Barry Sherman was the 15th richest person in Canada. Honey Sherman was a top philanthropist. Barry and Honey Sherman, lauded as pillars of the community. Now, murdered in their home, found side-by-side, strangled, bound to a railing next to their indoor pool.
A mayor, a premier, and the Prime Minister, a fitting tribute to two of Canada’s wealthiest and most generous citizens. Thousands saying goodbye to billionaire businessman Barry Sherman, and his wife Honey Sherman, the philanthropist. Their son Jonathan put into words what many saw as his parents’ special partnership. ‘You were like a lock and a key. Each pretty useless on your own. But together, you unlocked the whole world for yourselves, and for us, and for so many others.’
When they were last seen alive eight days before, all seemed well in the Sherman’s’ world, with imminent plans to spend the holidays in Florida with family. As usual that morning, Barry left for the 20-minute drive to work in his 1999 Mustang convertible. The CEO of generic drug manufacturer Apotex was known to arrive early and leave late. Later that afternoon, his wife Honey drove her SUV to meet him at the office, where they discussed plans for their new 16,000 square-foot mansion with their architects. The plans included indoor and outdoor pools, an elevator, a gym, and an event room. After their meeting with the architect, Honey left the Apotex building in her champagne coloured Lexus. Barry was to follow later. And as he made the return trip down the highway towards home, Barry Sherman had a lot on his mind. He was under investigation for improper political fundraising, was cooperating with police in a criminal fraud probe, and was the target of a bitter family feud that threatened to destroy his legacy. What’s more, it would be the last time he would ever make that familiar drive. Two days later, their real estate agent made a gruesome discovery.
The Sherman’s bodies were found side-by-side, their necks tied with belts to a railing by their indoor pool. A violent end to the lives of two remarkable Canadians, but also so much more than that. A taunting scene with the essential question unanswered. Who hated them enough to do this?
From the beginning, it was clear Barry Sherman was driven to succeed. His father died when he was just nine years old, but he was smart, very smart.
He entered University at 16, studied engineering , and went onto a graduate degree from MIT in Boston. Still a teen, he started learning the generic drug business from his uncle, Lou Winter, who owned a Toronto company called Empire Labs. Lou Winter’s son, Kerry said ‘Barry lost his father when he was nine, and my father, Uncle Lou, took him under his wing and actually brought him into the business, and gave him a summer job, and I guess, taught him the world of generics.’ When his uncle Lou Winter died, Barry Sherman bought Empire Labs, and through a series of shrewd corporate moves, was soon on his way to control of the corporation that would become Apotex, the largest generic drug company in Canada.
Generic drug manufacturers essentially make copies of medication produced by brand-name companies. Sherman saw himself as an underdog up against Big Pharma, who were gouging Canadians with high drug prices, and he wasn’t averse to making his opinions known in public. He was once heard to say in an interview “The multinationals are simply the parasites that come into Canada, set up branch plants, simply for the purpose of exploiting our market to the maximum for their own benefit.” It was a true street fight.
Audrey Dan’s family ran Canada’s other generic pharmaceutical company, Novo Pharm. He recalls Sherman as a ruthless competitor. ‘We always kept our eye on him because he always wanted to push, push it to the maximum, and see what he could do and there are times where he was greatly rewarded, and there are times where he pushed it too much. “But he also was a man unafraid of making enemies, famous for his lawsuits. Hundreds of them that became Sherman’s go-to weapon in that industrial street fight. On one side, Big Pharma protecting their patents.
On the other side, the cheaper generic knockoffs, muscling in on their territory, with billions of dollars at stake. r Jeffrey Robinson investigated those Big Pharma wars more than a decade ago. “He was hated by Big Pharma. He was as big as it gets in Canada, and he was a major player in North America, so that he had enemies all over the place.”” And for some of his Big Pharma enemies, it got personal. Barry Sherman their target, hiring private investigators to try to sabotage him. They were trying to plant something on him, and it turns out that the orders had been given either to put kiddie porn in his pocket or a kilo of cocaine in his trunk, something like that, to compromise him and take him completely out of the game.”
Sherman’s cousin Kerry Winter remembers his reaction. “And he told me in his office one day, he says, “You know, they’re trying to set me up,” he said. And I went, “Get out of here, Barry!” He goes, “No, I’m serious. They’re trying to frame me up.” And Big Pharma kept coming after him. One major company hired spies to pose as Apotex employees to collect dirt on Barry Sherman. He knew about these detectives having lunch behind the factory on picnic tables watching what was coming in and out of the back door. So he was– he was very cautious. But under Sherman, Apotex could play hardball, too. A recent court case alleges that one of his top executives had an affair with a woman in a rival company and ended up with thousands of pages of trade secrets. Apotex has called the case frivolous.
It may sound like something from a spy thriller, but Sherman was convinced his competitors were out to get him. Apotex once told the New York Times, “Mr Sherman has received death threats.” And Sherman himself made dark jokes about the possibility of being eliminated by his competition. He said, “For a thousand dollars you could probably “get somebody killed.” He, in his paranoia, wondered if maybe somebody should have knocked him off by now, ’cause that would have ended the whole problem for the other side.
Indeed, in the wake of the deaths in December, Toronto Police have obtained search warrants for the Apotex offices and other corporate locations, searching for a possible business link to the killings.
The whole relationship was based on lies and deception. Kerry Winter is Barry Sherman’s first cousin. As police investigators compile the names of those who could have wanted the Sherman s dead, even Winter himself admits he might be on that list. And anybody who knows Barry Sherman will tell you that. Emotional, anxious, and angry, Kerry Winter leaves no doubt he felt deeply betrayed by Barry Sherman, and he wanted revenge. “So I was heartbroken. I was betrayed. My cousin hurt me, and now I want to hurt him. ” There are conflicted feelings about a man Kerry Winter says he learned to hate, and they came to a head in September 2017, when Winter lost a bitter, ten-year court battle against his cousin Barry. During the case, Sherman was called to a lawyer’s office to face questions under oath. Here are snippets of the audiotapes from that examination, in which Barry Sherman defends his conduct in the relationship with Kerry and the orphaned cousins.
“To understand what happened, you’ve got to go back to a family dispute that had its roots half a century ago. And it begins with this man, Kerry Winter’s father Lou Winter, who brought his young nephew into the family drug business, the teenage Barry Sherman. Empire Labs was a growing and successful generic pharmaceutical business in Toronto. Then tragedy struck. I was only four at the time, and on November 5th, 1965, my father passed away, and 17 days later, on November 22nd, my mother passed, leaving me and my three brothers orphaned. That also left Empire Labs without its founder. Lou Winter had taught his nephew Barry the business, so it seemed fitting that two years later Barry Sherman bought his uncle’s drug company from the family estate. At first, Barry Sherman made sporadic visits to his young cousins at their adoptive home. But he would soon lose contact with the Winter boys altogether. While the generic drug business made Barry Sherman a wealthy man, his cousins were struggling.
For some, there were scrapes with the law in the grip of drug addiction. For Kerry, it was heroine, then crack cocaine. ” I was a full-blown crack addict. You don’t need to be smoking crack for five or ten years to experience the bottom and the despair that that particular drug can bring. I mean, I’m not proud of the fact that I was a crack head, but I was.” Then, years later, Kerry Winter would be reintroduced to his long-lost cousin Barry Sherman. ” My brother Dana would go on and on about this Barry Sherman, this cousin who was very rich, and I said, “Who is he?” And he said, “He got our father’s business, “and he wants to meet you,” and so, of course, that’s how it all started.After a 16-year absence, suddenly Barry Sherman seemed ready to help, and he took the Winter boys under his wing.
Kerry took him up on that offer. Barry Sherman funded his education and bankrolled his home renovation company. I had this billionaire who was about to give me anything I wanted. He said, “I want to help you make a life for yourself.” It slowly started off with a couple hundred thousand, but within three, four, five years, it was houses and cottages and sports cars, and literally, it steamrolled and snowballed into about 15 years later being about five, six, seven million. But Kerry Winter says Honey Sherman was not enthusiastic about her husband’s renewed relationship with his cousins. He says she had some tough questions for him at their house one day. And I didn’t understand her line of questions. “What do you want with my husband?” or “How much money is he giving you?” She started to berate me and I remember going, leaving that day thinking something was amiss.
It all raised an obvious issue. Why was Barry Sherman being so generous with his cousins? Kerry wondered if there might be an ulterior motive. When I look back on it, as wired as I was on drugs, why would a billionaire continue to give me millions and millions of dollars when I never showed a profit? It wasn’t like I was building custom homes and selling them and making money.
I was losing money, losing money, and he would increase the line of credit at the Bank Of Montréal, and he always made me sign promissory notes. So, financially, this idea that Barry Sherman was giving me money was not the truth. I was beholden to him. I was under his thumb.
I don’t even know what circumstances you’re talking about. In this audio testimony, Sherman had a very different view of things. But Kerry Winter couldn’t shake the notion there was another reason for that generosity. He wondered if it could have something to do with his father’s drug company, which Barry Sherman bought all those years before. I then went to my cousin and asked him specifically, “Barry, how did you get my father’s business?” After some digging, Kerry Winter uncovered a long-buried family agreement. And I’m gonna tell you, I was blown away. I was shocked. I do not seen that coming. He learned that when Barry Sherman bought their father’s company, he agreed Kerry and his brothers could each acquire 5% of it.
But Kerry says their cousin Barry never told them anything about that. And I just remember calling him and saying, “You lied to me, Barry. “You lied to me.” And he said that that was true. And I said, “Why did you like to me?” It was the beginning of what would be a ten-year legal battle, Winter versus Sherman, Sherman versus Winter.
And Barry Sherman was adamant, if not for him, Lou Winter’s former company would have gone under.And according to Kerry Winter, Barry Sherman warned him not even to think about suing. And he said, “You know, not too many people have a cousin Barry. “Do you know what I mean by that, Kerry?” And I said, “Well, I’m really lucky, Barry. “I’m really lucky to have you in my corner.” He says, “Do you hear what I’m saying? “Are you thinking of coming after me? “Because if you do…” And he leaned forward and looked at me and he says, “You won’t beat me. “Do you understand that? “Do you know who am?” After years of bitter litigation, finally last September, the Ontario Superior Court ruled against the claim by Kerry Winter and his brothers for 20% of Barry Sherman’s fortune. The court decided that original agreement applied only to Lou Winter’s former company, Empire Labs, which Barry Sherman had sold off before he formed Apotex.
Even worse, his cousin Barry was calling in all the IOU’s Kerry Winter had signed for the cash advances he’d been given over all these years. So Kerry Winter now owed Barry Sherman $8 million. Winter insists all that was left between him and Barry was his hatred.He wasn’t this loving, kind person giving money away, pillar of the Jewish community. He cared about one thing. Money. Making lots of it, and not caring who he destroyed, who he stepped on, or who he worked over, like me and my brothers. Still devastated and depressed from those court decisions, just a few months later, in mid-December, Kerry Winter got a phone call he’ll never forget, from a friend.
He said, “They just found Barry and Honey’s body “in the house.” And I just calmly said to him on the phone, “I don’t believe it. “He finally did it.” I said, “He killed her.” And to this day, and this moment in front of you, I’ve never shedded a tear about that and I’ve never questioned it. So that wasn’t a quip. That wasn’t something that you truly believe? Absolutely, absolutely. And I know for a fact that… How do we say. There was a little history between Barry and I. It was that history between them which led Kerry Winter to make an unbelievable assertion. He says, despite the Toronto police ruling that the Sherman deaths were a double homicide, there’s a decades-old reason why he believes Barry Sherman killed his wife.
He maintains Sherman had try to do it before, and, another amazing claim, Kerry said Barry had asked him to help. And there was a time in his office that he turned to me, and said, “Kerry, I want you to do me a favour.” And I said, “What’s that, Barry?” He said, “I want you to whack my wife.” And I said, “Come on, Barry, you want me to kill your wife?” He goes, “I didn’t say you. “You know some people. “Could you arrange that for me?” And I said, “You’re serious? “You’re asking me to arrange whacking your wife?” And he said, “Yeah, I hate her.” And I said, “Barry, I’ll go ahead and do that.” And I did.
I planned it and I set it up. Did you think, perhaps I should warn Honey? Or, perhaps I should- No, I hated her, too.Call the police? No, I didn’t like Honey, And, matter of fact, at the time, as twisted as I was, I relished in the idea. And I looked at it like I was helping my cousin.
I couldn’t say no. What do you believe members of the family and their legal representatives will say about this? I think they would say that he’s possibly lying, he’s trying to drag Barry’s good name through the mud. He’s gotten a hidden agenda. He’s got a vendetta. He’s being spiteful, vengeful. Are you any or all of those things true? Well, there’s no doubt in my mind I have a level of hatred.
In the immediate aftermath of the Sherman deaths, there were more questions than answers. In particular, was it a murder suicide or a double murder? After a six-week investigation, police were unequivocal. Both Honey and Barry Sherman were victims of a targeted homicide. But Kerry Winter refuses to believe the official Toronto Police version. The disgruntled cousin who had the bitter decade-long dispute claiming a piece of the Sherman fortune is sticking to his belief that it was Barry Sherman who killed his wife. And he makes the outrageous claim that his cousin Barry wanted to kill his wife Honey two decades before. He just wanted her gone. He wanted her gone. But then, Kerry Winter says, at the last minute, Barry Sherman got cold feet. I called him and I said, “You know there’s no turning back, Barry, if I push the button.” And he said, “No, don’t do it.” And that’s when I said, “Then don’t bring it up again,” and he never did.
If that story sounds like it might have been concocted, we wondered about that, too. Two of Winter’s friends claim he told the story to them at the time. But was it true? So we asked Kerry Winter to take a lie detector test. While not admissible in court due to possible inaccuracies, the polygraph is commonly used in the justice system. John Galianos is a former Québec homicide investigator and a veteran polygraph examiner ran the tests and here is the transcriptions:
Do you understand I will only ask you the questions that we discussed? Yes.
Concerning the hitman request from Barry Sherman to cause the death of his wife, do you intend to answer truthfully about that? Yes.
Are you lying when you say that Barry Sherman told you that he wanted his wife killed? No. Are you lying when you say that Barry Sherman told you he wanted his wife killed? No.
The entire process takes about three hours. But the feedback is almost instant. For Kerry Winter, it’s not good news. And that’s when Kerry’s story begins to unravel. First, his memory of the alleged murder plot starts to change. Did he and Barry Sherman really talk about killing Honey more than once, as Kerry had claimed? Was it possible that he didn’t ask you a second time? Is that possible? Very. But I still believe it. I don’t know what in my head I believe he asked me twice. But is it possible he didn’t ask you a second time? Yeah. What percentage do you feel that he only asked you once? What would be the percentage? Pretty high. Like how? Close to a hundred? >> Yeah.
Yeah, he only asked me once. Winter had just altered a key part of his claim, and that was only the beginning. He soon would admit he had made other crucial details. It would have been not months or weeks. It would have been within a few days. Okay, he called it off within a few days, right? As opposed to months and weeks? Yeah, and asked me a second time. Okay, go ahead. I mentioned a second time, which is false, right? >> Yes. That’s the only explanation I have. That I could have embellished it and said two times, and that she was getting close to being done.
And she was 20 hours away. That could have been an embellishment. Because I honestly think there was this button idea, that she was 20 hours away from going. This button thing was bullshit, right? Looking back on it, I don’t know if it’s true or not. Where I would’ve dreamt that up, though? Why I would have dreamt it up? Maybe the drugs. Possibly, or to make it more drama-oriented fiasco? So his allegations that Barry Sherman was involved in a murder plot was crumbling.
Criminologist and former detective Mike Arntfield, who monitored the test, says the only possible explanation for Kerry Winter’s failure is that his account of the murder plot wasn’t true.
And it all begs the question, why tell that story in the first place? I mean, why go through this whole song and dance? That’s really the underlying question here. The Sherman family has endured immeasurable pain in the weeks since their parents were found dead. Added to that, Kerry Winter’s story seems calculated and cruel. And the obvious follow-up question might be, should Kerry Winter himself be considered a suspect? And it’s something I’m sure the police are going to ask about at this point.
Even Winter himself admits he had the motive. You know, I probably had reasons to lash out, to do the dirty deed. This would be asked of you by anybody. Did you kill Honey and Barry Sherman? Absolutely not. I had nothing to do with it. I don’t know who did it. I have my belief… We also asked Kerry Winter if he would take a lie detector test on THAT question, but his lawyer, and he, refused. So, we caught up with Kerry Winter one last time at a coffee shop in downtown Toronto to ask about the Sherman murders.
I mean, I had opportunity, I had motive. I can see why the police might say, And he confessed to us he had indeed fantasized about killing Barry Sherman. Like, I would talk about killing Barry, and it was very graphic. The way I was gonna do it wouldn’t have been belts. It was going to be in the Apotex parking lot. That was my vision, always. That he’d come out of the building of Apotex and I’d be hiding behind a car and I’d just…
Decapitate him. I wanted to roll his head down the parking lot, and I’d sit there waiting for the police. With such vivid imagery, we had to wonder if he had an alibi for the murders. The Sherman’s bodies were found on that Friday, but it’s estimated they were killed between Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Kerry Winter says he was at work all day Thursday. But because he lives alone, he doesn’t have an alibi for that entire Wednesday night. No alibi, Wednesday night I went to my Cocaine Anonymous meeting. I came home, as I usually do, watched some Netflix, eat some Doritos, fall asleep. Thursday night, same thing. Went to work. Very easily for me to have left work at any time because I’m not on the clock.
I’m a site supervisor. I can get in my car. I can take a three-hour break during the day. I could easily have driven over to Colony and done the deed. I admit to that. But I didn’t. I didn’t, and that’s why I’m not nervous. Guys. Kerry Winter left the coffee shop and headed out into the night. He said Toronto detectives had finally asked him to come in for an interview. He says they told him he’s not a suspect and that there’s no evidence he is. When we come back, what can we learn from how the Sherman’s were killed? Consider the commitment and, quite frankly, the strength required to manually strangle someone, even strangle with a ligature. It’s a very up-close, intimate, domineering, rage-induced manner of killing someone.
It was a Wednesday evening, December 13th, when Barry and Honey Sherman headed home for the last time. Each in their own car. She left at 6:00pm. He, at 8:45. At the house on Old Colony Road in Toronto, Honey’s Lexis arrived first. Later, Barry’s Mustang pulled up and parked. It’s believed neither ever left the house again. Two days afterwards, they were found tied by belts to the railing of their indoor pool. Reports say Honey Sherman had injuries to her face and was lying in blood.
At one point, that both had their hands tied. We don’t know if it happened separately or together, but the cause of their death was strangulation. >> Consider the commitment and, quite frankly, the strength required to manually strangle someone, even strangle with a ligature. Former police investigator, now University Professor Mike Arntfield, says it appeared to be a very angry yet disciplined crime. It’s a very up-close, intimate, domineering, rage-induced manner of killing someone. I’ve– I mean, the blood at the scene, regardless– this was a relatively controlled scene. That Friday afternoon in December, the news hit like a mortar. Now to the mysterious deaths of a billionaire couple. Barry Sherman and his wife Honey have been found dead, mysteriously hanging from a railing on the edge of their indoor swimming pool. Two of Canada’s most successful and generous citizens senselessly killed.
Like many longtime friends, Post Media CEO Paul Godfrey tried to piece together how it could have happened to people who’d given so much to so many. No sign of forced entry. Somebody could have knocked on the door that he knew or she knew and that wouldn’t be forced entry. Somebody let them in, or the door was unlocked and somebody walked in. Who knows? It was six weeks to the day after Toronto police arrived at the murder scene that investigators gave their first public briefing on the case. We have sufficient evidence to describe this as a double homicide investigation.
After a thousand hours of investigation, 127 witness statements, and 20 search warrants, detectives said they now knew the Shermans had been intentionally murdered.Both Honey and Barry Sherman were, in fact, targeted.I think that term, whether it’s through film or television, sort of conjures an image in people’s heads that this must have been an assassination, that this must have been a murder for hire. All it means is they were selected, they were marked for death, but it doesn’t mean by a professional, and certainly the way the scene had been depicted says anything but professional. Criminologist Mike Arntfield believes the motive was both personal and financial, and he knows a lot about murder.
He administers a huge American homicide database and says, statistically, the method used to kill the Sherman’s is extremely rare. And since 1976, among 800,000 murders in the US, this has happened only 22 times, where you have an elderly individual over 65, or an elderly couple, strangled over a money related issue in their own home. The good news, such as it is, is that, of those 22 most unusual murders, all 22 cases were solved. The house where the Sherman’s lived and died has now been turned over to a team of private investigators hired by the family, working to uncover evidence of what took place here, that the police so far have not. The Sherman’s’ family and friends are hoping they do so, and fast. I knew him for 17 years. He was the best friend I ever had. He was like a brother. Frank D’Angelo was Barry Sherman’s friend and business partner.
He says he only wishes his pal had been more careful about his own security. I used to fight with Barry all the time because he used to leave his place of business in the shroud of darkness. And that’s a billionaire. And if anybody, whether it was somebody in the industry of industrial espionage… that’s– they could have just got him there and been at the airport before the police knew what happened, and gone. According to D’Angelo, they had spoken just a day before Sherman last was seen alive. We always would say, “I love you, bud. “Love ya.” That’s the last thing he said. It’s fucking crazy, eh? In a split second, things change forever. And D’Angelo says he too is convinced the motivation for the murders was something personal.
For somebody to go to their house and murder the both of them, it was personal. Author and journalist Jeffrey Robinson wrote about Barry Sherman. You know, in investigative journalism, you follow the money, and you say, “Cui bono?” Who benefits? Who benefits from having killed him last year, if he was in fact murder? There’s probably a long list of people. Barry had enemies. Barry made enemies. Whatever we will yet learn about how they were killed and by whom, together, Barry and Honey Sherman were larger-than-life Canadians. Their legacy, the billions they earned, and the tens of millions they gave away. But for now, they’re known around the world for the unsolved murder mystery they left behind.