Money & Power

Billionaire Couple's Mysterious Deaths a 'Targeted Murder,' Police Say

The investigation into the unfortunate deaths of Canadian billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman continues.
IMAGE FACEBOOK/ UJAFederationToronto

The possession of great wealth sometimes comes with certain perils, as we’ve recently learned from the mysterious murder of Canadian billionaires Barry and Honey Sherman. The pharmaceutical moguls were found dead last December—hanging fully clothed—by their Toronto home’s indoor pool. The murderer’s weapon of choice: men’s belts.

The case is once again put in the spotlight after recent police reports confirm that the double homicide was a targeted event but the police have yet to pinpoint any suspects or motives. There was also no evidence of forced entry, but private investigators believe that the murder was conducted by multiple people.

The bodies of Barry, 75, and Honey, 70, were discovered by their real estate agent, who had been helping the couple sell their home for $6.9 million, a police source tells the Toronto Star. There were initial speculations about the crime being a murder-suicide, but the couple’s four children denied these allegations. 

At the time, Barry was under investigation for a fundraiser he had organized for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which allegedly did not adhere to lobbying rules. In May 2017, Barry took the lobbying case to court and filed a lawsuit against the commissioner’s probe.

The Shermans' primary source of wealth was the pharmaceutical company Apotex, of which Barry was both chairman and former CEO. The self-made billionaire, who possessed a doctorate degree in rocket science from MIT, bought his uncle’s pharmaceutical company and started with only two employees. He eventually developed it into one of Canada’s leading pharmaceuticals, reported Forbes. The Guardian listed his net worth at $4.77 billion and ranked him the 15th richest person in Canada.

Barry Sherman’s unpublished memoir was the topic of public scrutiny in light of the investigation. “Legacy of Thoughts,” penned in 1996, was reviewed after the author’s death. In it, he exposes his political opinions, his disdain for religion, and his thoughts on the meaning of life. Suspiciously, he writes on the seventh page, “Life has no meaning or purpose.” But despite these beliefs, Barry and his wife were huge backers of philanthropic efforts and gave away millions on record.

The murders surprised many. Their neighbors described them as “lovely people,” per The Washington Post, while the BBC detailed how more than 10,000 people attended the joint funeral, with guests including Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Both Trudeau and Canadian Senator Linda Frum expressed their sadness over this loss through tweets. Their son Jonathon gave a eulogy honoring his parents. 

While Barry was a self-proclaimed workaholic who lacked social skills, his wife Honey was his polar opposite. She was warm, giving, and the “’glue’ that held the family together.” She came from a modest upbringing; her parents were Polish Holocaust survivors who moved to Canada. Honey met Barry in 1970 and they wed the following year. At the funeral, Honey’s sister Mary described Barry as “the most brilliant, wonderful, kind man." 

Although Barry was celebrated by many around him, he had also been the subject of controversy in the past, particularly when his cousins filed a lawsuit against him. These were the children of Louis Winter, the uncle from whom Sherman had purchased the drug company. Barry’s relatives pressed charges against him for an alleged agreement between the two parties that would allow them to work for Apotex and gve them the right to purchase 20 percent of the company shares, Toronto Life reports. Barry countersued his cousin Kerry Winter for an $8 million debt and extortion. The decade-long lawsuit was still ongoing at the time of the murders. The case was dismissed last September but three out of the five Winter brothers, a widow now representing one of them, filed an appeal a month later.

h/t: The Guardian

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Features Editor
Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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