One year later: What we know about the Barry and Honey Sherman murders
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Friday, December 14, 2018 9:21AM EST
It’s been one year since billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman were found dead in their Toronto mansion in an unsettling case that was initially reported as a murder-suicide, but later ruled a double homicide by police.
Since then, homicide detectives have scoured through countless pieces of evidence and interviewed more than 200 witnesses in the case. However, police have yet to make an arrest.
The Toronto Star’s Chief Investigative Reporter Kevin Donovan, who has been reporting on the case since the beginning, told CP24 he thinks the Toronto police investigation has been scaled back in recent months. He also said he thinks they’re nowhere close to catching the culprit or culprits.
“It’s sort of becoming what I think they call a bit of a cold case right now,” he said on Thursday.
As questions continue to swirl about the Toronto billionaires’ deaths, CTVNews.ca takes a look back at everything we know about the case up until this point.
Who were they?
Barry Sherman, 75, was the founder and former CEO of the generic drug company Apotex. His wife Honey, 70, was a prominent philanthropist who was active in a number of charitable endeavours.
When were they last seen alive?
The couple was last seen alive on the evening of Dec. 13, 2017.
How were they found?
On Dec. 15, 2017, a real estate agent discovered the two bodies in a semi-seated position with belts looped around their necks from a railing beside the indoor pool in the basement of the couple’s mansion in North York.
Police initially described the deaths as “suspicious.” They also said there were no signs of forced entry in the home.
Soon after the discovery of the bodies, media reports quoting unnamed police sources said investigators were working on the theory that it was a murder-suicide case. The Shermans’ family publicly disputed that idea.
In October, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders denied that his officers ever labelled the case a murder-suicide.
“We did not say that. And I want to be very clear on that,” he said.
Autopsies on the bodies were performed the day after the bodies were found. Police said the couple died from “ligature neck compressions.” Although the homicide team took over the investigation following the autopsies, police didn’t officially rule the deaths a targeted double-homicide until Jan. 26.
Unhappy with the Toronto police’s work on the case, the Shermans’ family hired a team of former homicide detectives and forensic experts to conduct their own separate investigation.
Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan, who is representing the private team of investigators, has said the Shermans’ bodies were staged after their deaths in a “very deliberate manner.” He has also accused the Toronto police of failing to collect key pieces of evidence inside of the house, including 25 palm and fingerprint impressions.
Family offers reward
In October, the Sherman family offered a $10 million reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect in the murders. They also established a call centre to receive tips on the case.
Where the investigation stands now
Toronto Star reporter Kevin Donovan said the police are still calling the Sherman murders an “active investigation.” In late September, Donovan said Toronto police told him they had one full-time officer working on the case with other officers helping periodically.
As of mid-December, Donovan said the police have executed 40 search warrants of cellphone and bank records, but he doesn’t know who they belong to or why investigators are searching them.
Donovan also said he’s been investigating information about the Shermans’ estate, which is being sealed by an Ontario Superior Court order. He said Honey Sherman didn’t have a will, or her will hasn’t been found, which is complicating the matter.
Lawyer Brian Greenspan said the Sherman family is open to working with police on the investigation, despite their tensions.
“It remains the belief of the Sherman family that by working together, we will increase their chance of finding justice,” he said.