Canada: Father pleads not guilty in 2017 death of toddler found outside of Edmonton church - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Father pleads not guilty in 2017 death of toddler found outside of Edmonton church

21:00  08 october  2019
21:00  08 october  2019 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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a small child sitting on a bed: Anthony Raine, 19 months old, was found dead near a church in Edmonton on Friday, April 21, 2017.© Supplied Anthony Raine, 19 months old, was found dead near a church in Edmonton on Friday, April 21, 2017.

A man charged with the second-degree murder of a 19-month-old toddler found outside a northwest Edmonton church in 2017 pleaded not guilty in court Monday.

The judge-alone trial for Joey Crier, charged in the death of his son Anthony Raine, began in Edmonton court Monday. The toddler’s bruised body was found outside the Good Shepherd Anglican Church in April 2017 by a passerby.

Court heard an agreed statement of facts read into the record along with the testimony of four witnesses.

According to the agreed statement of facts, Anthony Raine was found by a woman out for a walk who at first thought the child was a bundle of garbage. He was covered by a blue patchwork blanket and described as “blue, cold and stiff and had dried blood in his right ear.” He was wearing a blue snowsuit and new looking runners and believed to have been dead for about three days before he was discovered.

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The first witness to testify Monday was Ashley Raine, Anthony Raine’s aunt, who said she picked up the toddler from her sister, Dalyce Raine, on Jan. 1, 2017. He was in her care from January to mid-March before she had to return him to one of his parents.

“Dalyce was kind of unfit at the time,” Ashley Raine said. “Joey told me that (Anthony Raine) would be in good hands and taken care of.”

The last time she saw Anthony Raine was when she placed him in the care of Joey Crier.

“He was a happy baby. He was chubby,” Ashley Raine said of the toddler at the time she gave him to Joey Crier. She became emotional as she spoke. “He was always smiling.”

The second witness was Andrea Crier, Joey Crier’s sister. She testified about the times her brother and his then-girlfriend Tasha Lee-Mack would stay at her home in Edmonton.

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Mack is also accused of second-degree murder for Anthony Raine’s death. She is having a separate trial with closing arguments slated for Nov. 15.

Andrea Crier said Anthony Raine was a “happy little boy.” She said there was one time she saw Mack forcefully sit down the toddler.

“She was pretty mean to him,” Andrea Crier said. “She always told him to sit down and shut up every time she (saw) him walking around with my kid’s toys.”

Andrea Crier said she threatened that she would “beat the shit out of (Mack)” if she ever did that again. Joey Crier was not home when this happened, she added.

The last time she saw the toddler, she said he had a little bruise on his cheek.

Next to testify were two women who were at the church the day Anthony Raine’s body was found. They said they were nearly finished setting up for a church sale the next day and were sitting down when a woman came into the building.

Deborah Harpin testified a distraught woman came in yelling “come quick, come quick, it’s a baby, it’s a baby.”

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The group of ladies went to the back of the church where Anthony Raine was found. He was partially on his side between a wooden box and the back door of the church, about 12 feet away from the garbage dumpsters.

Harpin said she felt the toddler’s wrist for a pulse but did not find one.

“He was blue,” Harpin said. “I saw blood on the right ear, flecks of blood.”

Gretchen McCuaig was also at the church and testified she too checked the toddler’s neck for a pulse which she couldn’t find.

“He looked puffy. He had a bruise on his cheek and he had some blood coming from his right ear,” McCuaig said.

Both Harpin and McCuaig testified when they arrived at the church earlier the day Anthony Raine was found, they didn’t notice anything unusual.

The trial is scheduled for 14 days and is expected to hear from about 30 witnesses.

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