The family of Barry and Honey Sherman, the billionaire couple who were found dead in their Toronto home in December, is offering up to $10 million for “information leading to the apprehension and prosecution of those responsible for the murders.”
The reward was announced at a press conference on Oct. 26 that was organized by the family’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan. Four members of the team working on a private investigation for the family were also in attendance.
Any information collected will be analyzed by an independent panel of experts and the amount paid will be based on how much the information contributes to the apprehension and prosecution of a suspect.
At the press conference, Greenspan criticized the Toronto Police Service for its early handling of the investigation, saying that it failed to meet a professional standard.
For example, before any investigation had taken place, Toronto police announced to the public that “there was no sign of forced entry” and they were not “not currently seeking any suspects.” Those statements, which Greenspan called “misguided and unfounded,” implied the deaths were either a murder-suicide or double-suicide. The family, who believed the two were murdered, was devastated by those comments, said Greenspan.
Greenspan said the police failed to take into account the “suspicious and staged manner” in which the bodies of the Shermans were situated, as they were “sitting next to each other with ligatures pulled up around their necks and wrapped around a railing, forcing them into an upright position.”
“The observations at the scene,” Greenspan continued, “could not – and should not – have led to the premature and wrong-minded conclusion that was announced that first night.”
Greenspan then listed further ways the police had failed to follow best practices in the six weeks they held onto the Sherman family home, including failing to vacuum the immediate area where the Shermans were found, failing to conduct a thorough examination of the points of entry into the home and missing at least 25 palm or fingerprint impressions.
In spite of the errors Greenspan outlined, he said the private investigative team was still eager to work with the police. So far, however, that request has mostly been ignored, he said, although the private team has passed along information to police on a few occasions.
The observations at the scene could not – and should not – have led to the premature and wrong-minded conclusion that was announced that first night.
– Brian Greenspan
Notably, on Jan. 24, the lead investigator from the Toronto Police Service met with Dr. David Chiasson, the retired chief forensic pathologist of Ontario, who was hired by the Sherman family. Chiasson had conducted a second autopsy of the bodies on Dec. 20, 2017, a few days after they were first discovered. He concluded that the Shermans were murdered and the police should not have concluded that the injuries were self-inflicted. Two days after the lead officer met with Chiasson, police announced that the Shermans were the victims of a targeted double homicide.
The Toronto Police Service held its own conference after Greenspan’s. Police Chief Mark Saunders disputed the idea that a premature conclusion was reached and said that police never suggested it was a murder-suicide. He believes the investigation has been handled professionally. Saunders noted that homicide detectives were on the scene right away and a forensic pathologist was also brought in.
He said the police support the family’s decision to offer a reward. “Anything that helps lead to a successful conclusion is a good thing. We know that, historically, rewards don’t necessarily help when it comes to concluding cases, but this is an opportunity that may offer great assistance. Hopefully there are people out there … that can help further this investigation.”
Barry Sherman was the founder of Apotex, a generic drug company, and one of the richest men in Canada. An autopsy revealed that the couple died from “ligature neck compression.”
The Shermans were known for their philanthropy in the Jewish community and elsewhere. They donated millions of dollars to causes that were close to them, including roughly $50 million to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and more than $12 million to pharmacy education and research at the University of Toronto. Around 7,000 people attended their funeral on Dec. 21, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On Oct. 24, Caroline de Kloet, the media relations officer for the Toronto Police Service, said in an emailed statement to The CJN that there are no new updates in the ongoing investigation.