Final arguments to be heard in trial of Calgary man accused of killing former girlfriend’s child


Final arguments are to be heard Tuesday at the trial of a man who has admitted to the murder of his one-time girlfriend but denies killing her young daughter.

Robert Leeming pleaded guilty on the first day of his trial to the second-degree murder of Jasmine Lovett in 2019, but not guilty in the death of 22-month-old Aliyah Sanderson.

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Man accused of murdering Calgary mom, toddler in 2019 enters guilty plea to one count

The mother and daughter were reported missed on April 23, 2019. Their bodies were found in a shallow grave west of Calgary two weeks later after Leeming led two undercover police officers to the location.

Leeming, 36, and Lovett, who was 25 when she died, moved in together in the fall of 2018. He said they were in an on-again, off-again relationship at the time of her death and she was just a tenant in his home, although he continued to help with Aliyah.

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Click to play video: 'Robert Leeming testified he took steps to hide deaths of Jasmine Lovett, Aliyah Sanderson'

Robert Leeming testified he took steps to hide deaths of Jasmine Lovett, Aliyah Sanderson

Robert Leeming testified he took steps to hide deaths of Jasmine Lovett, Aliyah Sanderson

Leeming testified he was looking after the girl when she fell down some stairs, but she seemed to be OK. He said she was limp and unresponsive when he checked on her hours later.

Leeming said he snapped and hit Lovett twice in the head with a hammer when she accused him of doing something to her daughter. He then shot Lovett in the head with a rifle as she lay on the floor struggling to breathe, he told Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Keith Yamauchi, who has heard the trial without a jury.

“She was dying and I wanted it to stop. I went to the garage and picked up a .22 and shot her in the head,” Leeming testified last week.

“It was the only thing I thought could be quick.”

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Crown prosecutor Doug Taylor has argued that Leeming’s version of what happened is beyond belief.

“Aliyah didn’t die from that fall, Mr. Leeming, did she?” Taylor said during cross-examination.

Read more:
Defence wraps case in Robert Leeming murder trial

Aliyah’s grandmother, Jodi Sanderson, who has sat in court for the trial, said it’s been a rough few weeks.

“It’s all very disturbing and some of Mr. Leeming’s emotions and lack of emotions is hard to watch,” she said.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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