It was another day of horrific evidence for families of a five-year-old girl and her mother as the medical examiner detailed injuries the two suffered at the trial for the man accused of their murders.
Dr. Bamidele Adeagbo testified on day six of Edward Downey’s first-degree murder trial. Downey is accused of killing Sara Baillie, 34, and her daughter Taliyah Marsman, 5.
Adeagbo had finished telling jurors about Baillie’s injuries and had just begun testifying about Marsman’s autopsy results when court broke for the day.
Several family members had to leave the courtroom as Adeagbo began talking about the condition Marsman was found in when her body was discovered outside, three days after she was believed to have been killed.
The child had insects on and around her face. Her skin had darkened having been left out in the July sun.
Baillie’s body was found stuffed into a laundry hamper in her daughter’s bedroom closet on July 12, 2016. Marsman was found in a stand of bushes just east of the city three days later.
It is the Crown’s theory that Marsman was murdered because she witnessed her mother’s slaying, or at least recognized the killer who was inside their home.
Broken bone in Baillie’s neck
Adeagbo told prosecutor Carla MacPhail that Baillie had been strangled and died of asphyxiation: “death at the hands of someone else,” he said.
The single mother had been so violently choked her killer had broken a bone in her neck.
When Baillie’s body was discovered, her face, neck and wrists were wrapped in duct tape. Adeagbo said there were five layers around her head covering her mouth.
Jurors have already heard two of Downey’s fingerprints were found on duct tape wrapped around Baillie’s head.
Bruises, contusions and scrapes covered the victim’s face including on the tip of her nose, the medical examiner said.
Three other injuries were of note to the doctor.
Adeagbo said Baillie had internal bleeding and damage to her upper abdomen which happened before other blunt force injuries to her back near her shoulder blades.
Baillie had also been hit so hard in the face, a hole had been left in her left cheek.
Downey’s defence lawyers Gavin Wolch and Meryl Friedland have not yet had a chance to cross-examine Downey.
Last week, Downey’s girlfriend at the time of the killings testified that by July 11, 2016 — the day before Baillie’s body was discovered — her relationship with Downey had deteriorated.
Marsman’s autopsy results Tuesday
The former girlfriend, who can only be identified as AB, said he had hit her in the face and she had refused to begin working for him as a prostitute.
AB and Baillie were best friends.
In her opening statement to jurors, prosecutor Carla MacPhail suggested Downey may have blamed Baillie for AB trying to leave him and refusing to work for him as an escort.
Evidence from Downey’s cell phone will show it was in the area of Baillie’s home the day she was killed and then later that day in the rural area where Marsman’s body was found, according to MacPhail.
Adeagbo will continue testifying about Taliyah’s autopsy results on Tuesday.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Beth Hughes is presiding over the trial.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.