The double homicide is still unsolved, but recently released court documents reveal more details about the discovery of the couple’s bodies in December 2017 and that their son Jonathon told police the Shermans have enemies. Toronto Police said they have a number of people they see as people of interest and, in a statement to CBC News, insist the matter has not remained cold.
“The investigative team has had a high level of cooperation throughout this very active and ongoing investigation and investigative steps are being taken every day,” said Toronto Police spokesperson Connie Osborne.
“We are committed to bringing closure and justice to family and community. ”
Barry Sherman, 75, founder and chairman of the board of generic drug giant Apotex, and his 70-year-old wife, Honey, were found dead in their home’s basement pool on Old Colony Rd. In Toronto’s North York neighborhood on December 15, 2017.
Their bodies sat side by side, their legs stretched out with belts wrapped around their necks and tied to a pool railing.
The causes of death have been determined to be compressions neck ligatures, a type of strangulation.
What court documents reveal
It has been more than a year since police provided the public with an official update on their investigation, but more than 300 pages of recently released court documents help paint a picture of what is going on behind the scenes.
The four court documents are known as the Submission Information, or ITO, that police present to a court to obtain search warrants.
ITOs show that police obtained warrants to search the Shermans’ phone, bank and medical information, as well as computers found in their homes and in Barry Sherman’s office and lab at Apotex.
The latest ITO, from February 2018, reveals that the police were investigating the possible financial motives for the double homicide.
In the weeks leading up to their deaths, Apotex lost a $ 500 million court case involving a pharmaceutical patent. He had also just laid off many employees, and more cuts were to come.
Although the information sparked the interest of investigators, Barry Sherman’s longtime business partner Jack Kay told them it probably had nothing to do with the couple’s death.
« [Barry] Wouldn’t be scared of Apotex’s financial situation because Apotex was only a portion of Sherman’s holdings, and they’ve got other money, ”Kay told investigators, according to ITO.
The Shermans were estimated to be worth between $ 5 billion and $ 10 billion.
The ITOs also reveal that the police wanted to know where and how the Shermans were spending their money.
“Bank registers would make it possible to track their movements,” according to an affidavit under oath from investigators.
ITOs also claim that “investigators do not have a detailed understanding of the couple, their friends or possible enemies.”
WATCH | Sherman Family Offer $ 10 Million Reward for Information in the Case of a Killed Couple:
Appeal sparked a homicide investigation
Heavily written ITOs don’t reveal much of what the police have discovered.
They describe the frantic 911 call that sparked one of the most publicized homicide investigations in Toronto history.
Shermans real estate agent Elise Stern called the police at 11:45 a.m. on Friday, December 15, 2017 from the Shermans’ mansion.
“They’re dead,” Stern frantically reported to an emergency dispatcher.
Stern, along with real estate agent Weidong Zhao and two of his clients, made the grim discovery as they completed an exhibit of the two-story mansion, which was for sale at the time and listed at $ 6.7 million .
The ITOs describe how the four made their way through the house from the second floor to the basement towards the indoor pool.
Stern said she opened the door there and turned on the lights. It was then that she, Zhao and her clients saw the bodies of Honey and Barry Sherman, police said.
“Stern says it was very strange. They were far away and their heads were raised and hung from the railing leading to the pool, ”police said.
She would later tell police that she thought the couple were doing “some weird yoga thing” before realizing they were actually dead, according to ITO.
Zhao previously told CBC News that he and his clients thought he had stumbled upon some sort of weird and stuck Halloween show or an unhealthy joke. “False murders”, that’s how he described the scene to CBC News in October 2018.
Zhao said her clients, who were from mainland China, considered it a bad omen to see the bodies and leave the house before the police arrived.
ITOs say the Shermans’ housekeeper, their personal trainer and a furnace technician also entered the house that morning, but neither saw the couple’s bodies in the pool.
The housekeeper and coach were the first to arrive, around 8:25 a.m., and told police the alarm at the couple’s home was turned off. They found it strange – it was the first time they had seen the alarm go off in the three years they had worked there.
Home builders see couple alive
The documents appear to bolster a working police theory that the Shermans were likely killed 36 hours before they were discovered.
They suggest the last people to see the Shermans alive were a custom home builder, architect and contractor who met with the couple around 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 to go over some details of the new home. $ 20 million they had planned. to build.
Honey Sherman left the meeting around 5:30 p.m. and returned home. Barry Sherman stayed in the office a few more hours to finish some work.
At 6:21 p.m., Honey Sherman used her cell phone to make a five-minute call to a friend. It seems this was the last time her family or friends heard from her.
Court documents reveal that Honey did not answer at least 10 calls on her cell phone that began arriving on the morning of December 14 and continued until the 15, when the couple were found.
A cleaning lady told police that Honey Sherman “never” went to the basement because she had “bad legs.”
ITOs suggest the deaths stunned family and friends for a number of reasons. The Shermans had been married for 40 years with no history of abuse or violence. Not only were they planning to build a new house together; they had planned trips to Japan and Israel, according to ITO. They were among Canada’s most generous philanthropists, donating millions of dollars to charity.
However, eight days after their bodies were discovered, their son Jonathon Sherman told investigators in an interview that the couple had enemies.
“Complicated people,” said his son
According to ITO, Jonathon Sherman told police his parents “were complicated people and there are people who would hold a grudge against them and have a reason to hurt them.”
The documents do not reveal who these people may have been.
Sherman also described his father as “brilliant but lacking in emotional and social intelligence” while his mother was “intelligent, abrasive, energetic”.
Publicly, the family has made it clear that they are not satisfied with the initial police investigation, accusing authorities of spoiling it. They hired a team of well-respected retired police officers to launch a parallel investigation, which ended in December 2019.
They also offered a reward of $ 10 million for information that would lead to the arrest of the murderer or murderers of their parents.
As for the house Barry and Honey Sherman shared for 32 years, the mansion was demolished in May 2019.
Ontario land records show that the land was transferred to the Shermans’ estate and the children on August 25, 2020.
Two days later it was sold.