Canada - Barry, 75, & Honey Sherman, 70, found dead, Toronto, 15 Dec 2017 #11

Discussion in 'Crimes in the News' started by dotr, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Tarika

    Tarika One of the snoop sisters

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    From everything that I have read it was definitely personal imo
     
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  2. MistyWaters

    MistyWaters Well-Known Member

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    It’s human nature, anyone seeing LE and emergency vehicles outside a residence in their neighbourhood to get alarmed and the assumption is typically that a violent indecent had just occurred. That same day neighbours wouldn’t have known the couple was last seen two days earlier. They wouldn’t have known how the Shermans were murdered but typically, in today’s reality, thoughts often involve visions of a violent lunatic high on meth breaking down the front door. In the absence of any information their worst fear would be a 911 call was placed by one of the victims and a random murderer running loose in the neighbourhood. In that context, imaging neighbours knew nothing that first day, then the comments by LE to attempt to reassure them make sense to me.

    However not to forget two police officers were present 24/7 outside the Sherman home for the first 26 days protecting the scene for investigators. Even if there was a known violent robbery in any community, LE’s presence to that level is virtually unheard of. If anything, neighbours were probably relieved when they eventually left. The unusual guarding of the home is another reason I believe an unofficial homicide investigation was taking place right from the onset.

    WARMINGTON: Sherman mansion security underscores Toronto Police staffing issues
     
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  3. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Speculation, imo.
    Just revisiting the cold case angle because of the visit by cold case LE to the Sherman's neighbour, and once again, the unsolved murder by asphyxiation of a Jewish couple from Toronto (with ties to the Sherman neighbourhood) comes to mind.
    A diamond ring was the only known item that was stolen, why were they both murdered?
    Strangely, as that was going on, one of the female suspects acting as a" lookout", was outside the complex feeding the ducks!
    FL - FL - David 'Donny' Pichosky, 71, & Rochelle Wise, 66, Hallandale Beach, 10 Jan 2013
     
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  4. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    I went back to my transcription notes from Gomes' press conference, and you may be on to something there Idlager, *however*, if not 'targeted' for murder, then what do you propose they were targeted *for*? If robbery, then surely they would have robbed them/taken stuff, since it is obvious they had plenty of time to rifle through the valuables and take what they wanted, yet it seems nothing was taken; if home invasion, then surely things would have been messed up inside, etc.

    I think it may just be semantics - when police say 'targeted', to me, their meaning is that nobody else needs to worry about these criminals doing something similar or otherwise, to anyone else in the random public; that whatever happened to whichever victims that were 'targeted', was specific to those victims and their assailant; a relationship of *some* kind pre-existed between the two and that is what the crime was about; so in other words, 'nothing to see here, go home, let us do our jobs'.

    It *is* interesting how Gomes uses the word and her responses when asked questions using the word. I would have posted my transcript, but there were many times when I was unable to figure out what reporters were saying (they were often all talking at once, and/or some speak in meek little voices), so I decided not to post it. But these are the Q&A parts with reference to 'target', skipping the rest (R=Reporter; SG=Susan Gomes) (link is below as well):

    R: Why did it take you six weeks to do this Detective Sergeant Gomes, given that, uh, you know, people in the community were concerned about their own safety, are you saying that people have no reason to be worried, that these people were specifically targeted and no one else is at any risk?

    SG: I'm saying that the Shermans were targeted in this event.

    R: You said they were targeted, ... does your ?? suggest that it's a possibility it was a random attack or, do you believe they were <kept apart??? targeted???>?

    SG: I believe that they were targeted.

    R: <???? blah blah.????> I understand you can't ?? the evidence. Is that what the evidence suggests to you? ????? or, how did you come to that conclusion?

    SG: I believe in the six weeks of review of the evidence that we've retained, that they were targeted.

    R: Do you think they were targeted by any business associates ...???

    SG: It's possible. <shrugs>


     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  5. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    Sorry my posts are so long, this one's short though :)

    I just wanted to post this as an 'aside'.. lately I've been binge-watching NCIS, and one of their common phrases is something like, "if a death presents as a suicide, we treat it as a murder until it is proven to be a suicide", (rather than the other way around). Unfortunate that it seems our police don't believe the same. imo.
     
  6. Lexiintoronto

    Lexiintoronto Well-Known Member

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    I wish TPS used the same method. In my experience, with 100% certainty the two responding officers did not when responding to my friend’s suicide.

    They didn’t take a statement from me, the last person to see her alive. Taxi drivers, TTC footage and two half-full wineglasses in her very tidy home were not investigated. Another body was at the bottom of the bridge, they didn’t look for a connection to my friend. A friend of her family who sexually assaulted her and went on to become a cop, and who was suspended at the time and ultimately fired from the force for stalking a woman, was not looked into (she was going to speak up when she found out he became an officer). I can go on.

    It was the coroner who pushed the investigation a bit further. The cops weren’t interested, IMO. (As nice as one of the cops was.)
     
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  7. rickcross

    rickcross Well-Known Member

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    The whole question about this being a "targeted" crime is an interesting one. Gomes said very little at the press conference say basically "6 weeks of evidence" lead her to believe it was "targeted". So the question is, was there evidence to support it being a targeted crime, or did the nature of the crime scene make that a given? Once she decided not to go down the M/S road, is there any plausible scenario where this could have been a random event? I don't think so. From day one this was either a M/S or it was an execution. I also got the impression that Gomes was unconfident in what she was saying. "Targeted" was over used IMO? Why? And "6 weeks of evidence" is not an indicator of quality evidence. You can find enough evidence to convict someone in an hour, you can also find absolutely nothing in six week. Kind of like insinuating a meal is great because it took three hours to make, time has no relation to the quality.

    In a nutshell, I honestly don't think there is any evidence to conclude these were targeted murders, they were labeled as such because what else could they be?
     
  8. Lexiintoronto

    Lexiintoronto Well-Known Member

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    Tim Bosma was targeted because of his truck. (Sharlene Bosma pleading ‘It was just a truck ’ rings in my ears.)

    I’m thinking there’s something equally specific that leads the police to make that statement about the Shermans.
     
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  9. deugirtni

    deugirtni Well-Known Member

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    We can all think whatever we want.. but it is not possible for any of us to know what evidence the police have, or what particular thing(s) made it conclusive to them that it was targeted, or why it took 6 weeks to find that, etc.
     
  10. ldlager

    ldlager Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all that transcribing deugirtni, very helpful. As I have stated, I am wondering if they were targeted for a robbery, and it turned into murders.
    We don’t in fact know if anything was taken from the home, so we don’t know if they were robbed. Perhaps only a small number of valuable things were stolen, and the house was not be ransacked, so the cleaners wouldn’t have known anything was amiss when they arrived. It’s very possible that the Sherman’s were targeted for robbery because the thieves were aware of specific high value items in the house (jewellery, some artwork or maybe gold perhaps). In fact, maybe LE was actually looking for the stolen/ missing items when they searched the roof, sewers, and snow banks with metal detectors for weeks afterwards. And perhaps the earring that was found at the bottom of the driveway was dropped by the perps and was one of the items they stole.
    We simply don’t know enough at this point. But there seems to be no evidence that has been made public that I am aware of that would confirm that this was planned and carried out as a murder, and not in fact a robbery that turned into a murder. Even the police press conference didn’t eliminate this robbery possibility. Perhaps LE and the PI’s concluded or discovered that in fact there were items missing from the home, and that’s why LE evidently changed their minds from a murder suicide to a double murder.
    I feel like the potential robbery element has not been part of much of the discussion on this board, and I think we owe it to ourselves to not dismiss this option outright. There is nothing that I am aware of that would preclude this as a possibility.
     
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  11. MistyWaters

    MistyWaters Well-Known Member

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    Just imagine though, the context of those 127 interviews LE conducted during those first six weeks prior to the official announcement. At the time the media was rife with m/s rumours which the family was incensed over considering in the first few days, a proper investigation hadn’t yet been completed. The cause of the sudden deaths was known, both died by ligature neck compression but LE wasn’t saying anything more than that.

    If those 127 interviews began, say on Dec 15th and continued to the day before the PC on Jan 26th, appx 6 weeks/6 days a week - 127 interviews in 36 days is a lot of dedicated discussion taking place. I’d bet anything each of those 127 people who knew the Shermans well were asked what they thought might’ve happened and were told by LE the investigation into the official manner of death was not yet fully concluded.

    Of those 127 interviews, wouldn’t it be fascinating to have been a mouse in the corner of the room to learn how many expressed thoughts such as “It had to be murder, Barry would never ever harm his wife nor take his own life, he had everything to live for” as opposed to “m/s sure, I saw another side of the Barry. He was cruel, mean, heartless. He knew everybody hated him and he was capable of offing himself, along with Honey just for spite”

    So then I imagine....LE knew the deaths were a double homicide from at the onset because the Ontario Coroner and team of pathologists immediately noticed marking on their wrists to indicate they’d been bound and the neck markings didn’t align properly with either death being caused by hanging from the railing....I’m just imagining this as an example.

    But LE wanted to hear what those 127 people thought without anyone being influenced one way or another by official findings.

    The value of LE withholding the manner of death, double homicide, why I think it was a highly effective strategy - each of the 127 LE chose to talk to believed at the time their opinion was considered important. As no official homicide investigation was taking place, they were free to just talk. Therefore I think it parted the waters early on since LE was able to determine who fully encouraged a homicide investigation versus others who hoped the file got stamped “case closed”. The killer would most likely fall within the later group.

    Whether or not the killer was one of those first 127 or if anything was gained, at this point in time we just don’t know.

    But much like a poker player, LE is under no obligation whatsoever to immediately reveal their hand. They don’t care if the public is immediately informed of information, especially if withholding it might further their investigation. Even if unsourced rumours abound, it’s not their job to police the media. Their primary focus is to accumulate sufficient evidence in order to arrest somebody. IMO that’s how it should be.

    Until we have an opportunity to know what’s on the inside of this case - which probably wouldn’t happen until a trial occurs - I’m not ready to believe this investigation was botched at all. Because I think LE hoped it was to their advantage for the killer/s to think it was.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
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  12. rickcross

    rickcross Well-Known Member

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    I would be very surprised if that was the case. There is evidence out there that suggests that even detectives on the case were shocked at Gomes' announcement of a double homicide. In my estimation either police at some point abruptly changed the direction of their investigation, or this really was a murder suicide and they simply misread the evidence.
     
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  13. human

    human Well-Known Member

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    I doubt if burglary was the goal. The elaborate staging does not indicate burglary.
     
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  14. MistyWaters

    MistyWaters Well-Known Member

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    Because of the staging, immediate determination of what took place was not within the scope of early responding police officers because their job is only to preserve the scene until forensic pathologists and medical experts take over. By the reported appearance of the crime scene including injuries to Honey’s face, the reason the rumour of m/s took hold was because it appeared her cause of death might’ve been severe head trauma.

    Police do not have medical training and as with all murders, what medically caused the victims death is key in determination of the manner of death, something that isn’t possibly by mere observation by police officers especially when staging was involved.

    A good example is the unsolved murder of the Carlson couple in Calgary. The scene was staged to make it appear a gas leak had occurred and the victims died accidentally in their sleep. This would’ve been the conclusion of LE as well, had it been their job to announce a manner of death based on what they observed. Only when the autopsies were done did medical experts learn they’d both been poisoned and the conclusion was changed, the deaths were a result of homicide.

    I don’t know how in Canada the public perception might’ve came to be that the scope of police officers has expanded to officially determine how victims died but that’s just not true. Just because we don’t elect Coroners the same as the US doesn’t mean we’ve handed over total authority to our police forces to become death experts. The role of LE is investigation and solving crime and to be the public interface but just like in the US, the Medical Examiner/Coroner/Pathologist’s role is determining what caused death. Another example within a partnership would be a DNA/forensic lab, various professional teams all working together.

    This separation of roles and responsibilities is critically important within any democracy, unlike some third world countries where one entity has control of the everything from beginning to end, corruption prevails and innocent people can be charged and convicted for a murder that never took place.

    Would you feel comfortable if in Canada any police force had sole authority to decide which deaths were murder, which were accidental, then proceed to investigate or turn a blind eye accordingly? We can rest easy, that’s not how it is.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  15. MistyWaters

    MistyWaters Well-Known Member

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    One reason I’ve believed the murders were targeted was because of the timing. Within only a few days Honey was leaving for Florida, then Barry was following her there shortly thereafter, both not returning until mid January. But as the home was listed for sale, were they intending to return to that same home, we don’t know but maybe they hoped for a quick sale and already made plans to move into a condo temporarily while their new home was being built. Maybe the murderer thought about that possibility too.

    Even if the killer wasn’t aware of the Florida departure dates, most people are creatures of habit and the Shermans may well have been spending Christmas’s for years in Florida with family members flying there to join them.

    That’s why this case still reminds me a lot of the Liknes/O’Brien murders where it was discovered Garland had developed and nourished a longstanding sick and compulsive obsession over the couple, including salivating about inflicting various methods of torture. It seemed he spent years preparing for the murder right down to studying their door locks, probably the house plans too, to visions of inflicting pain and causing death secreted in his head even though he was receiving active treatment by a psychiatrist..... but it was impending change - the families estate sale and plans to relocate that motivated him to follow through.

    That strikes me as a possible similarity in the Sherman homicides as well - the significance of the timing, their home sale, travel plans, possible impending move posed a type of now or never situation. JMO
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  16. Lexiintoronto

    Lexiintoronto Well-Known Member

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    Waddingtons was the appraisal and auction company that visited the Sherman home after the murders.

    Amid quiet from high-profile murder probes, family takes back house where Shermans died

    They appraise high-end valuables. They may have been there to appraise items in the home, but I think they could have been there with an insurance adjuster as well to appraise missing items. (Not one word about Sherman valuables auctioned.)
    Home — Waddingtons.ca

    Here’s why I think that: (bbm)

    Barry and Honey Sherman’s neighbours cite mysterious 911 call, visitor on day before billionaires found dead | The Star


    New sub-zero appliances in a landfill amongst many other items? That’s at odds with having items appraised and sold as part of the estate.

    It’s also at odds with what we know of their daughter Alex and Honey’s charity work.

    My impression is that it was an item or items that led to their deaths. Destroying what housed the possible motive may have brought relief to their loved ones.
     
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  17. rickcross

    rickcross Well-Known Member

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    I understand that totally, but in this case, if it were a suicide the COD would have been ligature neck compression. Its not like the COD was something different. I'm just saying that since we know Barry died by hanging on the railing, how would a coroner know if he did it himself or if someone held him at gun point and made him hang himself? Either there was a big piece of evidence that allowed them to come to this conclusion, which I doubt given the amount of time it took to come to that conclusion, or the decision was based on the opinion of one or more of the investigators. What we do know is that more than one reporter's police source was shocked at the announcement. I'm not saying that is what happened, but it certainly is within the realm of possibility that police simply made the wrong call. Its not like TPS hasn't made the wrong call many times before.
     
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  18. rickcross

    rickcross Well-Known Member

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    I love your thinking, but why would an appraiser go to the home to appraise items that weren't there?
     
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  19. ldlager

    ldlager Well-Known Member

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    Misty we already know LE made some serious errors such as letting an apotex employee access the crime scene; not ensuring all people accessing the crime scene wore protective clothing to not disturb evidence; not checking or collecting evidence on a timely basis (videos from apotex and neighbors, real estate agent dna/shoes, etc), and others. Whether these and other errors will impact the ability to secure a conviction remains to be determined.
     
  20. rickcross

    rickcross Well-Known Member

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    I'm a person that believes in statistics. You will always be able to find instances of oddball crimes, but quite frankly those are one in a million occurrences. When you have a crime like this the odds are 99.9% that the motive involved one of three things, sex, drugs or money. You can argue that it may have been a personal vendetta, but that would likely have been the result of one of those three things. My gut also tells me that sex and drugs have nothing to do with this case, so I'd be very comfortable betting this was about money. I also believe that there had to be some sort of monetary benefit to whoever did this. For instance, Barry was not known for writing contracts. He would front money to people on a handshake. If one of these partners killed Barry, the handshake agreement would die with him.

    I agree with your idea about timing, albeit for different reasons. It had been all over the news about Barry's recent court victory over the cousins, and his further lawsuit that would see them pay Barry's legal expenses. I believe the timing may have simply been designed to immediately throw shade at the cousins, especially the outspoken Kerry Winter.
     

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