Markel Jason Downey found not guilty of murder, attempted murder in home invasion, shooting

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Markel Jason Downey has been found not guilty of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in a 2014 home invasion, shooting. (CBC - image credit)
Markel Jason Downey has been found not guilty of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in a 2014 home invasion, shooting. (CBC - image credit)

A jury has found Markel Jason Downey not guilty on three charges he was facing related to a 2014 home invasion and shooting.

The verdict was delivered shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday in a special courtroom of Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax that was constructed to accommodate public health pandemic guidelines. Members of the jury began their deliberations around 2:30 Friday afternoon.

Following the verdict, Justice Timothy Gabriel called for Downey to be released from custody "at the earliest opportunity."

Downey was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ashley Kearse MacLean and two counts of attempted murder. Closing arguments in his trial were heard Monday.

Ashley MacLean Kearse died in 2018 at the age of 22.
Ashley MacLean Kearse died in 2018 at the age of 22.(CBC)

The charges relate to a violent home invasion and robbery in Cole Harbour on Nov. 30, 2014, that wounded three people, including Kearse MacLean.

Her spinal cord was severed in the shooting. She spent years in a wheelchair and died in 2018, at which time the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide.

Evidence presented at Downey's trial showed blood clots that developed in Kearse MacLean's legs moved into her chest and caused blockages that led to her death. The medical examiner said the clots were a direct result of the paralysis caused by the gunshot wound.

Four intruders

Four people were involved in the 2014 home invasion, including three youths who previously pleaded guilty. Because of their age at the time of the offence, their names are protected by publication ban.

The Crown argued that Downey was the fourth intruder and gunman, but Downey's defence lawyer said there was insufficient evidence to prove Downey was even there that night.

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