'Callous' killer Edward Downey gets life sentence with no parole for 50 years for murder of mother and child

"Callous" killer Edward Downey, who murdered a five-year-old girl and her mother, has been sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for 50 years after a Calgary judge rejected his bid for a mistrial based on a juror's political connections. 

Downey was convicted in December of two counts of 1st-degree murder

Last December, Edward Downey was convicted of murdering a mother and child on July 11, 2016, and dumping the body of the girl in a rural area. (Court exhibit )

"Callous" killer Edward Downey, who murdered a five-year-old girl and her mother, has been sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for 50 years.

In December, a jury convicted Edward Downey of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sara Baillie and her daughter, Taliyah Marsman, 5, who were killed on July 11, 2016.

Downey, 49, will be 96 years old when he can apply for release from prison.

"The gravity of the offence, Mr. Downey's moral blameworthiness and his degree of responsibility are at the highest level. After kidnapping Taliyah, Mr. Downey planned and deliberated upon her murder for some hours before he killed her," wrote Court of Queen's Bench Justice Beth Hughes in her decision.

Both victims died by asphyxiation. Baillie was found wrapped in duct tape and stuffed inside a laundry hamper. Her daughter's body was found days later, in a rural area east of the city. 

'Just about out the door'

Baillie had witnessed Downey abuse her best friend, a woman who can only be identified as AB. 

Downey blamed Baillie for encouraging his girlfriend — the victim's best friend — to break up with him. This would have meant Downey, who was broke, would soon be homeless as well.

On the morning of July 11, 2016, "Ms. Baillie was just about out the door to take Taliyah to daycare when Mr. Downey arrived," wrote Hughes. 

Downey wrapped duct tape around Baillie's face, hands and wrists, smothering and then strangling her before stuffing her body in a hamper. He then took Taliyah for several hours before deciding to kill the child as well. 

After he killed his victims and while he was in the middle of dumping the child, Downey was exchanging flirtatious text messages with a woman.

Those messages show Downey felt no remorse, according to the judge.

Taliyah 'the sole witness'

Though he had hours to change his mind, Downey murdered Taliyah because she would have been able to identify him as her mother's killer.

"By murdering Taliyah, Mr. Downey killed the sole witness to her mother's murder. His text conversations after dumping Taliyah's body outside of the city reveal a callous and remorseless individual," wrote Hughes.

Before handing down her sentence on Tuesday, Hughes rejected Downey's bid for a mistrial.

Defence lawyer Gavin Wolch had argued for a judicial review based on the discovery of one juror's political connections which could have been in contravention of the Jury Act which prohibits certain people from serving based on political employment.

Baillie's uncle Scott Hamilton spoke outside the courtroom after the sentence was handed down, thanking police, prosecutors Carla MacPhail and Ryan Jenkins and the judge.


Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at or follow her on Twitter.