Trial begins for man accused of murdering toddler

The second week of a four-week trial for a man accused in the death of a toddler has begun.

Evan Caswell Gilmer, 33, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 18-month-old Garth Leippi. The incident happened in Red Deer in October of 2008.

The trial, taking place in the Court of Queen’s Bench in Red Deer, is currently in its second week. It is scheduled to take about four weeks and wrap up at the beginning of next month.

At about 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2008, Red Deer City RCMP were called to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre after Garth was transported by ambulance from an apartment building in the 4800 block of 46 St.

RCMP said Garth was suffering from injuries that were “suspicious” in nature.

About 30 minutes later, homicide detectives from the local RCMP detachment were called in to investigate.

The boy was transported by STARS air ambulance to a Calgary hospital with life threatening injuries. He died about 30 hours after he was first admitted into the Red Deer hospital.

It was determined that Garth died of a severe injury to his head.

This past Friday during the first week of the trial, court heard that Gilmer was not arrested and formally charged in the case until July 8, 2009.

“We made a planned arrest and the officers stopped Mr. Gilmer on the road and arrested him,” said Greg Brown, a retired RCMP officer.

As part of the investigation a home computer was seized and Sgt. Jeffrey Cameron of the technical crime unit testified he examined the computer for activity the night Garth died.

Court also heard last week that Garth’s mother, Jennifer Gladue, was sleeping in the basement suite she shared with Gilmer, her then common-law spouse, on the night the boy was sent to hospital. Gilmer had brought Garth from his bedroom to the living room after the boy had thrown up. The jury was told Gilmer went outside for a cigarette and when he came back inside their home, he fell on the boy when he attempted to pick him up.

The trial continues at the Red Deer courthouse.