The Toronto Star has obtained court-approved access to police investigation documents in the now four-year-old Barry and Honey Sherman murder case, and the information is released at intervals, not all at once. Last week we reported that Barry Sherman told a family member before his death that he owed $ 1 billion and would not repay it. In today’s episode, the Star reveals that murder detectives dug into Barry’s estate planning – who would receive his fortune if both he and Honey were dead.
In mid-December 2017 in Barry Sherman’s office at Apotex, murder detectives discovered every surface – desk, tables, couches, chairs, even parts of the floor – flooded with papers. The brilliant scientist, with a PhD before he was 25, was a visual person – he wanted his tasks in front and in the middle. Between stacks of generic drug documents and lawsuits, police also found an “autobiography” Barry was writing and a photo of Honey, Barry and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In one stack, detectives saw a copy of a plane ticket Barry bought for a Dec. 24 flight to Fort Lauderdale to join Honey for a vacation. These details and more are contained in court documents recently released following a Toronto Star challenge.
What detectives did not find in the Sherman’s office or their home was the last will and testament for one of the Shermans. For reasons still sealed by a judge’s order, police wanted to know the estate planning details of the murdered couple, and they reached out to people who knew the Shermans for assistance. So mysterious are the police that while disclosing to the Star what they learned when they later obtained the estate documents, they refuse to say where and how many times this information appears in their requests for search warrants and production orders – although they have confirmed the Sherman estate information appears in “a number of” the requests brought before Ontario court judge Leslie Pringle. Pringle approved all police requests for searches.
It was chaos when the police first arrived at the generic drug giant Apotex’s headquarters on Signet Road in mid-December 2017. At the front entrance, bouquets of flowers were placed in a temporary memorial where Barry always parked his car.
Employees and managers were stunned, the normally operating offices were silenced by the news that Barry and Honey’s bodies were found in the basement pool room of their home late on the morning of Friday, December 15, 2017. They were dead for 36 hours and the new Released documents provide the clearest summary of the crime scene yet, stating that they were “tied with their necks to a three-foot-high railing with individual belts.” The bodies were placed in the most remote part of the 4,000-square-foot basement at their Old Colony Road home, hidden in one corner, the feet of the seated Shermans almost touching the wall, their backs to the pool.
Fast forward to several weeks after the deaths, a time when police were still pursuing the murder-suicide theory. A protocol has been drawn up between Ontario’s Attorney General’s Office and Apotex’s attorneys – the attorneys would decide what murder detectives could see and what privileged legal material is. Eventually, police gave copies of Barry’s estate documents by Brad Krawczyk, Barry and Honey’s son-in-law. According to the newly sealed police documents, Brad “voluntarily” provided copies of Barry’s two wills to murder detectives. Brad is married to Sherman’s daughter Alexandra, he was one of four estate trustees appointed by Barry to handle his affairs, and he works for Sherfam, Barry’s holding company.
Here’s what the police learned, according to recently released documents related to Barry’s wills. No will was ever discovered for Honey, though the Star interviewed a confidante of Honey who says Honey told her three weeks before his death that she had “updated” her will at a lawyer’s office. The confidant provided this information to Toronto police several weeks after the Sherman bodies were found.
The transcripts of Barry’s two wills are dated 13 May 2005. One was a primary will that would pass to probate (primary wills include items such as real estate, and shares traded on a public market) and the secondary will has private owned, including Sherfam, the family-owned holding company, which owns Apotex. Both gave identical directions on where the money was going in case of death.
The police documents state that both wills stipulated that, should Barry die before Honey, Honey would be given the “net annual income” of all Barry’s property, which is paid to her on a quarterly basis “or in periodic payments as Honey Sherman commands. ” Honey also had to be paid for her “comfortable maintenance and benefit” as determined by the trustees (also called executors). The Star’s sources say that Barry’s fortune was almost $ 10 billion.
Police then take note of Barry’s wishes as soon as Honey is no longer alive: “Upon Honey Sherman’s death, the remainder of the estate will then be divided equally for each child of Bernard Sherman,” according to police documents, which on January 18 has been prepared. , 2018, after a detective read the wills.
The determination for how the four children will receive money after the death of their parents is according to the police documents as follows: Between the ages of 25 and 34, the four children would receive portions of the estate. Once a child reached 35, they would have a quarter of the estate.
When Barry and Honey died at the end of 2017, the oldest child was Lauren, 43, Jonathon was 35, Alexandra was 32 and Kaelen was 27.
As police noted, Barry has appointed four trustees. Jack Kay (his right hand man at Apotex), son Jonathon Sherman, son-in-law Brad Krawczyk, and Alex Glasenberg, who ran the family-owned company.
The Star gained access to the entire Sherman estate file last June when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Sherman will be made public. It was sealed by a lower court at the family’s request.
However, this is the first time that the police documents dealing with the will have been sealed. Earlier, during cross-examination in court by a Toronto Star reporter, a murder detective only said that the estate documents were “embedded” in their investigation.
The police records that have now been partially sealed are the information to obtain (ITO) documents that the police use to gain legal access to information they need to investigate a murder case – bank and credit card records, cellphone information, medical records, etc. . These 2,000 pages of documents, including the wills and estate information, have been part of several police requests over the past four years to obtain court jurisdiction for searches.
Police refuse to say why they included the Sherman estate information in their case. However, they said they would only include information in an ITO if it was important to the case. Police also did not say what the estate information was helping them search for. The majority of the police requests for search warrants and production orders were for cellphone records and bank information of numerous people who identified detectives as “persons of interest”. The police will not identify those people. Police have also carried out at least one search warrant to search a location, but police will not provide the address to the Star.
The Star this week asked the four Sherman children why the police considered their parents’ estate important enough to include in their investigation.
As of publication, none of them responded.
The Star previously asked Sherman son Jonathon during an interview in late 2020 whether he thinks the fact that the estate information is part of the police investigation is an indication that detectives at some point looked at whether family was involved. “I would hope they looked after the whole family,” Jonathon replied.
As with previous releases of ITO documents in the Sherman case, other pieces of information were released, including numerous photos of Barry’s office taken by a police forensic team, and a photo of the small laboratory he used to test his scientific theories.
There is an incidental reference to the police discovery of a photo of Barry and Honey, both well-known Liberal party supporters, posing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and “another unknown man”. The man is not identified in the documents.
The documents provide further evidence of how cautious the billionaires were with their spending. Honey bought a cheap ticket for her trip to Florida (she would leave on Monday, December 18) and Barry joined her on December 24 (The Sherman’s was killed on December 13). For Barry’s return trip from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 24, he used 17,500 Airplane points to pay for the trip.
The documents also reveal that the police, when they first arrived at the Sherman house, were trying to determine if “any valuables had been taken from the house”. Police compared statements from a junk company (the Shermans had their house for sale) and photos of the property listing with the house when they arrived. The documents do not say whether police believe anything was taken by the killer or killers.
With police previously considering the possibility that the Shermans were depressed and either took their own lives, or killed one another and then committed suicide, detectives obtained their medical records. They found no indication of depression, but did learn that Honey had seen 101 different doctors since 2010 (friends called her the “bionic woman” because she struggled with so many ailments) and Barry saw 20 different doctors over the same period. .
Newly sealed police interviews show that the four Sherman children told police they were closer to their father than their mother. An assistant from Honey spoke to police about the “tension between Honey and her children due to different opinions and different lives.” The assistant also told police she had very recently “completed a large and extensive medical questionnaire on behalf of Honey.” No reason for this questionnaire is given in the police documents.
Kaelen Sherman, the youngest of four, is quoted by police as saying that “all her siblings were closer to their father than to their mother.”
Police also found a copy of “what looked like an autobiography by Bernard (Barry) on one of the stacks of documents in Barry’s office. It is possible that this is a copy of the unfinished “Legacy of Thoughts” Barry wrote years ago, which he used as part of his case to have the case thrown out of court by his four cousins. That autobiography explains how Sherman and a partner came to establish Apotex – he used it to prove to a judge a few months before the murders that his cousins (whose father – Barry’s uncle – Barry gave his start) not a share in his Pharmacy wealth.
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