CBC CBC 3/20/23 - Episode Page - 34m - PDF Transcript

Around the world, more than 80 women have accused Peter Nygaard of crimes ranging from rape to sex trafficking.

He far exceeds Jeffrey Epstein. He far exceeds Bill Cosby. He exceeds anything that I think our world has seen so far.

A pattern of predatory behavior spanning half a century. Nygaard denies it all, but now he faces criminal charges.

If this were a poor man, he would have been in jail decades ago. He has hid in plain sight.

Evil by Design. Available now on CBC Listen or wherever you get your podcasts.

Alliance Gate Sound and CBC Podcast Production

I am recording. There we go.

Will you talk for a second?

Yeah. We are on websites where I have a pseudonym and I use this every day to kind of like mess around and see who's doing what.

What's your pseudonym?

But we don't want them to know that that's me.

Lisa Gabriel is one of the producers working on this podcast and over the months and months that we've been trying to find out all we can about Barry and Honey Sherman.

Lisa has gone deeper and deeper into the endless conspiracy rabbit holes swirling around their deaths.

People have been so helpful helping us chase down facts, articles, citations.

Lisa wants to keep digging anonymously on web sluths, a site dedicated to true crime and missing persons cases.

So that's why she doesn't want her pseudonym revealed.

Okay, so read to me some of your favorite ones that you found.

Yeah, so one of the more popular ones has to do with builders, contractors.

What if a conspiracy of builder contractors get together and they go after them?

They have like this, it's almost like a Hollywood movie where they all get together with their resentments and the living one.

We want them dead. Spill our money.

There are theories about how the bodies were found, if they were posed or not.

So to Lexi in Toronto, it makes it sound to me as if they died in one position and there are signs they were moved into the position they were found.

Others have opinions about whether or not the killings could have been personal or about business.

The killer's motive likely involved personal agenda, but follow the money.

If it was a personal matter, it might have boiled down to whether or not honey supported or perhaps even influenced Barry in a hypothetical, ugly financial situation.

And then there's the walking man video.

The walking man is really not good enough for anyone except perhaps the perp's wife or mother to recognize the person.

In December 2021, Toronto police held a press conference and released a video of a man walking on a residential street at night.

The only distinguishing characteristic is that his right foot kicks out to the side as he walks.

We were able to eliminate pretty well every other person on the video footage that we've obtained.

And so we're left with a very glaring sort of unknown with this individual.

If the police had hoped that releasing this video four years after the murder would help break the case open, they were out of luck.

But it did give WebSluice a boost.

I agree the Toronto police services had a very good idea who was involved but do not have enough evidence to lay charges.

All the more reason to shake things up a bit to see what comes to the surface.

I think you're dealing with a different type of crime, targeted murders.

And then of course, there's the family.

Beneficiaries are always investigated first, especially when wealth is involved.

It's very important to mention a few things here.

One, most of what's on sites like WebSluice is unconfirmed speculation.

And two, no one of any authority has suggested that Barry and Honey's children had anything to do with this at all.

The Sherman children have all cooperated with the investigation, telling police a lot about their relationship with their parents and their parents' relationship with each other.

Jonathan went so far as to describe his parents as complicated people.

Complicated people. A complicated case.

It's no wonder that online, where people can postulate anonymously, theories of what happened to the Shermans run from the insightful to the absurd.

But as Barry Sherman himself says in his unpublished autobiography, clearly a desire for something to be true.

Clearly, a desire for something to be true does not make it so.

It is clear that numerous questions can be asked for which we have no answers and may never have answers.

In fact, there are imponderables.

Does not however prevent intelligent beings from coming to some conclusions with a high degree of confidence in their correctness based on observation and logical deduction.

Barry was talking about religion in this quote, but he could also be talking about the ways in which so many people have jumped on the conspiracy bandwagon, all in the name of trying to solve the mystery of his death.

Welcome to the no good, terribly kind, wonderful lives and tragic deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman.

I'm Kathleen Goldhart and this is chapter six. It's complicated.

What kind of stories tend to attract conspiracy theories?

Stories about powerful people or people with powerful friends who allegedly have things to hide.

If anyone is going to know the answer to my question, it's this guy.

When Snopes first launched in 1994, its mandate was to debunk urban legends, hoaxes and folklore.

But it's branched out over the years as the internet has expanded and misinformation has expanded.

So yeah, Alex seemed like the right guy to talk to about the conspiracies that are swirling around the deaths of Honey and Barry Sherman.

This is a perfect storm of conspiracy theory. It's got all the ingredients, none of the answers that one would need, a total vacuum of information and a complete list of all of the big players who people blame conspiracies on.

And that it does.

It's fascinating in that it intersects with so many different aspects of what I do at Snopes from the sort of big pharma angle to the Clinton angle to hydroxychloroquine.

These are all topics that I write about extensively and Snopes covers extensively.

So let's break them down. Why are people saying that Hillary Clinton killed Barry Sherman?

Well, basically that he knew something about the Clintons. That's what it always is, that there was a claim of a quid pro quo between Hillary Clinton's campaign and Barry Sherman.

What was the quid and what was the pro? What was Barry getting from them?

I don't think it's that well articulated.

I'm being too rational by asking you that question.

Yeah, I mean, these are all great questions to pick apart at it. But I think if you look at the Clinton conspiracy in general, they really just they don't go that far. They stop it. There's an association.

The Clinton body count conspiracy is not unique to the Shermans. It was popularized in 1994 when a film called the Clinton Chronicles was released.

The film asserted that former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary had as many as 50 of their political opponents killed.

This conspiracy theory was supported by people like TV evangelist Reverend Jerry Falwell.

And even today it gets promoted by far right politicians like Congressperson Marjorie Taylor Greene.

But if you find it hard to believe that an American political power couple wanted the Shermans dead, maybe it's easier to imagine that the hit came from closer to home.

So we'll go from the Clintons to Justin Trudeau, our prime minister here.

And there is some conspiracy about the Shermans fundraising and breaking the law and somehow Trudeau needed to get rid of them to prevent this from coming out. Can you tell me a little bit about that?

Barry had come under fire for breaking or allegedly breaking lobbying regulations, putting a potential politician in a position, an ethically compromising position.

And that was when he hosted some large fundraiser at his house.

The Shermans did hold a big liberal party fundraiser in 2015, and it did put Justin Trudeau and his party in an ethically compromising position.

But it wasn't a secret. A group in Canada called Democracy Watch, an organization dedicated to making governments more accountable, made an official complaint to the ethics commissioner about this fundraiser, and the media was all over it.

And again, when you go into why, it's always like, oh, you knew something. And it's not often all that well articulated past that.

But by far, the most widely circulated conspiracy on the internet today, and not just in terms of the Sherman mystery, concerns the world of pharmaceuticals.

So first of all, Big Pharma is one of the largest and most popular boogeymen in conspiracy theories. This is partly because of a general distrust of large money-making organizations that control access to drugs and health.

And, you know, there are obviously legitimate critiques with Big Pharma and all of that. But it's a common area where these develop.

Part two in general is just he's a rich man, a billionaire, and rich people, especially those in the pharmaceutical industry, are definitely considered part of the elites.

So all of these things are perfect in general for a conspiracy theory.

And then COVID came along and broke things wide open. Conspiracy theories about the disease spread online faster than the virus itself. And of course, Big Pharma was all wrapped up in that.

I think it goes further than just your everyday murder. I think it ties back to COVID.

Remember our anonymous maintenance guy from episode one?

This is the manufacturer of the only treatment for COVID. He had a surplus.

So yeah, the connection has been made.

This one, to me, is really the stupidest one that's been presented.

So the idea is that a politics with the only Canadian manufacturer of hydroxychloroquine.

The problem is like nobody had heard of COVID-19 at the time.

You know, there's a chronology problem there, to say the least.

So you have to buy into an even larger conspiracy to run into that, which is like for knowledge of a pandemic.

I can't take you through all the theories or this episode would never end.

There's the Russian mafia, or is it the Hell's Angels that killed him over his supply of fentanyl?

Or the Mossad theory that Israel wanted him dead? Or was it honey that they were really after?

Oh, there's plenty of people who have suggested she is the target because she was the face of charity, because she was the more social individual.

Would somebody potentially have a motive over disputes over charitable donations? Absolutely, for sure.

What is clear is that the longer we go without any arrest, without any real information from the police, the more twisted these conspiracies will become.

I think conspiracy theories are bad things. Conspiratorial thinking is a dangerous mode of thought, period.

It sews distrust and it polarizes people and puts them into these camps, which then become part of their identity and they can't leave.

And, you know, that fuels these echo chambers where people can hate or justify their hate.

So, yeah, a vacuum of information is the fuel that keeps conspiracy theories going.

It also didn't help that the police had one theory to start with, that it was a murder suicide, and then six weeks later, changed their mind after a wealthy and influential family hired their own investigators.

You know, there's not a lot of transparency about why the original thing was pushed out or why details of that second investigation were leaked.

And since then, they've said that, you know, releases of information would hurt the integrity of the investigation, which I'm sure is true.

But it just means that everything's on the table in terms of theories.

So many conspiracy theories develop from just not knowing why something is happening.

Vacuums might lead to conspiracy theories, and there's no doubt that some of these theories can be extremely damaging.

But there are cases where online sleuthing has actually led to solving the crime.

So I think there's definitely examples of web sleuths that have been successful.

They have the time, you know, they have the time to sit down and really pour through information, dig into it.

Whereas law enforcement, because of their various demands, just don't have that time.

When Karina Oates was a grad student at San Jose State University in the Department of Library and Information Science, she published a paper called...

Sleuthing Web Sleuths, a Serious Leisure Information Community.

What she found was that beyond the people who indulge in the torrent of conspiracy theories online, there are those who become experts at investigating,

gathering information, and discovering previously overlooked clues.

Things that the police missed the first time around.

A lot of the success comes from the people who are matching unidentified remains to missing persons.

So the dough network, for example, have 113 solves and assisted solves to their name.

The dough network is an online, purely volunteer network that examines cold cases.

But online sleuths have done more than connect unidentified remains to a name.

The Golden State Killer, for example, I mean, not solely due to web sleuthing, but that did greatly benefit from people who were not members of law enforcement.

What about, what's her name? It was just last year.

Oh, Gabby Petito.

Gabby Petito was a 22-year-old influencer who went missing in the summer of 2021 while on a road trip with her fiancé.

The search for Gabby went viral, and it seemed as though the investigation happening on social media was moving quicker than the police investigation.

And in the end, it was a tip from another influencer that led to the cops finding Gabby's body.

It has that open forum format where people really are talking and sharing information and building off people's theories.

The number of pages dedicated to the Shermans goes on and on.

And in the years since the crime, web sleuths have been on the case, trying to dig up new material or endlessly ruminating on what's already out there.

Including theories about the Sherman children. And no one more so than Jonathan.

Part of that speculation is whether Jonathan could have had a motive.

Police were told by a cousin that Honey struggled with the fact that her son was gay.

But it was the Toronto Stars publication of emails between Jonathan and Barry that really ramped up online finger pointing.

Emails that showed Barry was calling in a massive loan.

We might have to pay the 580 million judgment in January.

We thus need to take steps to improve liquidity in case needed.

Thus request that you arrange first mortgages to enable repaying 50 to 60 million to Sherfham if possible. Please do within weeks.

We had hope to speak to Jonathan ourselves, but he declined.

The only time he ever spoke to a reporter was in 2021 to the Toronto Stars Kevin Donovan.

In that interview, he repeatedly denied that he killed his parents and was tired of the accusations.

Saying, quote, I'm not going to kill my dad because he needs 50 million dollars to get through a crisis.

Wow, it's kind of like cement and turrets.

Yeah, but no one's. This is not a high traffic area.

And I booked it off.

My day job is at the university.

What's your night job?

My night job is digging into things that interest me.

Anne Brocklehurst reached out to me with a conspiracy theory of her own.

I'm very interested in the Sherman case as so many people in Toronto are.

And it was something that I thought, oh, let me dig into this a little deeper.

And I had heard the podcast that you did on Mordecai.

And at one point in this podcast, it mentioned that Mordecai was, I guess, a bit like Zellig.

He kept showing up in weird places.

And one of the places he'd showed up was on the street where the Shermans live.

Let me jump in here and explain.

A couple of years ago, I made a podcast called Do You Know Mordecai?

It's the story of one of my closest friends who met a guy named Mordecai.

She thought he was amazing, but he ended up being a total liar.

But the reason Anne contacted me for this podcast was because Mordecai told everyone he lived on Old Colony Road.

Near the Shermans.

Even at one point showing up on a local TV news report pretending to be a neighbor of the dead couple.

This was absolutely untrue.

In fact, he was homeless at the time.

So when the Toronto police released the Walking Man video, it twigged for Anne.

Could Mordecai be the Walking Man?

And I thought, gee, I wonder if anyone ever checked that guy out and reported him to police or what they did.

So that's when I phoned you up and said, what do you know about this Mordecai?

I was he there, the police know he was there, etc.

The police do know.

But when Anne and I connected, it became clear that she knew a lot about the Sherman case.

So I was a journalist and I've always loved crime fiction and I always used to read crime fiction.

And for some reason I thought, oh, I should also look into getting a private investigator's license.

Not doing things like stakeouts, but more research type of investigative work enhanced due diligence for potential investors.

So I also got a PI license along the way.

And I guess it's the same thing as investigative journalism.

So with her investigative journalist and her PI hat squarely on her head, I talked to Anne about what might have happened to the Shermans.

Well, there were so many details about the staging that are interesting.

One that they were wearing their coats and that their coats were apparently pulled back to slightly immobilize them.

The fact that the bodies were hung up in the pool area.

I mean, why that?

I've asked myself sometimes, is there any significance to the water?

Could that have some kind of religious significance?

Or was it something to do with the swimming pool and having your own private indoor swimming pool in a house?

Is that the ultimate symbol of wealth?

So could it be saying money can't protect you?

I remember there being a few descriptions of in news media of Barry Sherman being positioned.

So it looked as if he was very calm with his legs crossed and his glasses still on.

So what was that supposed to say?

If anything, those details are just also perplexing.

And I think I read somewhere online, you know, someone commented and said, if you solve the staging of this murder, you solve the case.

And I tend to agree with that.

I wondered what Anne thought about the idea that it was a professional hit.

That's a popular theory, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me given the circumstances around the murder.

I think one, hit men don't tend to string people up by their belts or do elaborate stagings.

I find it hard to see a hit man tangling with a 70 year old woman in a way that leaves injuries or, you know, using the belts that the Shermans were hanged with were apparently from the scene.

I think hit men usually use their own equipment.

It just doesn't make sense to me, the hit man theory.

And then there's Frank, Frank D'Angelo.

We haven't talked about him yet, but Frank had figured prominently in new stories about the murders and remains a favorite topic on Web's loose.

One of the mysteries that seems to have perplexed his family and some of his business colleagues, for example, was his friendship with Frank D'Angelo.

They seem like a very odd couple.

I would have loved to have interviewed Frank and have him speak for himself, but he turned us down.

So Frank D'Angelo is, I think it would be fair to call him a B-list Canadian celebrity.

He's a energy drink impresario band lead singer, B-movie auteur, although B-movies is probably giving these films more credit.

This is Bloomberg reporter Matthew Campbell again, and Ann is right. Barry's friendship with Frank was a real headscratcher.

Through a series of kind of hilarious coincidences, they ended up going into business together initially with a juice plant.

And there was a brewery next door, and ultimately Frank and Barry ended up owning the brewery together too.

And that brewery became Steelback, which was Frank's beer brand.

And Frank's band was called Frank D'Angelo and the Steelback 2-4.

And Barry was either the primary shareholder or the only shareholder at times in this business.

And they were friends. They enjoyed hanging out together.

I think they had a relationship that was warm in ways that really confused a lot of the people around Barry.

They found Frank to be a pretty crass and crude guy, certainly not someone who you would usually find going into business with someone at Barry's prominence.

But Barry couldn't be dissuaded. He wanted to spend time with Frank.

He wanted to fund Frank's various endeavors.

And actually Frank's businesses did lose a great deal of money.

And at one point, Jonathan Sherman, Barry's son, was installed as CEO to turn everything around.

Because I think Barry had concluded that there was going to be no other way to stop the losses in these businesses.

But that was a relationship that continued right up until Barry's death.

And it included bankrolling these B or C or D movies that Frank was producing and continues to produce.

During the years that Frank and Barry were friends, Frank wrote and directed nine movies, many financed by Barry,

with titles like Sicilian Vampire, Real Gangsters, and Making a Deal with the Devil.

Did you ever come to any sense of what Barry saw in Frank?

I mean, we can figure out what Frank saw in Barry. And I think that there was a real affection there.

But I'm wondering what Barry might have seen in...

I've talked to a number of people about this. I think probably he thought Frank was fun.

Barry is not a guy who had a lot of fun in his life, not a lot of joy or pleasure.

He certainly had a sense of humor, but he was a workaholic and didn't have a lot of opportunities or outlets outside of his day job.

And I think he enjoyed hanging out with Frank and thought that he was a window into a kind of world and into personalities who Barry wouldn't otherwise have encountered.

And you met Frank. Can you tell me the story of meeting Frank?

Yes, I've met Frank on a couple of occasions. The first time was one of the most remarkable interviews I've ever engaged in.

He told me to meet him for lunch at the Ritz Carlton, and there was a very fancy Italian restaurant just off the lobby there.

He's already seated. He's got his back to the wall, just like the mob bosses used to.

And, you know, Frank, I think it's important to remember he has a shtick and he's playing a role.

And the role he's playing is that of a sort of wise guy indulging in a lot of stereotypes about Italian business people in, shall we say, unconventional trades.

And he does play that part very convincingly.

So we come in, you know, he's very effusive, very warm and friendly.

He says he wants to make sure that I, you know, know all about the real Barry Sherman and that I do the right thing for his best friend.

I'm not a big drinker, to say the least, but Frank insisted on ordering wine.

This is at 11.30 in the morning, thus, and then ensued a moment that I will never forget as long as I live.

When the, you know, very nice waiter at this very fancy restaurant says, you know, we should let the wine breathe a little bit after pouring it into a carafe.

And Frank says, breathe my ass. My mother had Brunello and Amarone on each tit.

And I'm, you know, just basically, like, have no idea who the hell I'm talking to at this point.

They drank two bottles of wine over the next few hours, during which Frank talked about probable motives for the murder of the man that he called his best friend.

Frank said he knew nothing, but he presumed it was to do with money, someone wanting something financial out of Barry.

And he literally spat and the spit hit the floor. And you could hear it hitting the floor.

And he said, money. Fuck it. And that was that was roughly the end of our lunch.

And so I walked out of there thinking, like, what the hell just happened? Who is this guy?

I was just totally confused about who this guy was, why Barry had had this deep relationship with him.

But it was legit. I mean, they were really close friends.

And I think anyone who knew Barry would confirm that there seemed to be a genuine rapport between them.

But his kids hated Frank, right?

Yeah, I think they saw Frank as someone who was taking advantage of their father.

If you are the children of a very wealthy guy and you see that very wealthy guy blowing your future inheritance on these kind of cockamamie business ideas,

you would sort of put up with it to some extent. But when the numbers start to get big, I think you would be pretty upset about it.

I think that's that's probably understandable.

In fact, we know they were upset about it. In 2015, Jonathan sent his dad an email with the subject line, explain it to me.

These emails were obtained by the Toronto Star.

I'm bright and educated. If you explain it to me, I'll try and understand.

These emails are being read by an actor.

Explain exactly what?

That it is worthwhile to invest more money with Frank despite year after year of losses. What are you seeing that everyone else is missing?

In the past, I have been accused of petulance for asking tough questions and there has been much frustration for both of us.

Years ago, I did stop asking about Frank because of the strain it caused on our relationship and I have left it alone.

Absurd as it may seem to you, I believe that Frank has a talent to produce films with value in excess of cost.

Please also remember that I have been making business decisions for many decades, often making decisions with which others disagree.

The result has been some big losses, but also some even bigger gains.

As a result of my decisions, you will likely be a multi-billionaire.

Is Frank any kind of suspect?

I think if Frank were any kind of suspect, he wouldn't be walking around right now.

I know he was interviewed at least once, very, very early on, and I'm sure the police came to him quite early in the investigation.

And if they thought he had anything to do with it, I would certainly hope that the Toronto Police by now would have acted on that suspicion.

And that they haven't, tells me that he's probably not considered a suspect.

Everything here is Cary's. All the purple Ks.

Okay. See that? Yeah.

And it's usually from most recent. He hasn't posted much since April.

Someone else who isn't considered a suspect, but has certainly garnered a lot of attention, is Barry's cousin, Cary Winter.

So there's this purple K. He's verified family, so it is Cary Winter. Like, this is not disputable. He's been verified on the site.

After Cary's controversial TV appearance on the 5th estate, where he talked about how Barry had asked him to kill honey, Cary sort of disappeared.

Nobody heard from him again, except here. Cary Winter is all over Websluice.

Okay, that's really interesting. So Cary Winter goes on here a lot.

The last thing I said to Detective V. Price, after our fourth four-hour Q&A at 31 Division, leaving around one in the morning, was do the right thing, go back to your original theory, and tell the good people of the city the truth.

I will state this here again. There will never be an arrest of the multiple murderers. Nobody's going to collect the $10 million. My cousin Barry killed, all so very sad, and all the money is cursed.

All four kids are doing well, LOL. Karma's nasty when you rip off little orphans. Does the sin of the father fall on the children?

We tried for months to get Cary to talk to us. Emails, phone calls, going through intermediaries. But finding his online postings felt like a new way in.

And he wasn't backtracking on what he told the CBC's 5th estate. In fact, he was doubling down. So we tried again.

Hi, how are you? Good, and I? Please sit. I'm going to have a little tea party for you ladies. OK, sounds great.

Picked up little cheese danishes. You can make a pot of tea.

That's next time on The No Good, terribly kind, wonderful lies and tragic deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman.

This episode was written and produced by me, Kathleen Goltar, and Michelle Shepard. Lisa Gabriel is our producer. It was executive produced by Charlie Webster, along with Lisa Gabriel and myself.

Andrea Varsani is our associate producer. Our technician is Laura Antonelli, sound design and mixing by Reza Daya. The role of Barry Sherman is played by Saul Rubenek.

Stuart Cox is the executive producer for Antica. This is Alliance Gate Sound Co-production with CBC Podcasts.

Alliance Gate Sound engineered by Pilgrim Media Group in collaboration with Antica Productions exclusively for CBC.

Machine-generated transcript that may contain inaccuracies.

The lack of justice, or any resolution, has left a void in this story that has been filled by online sleuths, investigative reporters, nosey neighbours, and conspiracy theorists. From Covid to the Clintons. From family to the Mafia. With more than a dozen theories on the table, and little information from the police, is it any wonder this case remains constant fodder for the darkest corners of the internet?

Websleuths: https://www.websleuths.com/forums/

Snopes: https://www.snopes.com/

Corrina Oates’ Sleuthing Websleuths: https://infocom.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Oates_ResearchPaper.pdf

Ann Brocklehurst: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8571418.Ann_Brocklehurst

For transcripts of this series, please visit: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcastnews/the-no-good-terribly-kind-wonderful-lives-and-tragic-deaths-of-barry-and-honey-sherman-transcripts-listen-1.6793254