Barry and Honey Sherman murder detectives learn cellular ‘tower dump’ was a bust

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The Toronto Star has now gained court-approved access to police investigative documents in the four-year-old Barry and Honey Sherman murder case, and the information is being released in chronological order, not one at a time. Last week, we reported that in September 2020, murder detectives believed they were onto something because they compared the nearly 300 cellphone numbers of people linked to Sherman with cellular phone communications near their home and Barry’s office. “Tower Dump” The hope was to find a link to the mysterious “walking man” believed to be the killer. In today’s installment, the star reveals the current focus on deflationary news and “new information” learned by police a few months ago.

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Bell, Rogers, Telus and Freedom Mobile were served with a court-ordered “production order” to issue cellphone “tower dumps” to the Toronto Police Intelligence Unit. This was an important task for telecommunications companies, collecting thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of bits of data – the electronic tracing of phone calls and text messages that passed through cellular towers in two areas Barry and Haney both traveled through the night, He was assassinated, and at other important times.

These so-called “tower dumps” were then compared to the roughly 300 cellphone numbers that police had gathered in their investigation – those belonging to a mix of Sherman friends, family, work colleagues and others. Maybe, the detectives thought, maybe, they’d strike the gold sleuths.

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At first, it looked like this, but by the end of the summer of 2021 – four months earlier – the excitement turned to despair.

Toronto Police Det.-Const said, “We have exhausted all avenues (of cellular data).” Dennis Yim during a recent court appearance. “We have done comparisons and analyzes and those comparisons and analyzes have yielded no fruit.”

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Yim provided this information during interrogation by a Toronto Star reporter in his ongoing efforts to access a production order detailing Starr’s sealed search warrant and murder investigation. The hearing of the Ontario Court of Justice was presided over by Justice Leslie Pringle.

Of the 300 numbers, none came to the tower dump at the relevant time, and none shed any light on the identity of the pedestrian, or provide evidence of the police theory that Barry and Haney were under surveillance.

That’s why police actively released information — the “Walking Man” video — at a press conference in December for the first time in four years. After fighting with Starr to keep the video and other elements of the investigation sealed for four years, police turned to the public for assistance.

Barry Sherman was the founder of Apotex, a Canadian generic drug company. He and his wife, Honey, were philanthropists, donating millions of dollars a year. He was murdered on the evening of December 13, 2017, and his bodies were discovered 36 hours later by a realtor touring clients through his home on Old Colony Road, near Bayview Avenue and Highway 401.

Newly released documents show that within months of the murders, murder detectives had developed the belief that a “walking man” with a strange gait captured on several home security camera systems in the neighborhood was the killer. Detectives hoped to find an electronic trace of a pedestrian, perhaps in cellular communication with someone else, although police had no visual evidence that the pedestrian was using a cellphone.

But Yim told the court that police failed to come up with any relevant information when they compared the “tower dump” to those 300 cellphone numbers. Nor were they successful in comparing it with any other information gathered from production orders served outside Canada. Police would not say which country was involved or what information was there. Yim said there’s still a second production order placed outside the country a year ago and they’re still waiting for the results.

Now, Yim told the court during the cross-examination, the police are focusing their efforts elsewhere.

“The investigation has moved to a different stage,” Yim said, but did not explain what he meant. Documents show that the police have received two batches of information, apparently from people they had interviewed earlier. The pages describing that information have been thoroughly edited (even the title), and police say revealing it would harm their investigation by disclosing “persons of interest.”

Granthshala is arguing that the police are using that definition too liberally, telling the court that the assumption that someone might be in trouble with Barry and Honey does not justify sealing the documents. Is.

Police have now ordered nearly 2,000 pages of police search-warrants in the four-year-old case out of 12 separate requests made to Justice Pringle.

Each time a new section of documents is sealed, more information is revealed. For example, it has now been revealed that police had fingerprints on the interior and exterior of Honey Sherman’s Lexus SUV (the night she arrived home on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 when she was murdered). The documents do not reveal whether there were fingerprints on Barry’s car. (They arrived home separately, Honey first.)

Crime scene photos of Barry Sherman's Mustang parked underground at 50 Old Colony Road.

Police also uncovered photos of Honey’s Lexus and Barry’s silver convertible Ford Mustang on the day the bodies were discovered. Barry’s car is parked in the underground garage, close to the door that leads out of the garage to a long hallway that leads either to the staircase leading up to it, or to the swimming pool room where the two bodies were later found. . Photos of the Mustang back up the stories of the money-making billionaire – his car was over a decade old, filthy inside. In the back is a child’s car seat that Barry used when one of his grandchildren came along for the ride.

Pringle, in a previous ruling on the first stage of Starr’s arguments, noted the importance of the process initiated by Starr, saying it is “beneficial in shedding some light on the investigation and encouraging police accountability.”

From time to time, journalists from the Toronto Star represent the paper in court, usually to request access to closed court proceedings and sealed documents. In the situation described in the above story, Chief Investigative Reporter Kevin Donovan represented Starr in court in his application to unsealed police search warrant material related to the ongoing Barry and Honey Sherman murder investigation.

Kevin Donovan is the Star’s chief investigative reporter based in Toronto. He can be contacted at 416-312-3503 or via email: [email protected]

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