Phillip Tallio with his supporters Marie Spetch and Robyn Batryn. (File photo)

Phillip Tallio with his supporters Marie Spetch and Robyn Batryn. (File photo)

Appeals trial begins for Bella Coola man convicted of killing toddler in 1983

Phillip Tallio was 17 at the time of the 22-month-old toddler’s death

Phillip Tallio is in court this week fighting to prove his innocence more than 30 years after he was convicted of murdering a toddler in Bella Coola.

Tallio, who was 17 at the time of the death, was first convicted of murder in 1983 in the sexual assault and killing of 22-month-old Delavina Mack.

While Tallio claimed his innocence in the killing, his lawyer at the time – named Phil Rankin – entered a guilty plea nine days into his trial 37 years ago.

Tallio has resolutely proclaimed his innocence ever since. As a result, he has been ineligible for parole and has spent the last 34 years behind bars.

His appeal case went to trial at the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver on Tuesday (Oct. 13), with Tallio testifying, and final arguments expected to begin the week of Nov. 23.

On Thursday morning, Tallio was questioned by Crown about whether or not he had understood what was going on in 1983, with mixed answers. Rankin is scheduled to testify at Tallio’s appeal trial later on Thursday.

If he is found innocent, Tallio will be the longest-serving wrongfully convicted person in Canadian history.

READ MORE: B.C. judge grants bail to Bella Coola man convicted of killing toddler in 1983

READ MORE: Phillip Tallio released on bail under strict conditions

In 2018, Tallio won the right to appeal, making history as the longest appeal extension to ever be granted by the courts. Justice Bennett, who granted the extension of time to file an appeal, stated, “In my view the interest of justice demand that Mr. Tallio be permitted to bring his application for further DNA testing and to go forward with this appeal generally.”

Tallio was released from prison in January under strict bail conditions and was placed in housing with 24-hour surveillance.

Tallio’s appeal was eight years in the making as part of UBC’s Innocence Project. In the documents unsealed by the B.C. Court of Appeal, his legal team claims “there is fresh evidence” from a DNA test result that they argue excludes Tallio as the killer, and provides information “leading to other possible perpetrators.”

DNA testing was not available at the time of Tallio’s conviction in 1983.

READ MORE: Judge rules appeal for 1983 Tallio murder case will go ahead


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

murder trial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A firefighter descends the ladder truck after checking on the upper floors of the Clarence House apartment building after a fire broke out Tuesday morning. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

A firefighter descends the ladder truck after checking on the upper floors of the Clarence House apartment building after a fire broke out Tuesday morning. See story on page 5. 
 (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

Zippy, a five-year-old toy fox/rat terrier, needs immediate surgery to have his teeth removed. (Submitted photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A four-vehicle accident on the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous destroyed two cars and a section of bridge guardrail but remarkably injured no one. (Sicamous RCMP Image)
Sicamous’ Bruhn Bridge site of two collisions

Although a total of five vehicles were involved, no one was injured

Most Read