A man accused of murdering a Calgary woman and her toddler appeared in person in a Calgary courtroom Monday morning for a preliminary hearing.
Robert Leeming, 34, is charged with second-degree murder in the 2019 deaths of 25-year-old Calgary mother Jasmine Lovett and her 22-month-old daughter, Aliyah Sanderson.
The preliminary hearing is expected to last two weeks and prosecutors have said they will seek to have the charge in Jasmine’s death upgraded to first-degree murder.
The pair’s bodies were found in a wooded area near Grizzly Creek along Highway 40, west of Calgary, in the early morning hours of May 6, 2019 after they were reported missing by family.
Lovett and Aliyah were reported missing April 23, 2019 after failing to show up for a family event and were last heard from on April 16, 2019.
Leeming, who is originally from the U.K. but lived in Canada for six years, was identified by police as the prime suspect in the investigation.
He was taken into custody days after Lovett and Sanderson were reported missing, then released by police. Speaking to reporters after his release, Leeming said he lived with Lovett and Sanderson since October of 2018 and was their landlord at a condo he owned in Cranston.
CPS homicide unit S/Sgt. Martin Schiavetta has said police believe the pair were killed on the evening of April 16, 2019 or morning of April 17, 2019 and their bodies transported between April 17, 2019 and April 20, 2019 to the area where they were found.
Police also believe Lovett and Leeming were in a relationship and the deaths were “motivated by domestic-related matters.”