision.

“After kidnapping Taliyah, Mr. Downey planned and deliberated upon her murder for some hours before he killed her,” she added.

Tearful victim impact statements were presented in court before Downey’s sentencing.

“Mr. Downey didn’t have the right to decide that their lives didn’t matter,” Baillie’s aunt, Marilynne Hamilton, told court.

“I never got to say goodbye,” Hamilton said. “I never knew what I was about to lose.

“I would respectfully request that you sentence Mr. Downey, whom I never want to see nor hear from again as long as I live, to a sentence whereby even my children will not have to attend one parole board sitting in his attempt to gain freedom,” Baillie’s uncle, Scott Hamilton, said.

Sara Baillie’s uncle Scott Hamilton and his daughter Alex Hamilton speak outside court in Calgary on May 21, 2019.

During Downey’s sentencing, Hughes ruled the Calgary man would not be eligible to apply for parole for 50 years. Downey would be in his 90s before being able to apply, if his conviction and sentence stand.

—With files from Nancy Hixt, Global News

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