These Billionaires Were Murdered in ‘Targeted’ Killing, Police Say
The announcement comes after a report suggested Barry and Honey Sherman's deaths were the result of a professional hit.
Photo of Barry and Honey Sherman via UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.
The deaths of the Canadian billionaires whose bodies were found in their Toronto mansion in December have been determined a double homicide by police.
“The Shermans were targeted in this event,” Toronto police Homicide Detective Sergeant Susan Gomes said in a press conference on Friday.
Gomes said they “haven’t developed any suspects” yet in the case. The double-homicide determination, Gomes said, was developed from six weeks’ worth of evidence. So far, she said, investigators have compiled 127 witness statements and searched two residential properties belonging to the Shermans.
The Shermans were last seen alive on the evening of Wednesday, December 13, according to Gomes. After that time frame, no one had heard from or seen the couple until their bodies were found that Friday.
Gomes confirmed that the couple was found in the lower-level pool area of their mansion hanging by belts by a poolside railing in a semi-seated position on the pool deck. They were wearing clothing. There was no sign of forced entry in the home.
Gomes said they are “in the process of attaining or have executed 20 judicial authorizations and searches.”
“Legal complexities and some executions have been challenging given the litigious nature of Barry Sherman’s businesses, in particular, the search and seizure of electronics in Barry Sherman’s workspace at Apotex,” Gomes said. Two residential properties belonging to the Shermans have been searched.
The Shermans’ net worth was $3.37 billion, making them some of the richest people in Canada. Barry, 75 years old, was the founder of Apotex Inc., a Canadian pharmaceutical giant known for generic prescription drugs. He was the 13-richest person in Canada in 2016, according to Canadian Business. Both Honey, 70 years old, and Barry were known philanthropists.
In a case of weird timing, the president and CEO of Apotex, Inc., Dr. Jeremy Desai, reportedly resigned today.
The Shermans’ bodies were found at their mansion located in Toronto’s North York area in the late morning of Friday, December 15. Their deaths were caused by “ligature neck compression,” according to initial post-mortem investigations.
Both Shermans were found by their indoor lap pool with men’s leather belts around their necks. Reportedly, a real estate agent who was to prepare the Shermans’ multi-million-dollar mansion for an open house—it was up for sale—had found the bodies.
Police had told the public that Barry’s and Honey’s deaths were “suspicious” early in the investigation. However, the initial dominant theory in the media claimed the couple’s deaths could have been the result of a murder-suicide. The couple’s family rejected this theory, hiring their own private investigators, a lawyer, and forensic pathologist to look into the deaths.
"Our parents shared an enthusiasm for life and commitment to their family and community totally inconsistent with the rumors regrettably circulated in the media as to the circumstances surrounding their deaths," the family said in a statement the day after the Shermans’ bodies were found. "We are shocked and think it's irresponsible that police sources have reportedly advised the media of a theory which neither their family, their friends, nor their colleagues believe to be true."
Last week, the Toronto Star reported that the couple’s death was indeed the result of a double murder—a ”professional, contract killing”—according to investigators hired by the Shermans’ family. They revealed that Barry and Honey were found with marks on their wrists that indicated the couple was tied together at some point—a finding at odds with the murder-suicide theory. No rope or similar materials were discovered near the bodies.
Additional autopsies were conducted by a top forensic pathologist, who determined the deaths were homicides.
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