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 Phillip Tallio, convicted of killing toddler in 1983

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

From now to November, WildsafeBC will be educating the public through its various programs in the community of Bella Coola. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bears are back, and so is WildSafeBC

Rae will be working hard to reach out to community members in new and innovative ways

Bella Coola’s new WildSafeBC co-ordinator, Rae Kokeš, has spent the last 10 years in Africa working in lion, human, conflict, and is a wildlife biologist by trade. (Photo submitted)
From the savannas of Africa to the Bella Coola Valley

New Wildsafe BC coordinator ready to tackle wildlife conflict

Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club board member Annika Granander watches, and participates in the gymkhana Sunday (Photo submitted)
Sunshine and smiles all around Bella Coola Ridge Riders Horse Club gymkhana

The event was the first of the year, with COVID-19 safety precautions in place

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Stolen truck found broken down on Highway 97C, Williams Lake suspect arrested near Ashcroft

A security guard first noticed the truck, and thought it looked suspicious

A build up of lint in a clothes dryer is believed to have caused a house fire in Alexis Creek Sunday evening, April 4, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Clothing dryer suspected cause of Alexis Creek home fire, owner wants to warn others

Neil Miller is thankful he still has his horses, community support and his life

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read