4/28/23 - Episode Page - 35m - PDF Transcript

So you had a dream?

Not many dreams about my father and Barry, but I came out of my house and Barry was my


Barry was a shitty shirt, shitty pants, and his ugly, the ugliest running shoes I've ever

seen in my life.

You know, the ones that looked like from Jerry Seinfeldt?


The guy who, they were like-


The rougher and-

Yeah, yeah.


Yeah, Kramer, that he could jump on the same, right?

So I, I said, there's, what are you doing here?

He goes, I want to talk to you.

That's Frank D'Angelo, one of Barry Sherman's close friends and a partner in businesses,

as diverse as juice, beer, films, a talk show, and the now closed, forget about it, supper

club and Mamadi's restaurant.

Frank's six feet tall, big chest, bull neck, broad face, jet black, thinning hair.

The two men couldn't be more different.

Frank comes off like an Italian gangster from one of the many movies that Barry bankrolled.

Barry, well, he's a scientist with a white lab coat and a pen protector.

On this day, Frank's telling me about a bizarre dream that awoke him from a dead sleep.

Well, Barry, what the fuck happened to you?

I was going to ask.

I go, Barry, you gotta tell me.

I'm dying, I'm dying, I'm fucking dying every day.

What happened to you?

To say Frank is fixated is an understatement.

Our conversations are dominated by speculation over who murdered the Shermans.

We go down rabbit holes, like the one about Barry parking underground the night he died.

Frank says Barry was physically lazy, always parked in the circular driveway.

That the killer must have lured him down the ramp into the garage.

I say, look, Frank, it was starting to snow that night and Barry drove a convertible.

No matter the topic, Frank comes back to the same theme.

He wants an arrest.

He wants closure.

There's no fucking way.

No way.

I'm going to die.

I'm going to die early death if this doesn't get closed because I obsess about it every fucking night.

From the Toronto Star, I'm Kevin Donovan.

And this is The Billionaire Murders, the hunt for the killers of Honey and Barry Sherman.

Episode 5, Wrong Turns.

In this episode, I want to focus on the mistakes police made.

The forensic blunders, the leadership gaffes, the wrong questions asked,

and something we can't blame the police for.

How Barry Sherman's own company, claiming legal privilege,

blocked the cops from examining his phone, computer, and office files for a month.

I want to understand the effect of all of this on the case,

along with the complication of having a parallel investigation carried out by the Sherman family.

And you have to wonder, had cops been more on the ball,

had information been more readily accessible,

maybe this five-year-old case would already be solved.

As an attempt to reignite an investigation,

the Sherman family has asked me to announce the offer of a reward of up to $10 million

for information leading to the apprehension and prosecution

of those responsible for the murders of Honey and Barry Sherman.

That's Toronto criminal lawyer Brian Greenspan,

speaking for the Sherman family ten months after the murders.

He's announcing a reward and telling tipsters to contact his private investigation team.

Call Center has been established to collect tips and information 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It will be live monitored from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

and monitored by voice message overnight.

The leads will be analyzed and vetted,

and any meaningful information will be conveyed immediately to the Toronto Police Service.

Now, this is a press conference about a murder case,

but there are no cops present, just reporters.

We're in a cavernous auditorium at Apatec's headquarters, Greenspan's at the podium.

To his right, sitting at a long table, are five of his private investigators,

retired homicide and forensic cops.

Greenspan's round, hulking stature and that mischievous look in his eyes,

he kind of reminds me of the Penguin in a Batman movie.

He was hired by the Sherman family the same day the bombshell news hit

that police thought it was a murder suicide.

Greenspan's instructions?

Find out what the cops missed.

At the outset of my remarks today, I wish to reaffirm

the pledge and commitment made by the Sherman family

and maintained throughout the investigation

to support the Toronto Police Service in their efforts

to seek justice for their parents

and to pursue those responsible for these unspeakable crimes.

The sole objective of ensuring that no stone be left unturned

and the private resources which the Sherman family will continue to make available

is the enhancement of the police investigation of their parents' murders

and the advancement of the common goal of finding and prosecuting the perpetrators.

My colleague, Toronto star columnist Rosie DeManno,

slammed this as two-tier policing only available to the very rich.

She railed against Greenspan's plan for tips to go to his team

and then they would send the information to police.

It was an odd proposal coming from one of Canada's top criminal lawyers,

someone not known for cooperating with the cops.

Full disclosure, Greenspan's never been a fan of mine.

He once held a press conference outside a courthouse

to denounce my investigation on one of his previous clients

saying I was irresponsible and reporting rumors.

Here, 10 months into the Sherman case,

Greenspan says he's announcing the $10 million reward for one reason.

Put the light the fire under the Toronto Police Service.

Greenspan said somebody in the criminal community needs an incentive.

This is the opportunity for those people to come forward

and as they become wealthy,

their colleagues who were engaged in this crime

become the subjects of a prosecution.

The reward was the brainchild of Alexandra Sherman,

one of Barry and Honey's daughters.

She suggested $1 million,

but just before this press conference,

Brother Jonathan said,

let's go big, $10 million.

The reward became the headline,

but the meat of Greenspan's remarks

was a stinging condemnation of the Toronto Police.

The police failed to properly examine

and assess the crime scene

where Barry and Honey's Sherman were located

in the basement by the pool.

They failed to recognize the suspicious and staged manner

in which their bodies were situated.

The lead investigator, Detective Sergeant Susan Gomes,

didn't go to the crime scene when the bodies were there.

She sent a more junior officer, Detective Brandon Price.

He's the cop who told reporters

there was no sign of forced entry

and police were not looking for any outstanding suspects.

Greenspan said that's just bad police work.

Police are required by law to maintain a certain professional standard

in their approach to investigations,

but in this case, at this stage of the investigation,

the manner in which the Toronto Police Service conducted itself,

fell well below that standard

of how a reasonable officer in similar circumstances

should have acted.

Do you watch crime shows?

Law and order is my favorite.

Two detectives, two prosecutors.

Every episode starts with a gruesome discovery.

A jogger, skateboarder, guy taking a pee in the bushes.

Someone stumbles over a dead body.

In the next beat, something else always happens.

Two people show up.

They examine the body, the crime scene,

then there's usually a quip or two.

Looks like a to-do list.

Pick up dry cleaning, photos, flowers for Susie.

Looks like Susie will be the one sending flowers.

The gruff veteran and the brash young detective,

both looking for clues,

retired homicide cops I know

say it's vital for the officer in charge to be there,

coordinating the work of other detectives

and the forensic team, conducting preliminary interviews.

But Susan Gomes, the lead investigator on the Sherman case,

didn't go to the crime scene.

I tried to get an explanation from her.

No luck.

A police spokesperson dismissed my concerns,

telling me Gomes had complete confidence and price.

I wouldn't learn about her absence for two years.

Back in the early days of the probe,

Gomes made it seem like everything was done perfectly.

From the outset of this investigation,

we have followed the evidence,

and we were live to the issue of an undetermined manner of death.

The integrity of every homicide investigation is paramount.

Facts guide our focus.

Conjecture and speculation have no place.

Those retired homicide detectives I know

say it's tough to follow the evidence

when you don't go to the crime scene.

And of course, the old crew always thinks

they did it better in their day.

Here, I'd have to agree.

What I did learn is that when Gomes was assigned,

she had one foot out the door from homicide.

She'd done her time.

According to former police chief Mark Saunders,

once a homicide detective himself,

she's a good cop.

Saunders spoke up in her defense after the Greenspan press conference,

where her investigation was called into question.

I know Detective Sergeant Susan Gomes,

and she's been a homicide investigator for quite some time.

Very credible in the courtroom.

His presenters herself well,

in every case that I have seen her involved in.

In his critique of the police,

Greenspan pointed out his team discovered a problem

with one of the locks at the Sherman home,

which one of my sources said was the front door lock.

It had been spun,

meaning someone had broken it with a screwdriver.

Somehow, the police missed that,

along with the fact that a side door in the Sherman home

was unlocked and a window was open in the basement.

Gomes would eventually be promoted and moved out of homicide.

Brandon Price, the junior detective on the case,

was also promoted and took over the probe.

Thank you for joining us today.

My name is Brandon Price.

I am a detective surgeon with the Toronto Police Service

Homicide Squad.

Hindsight is 2020.

Big case, lots of moving parts.

You'd expect some missteps.

But with the Sherman investigation,

there's just too many.

And it turns out there's no system at the Toronto Police Service

to conduct a review of an investigation

so that mistakes don't happen twice.

One of the missteps related to a basic homicide investigation protocol.

Incidentally, last week I was fingerprinted.

That's Denise Gold.

She's the personal trainer who worked with Barry and Honey

the day they died.

When I spoke to her nine months after the murders,

she told me that a Toronto Police forensic officer

had recently arrived to take her fingerprints and DNA.

I'm not surprised, but what took them so long?

I mean, I was in the house the morning of,

which is funny, I said there's probably more of my DNA

in the house than whoever yelled it.

Denise is talking about elimination fingerprints and DNA.

That's Homicide 101.

In the case of the Shermans,

with a 12,000 square foot house

and people in and out all the time,

you want to know who has legitimate access to the house.

The cleaners, the realtor, clients,

the personal trainers, family, everyone.

You collect their fingerprints and DNA early.

Then you eliminate them from all the fingerprints and DNA

you find at the crime scene.

In an ideal world, that leaves you with a suspect or suspects.

By the way, Denise wasn't an outlier in a busy investigation.

It was worse with the golf girls, Dahlia and Anita,

who just a few weeks before were on a long golf trip with Honey.

Dahlia and Honey took turns driving,

while Anita sat in the back seat.

Did they ever fingerprint the two of you

to match your fingerprints to the car?


Yeah, no, but we were thinking, we went, oh my God.

I checked, where have we been all over the place?

I've got my golf balls in her truck somewhere.

I checked recently.

Toronto Police never took fingerprints or DNA from either woman.

Yet one of the theories police have pursued

is that someone got in the car with Honey the night she died.

Brian Greenspan, the Sherman lawyer in the first two years,

complained about forensic missteps

at the press conference where he announced the reward.

One of the first steps in a murder investigation

is to collect all fingerprints and potential DNA from the scene.

And to compare those fingerprints and bodily fluids

with those from everyone known to have been present at the scene

at a time approximate to the crime.

This collection of prints and fluids is conducted

for the simple purpose of elimination.

Whose fingerprints do we recognize?

Whose might have been left behind by an intruder?

We know that today, more than 10 months after the murders,

this preliminary and simple task has not yet been completed.

Greenspan went one step further.

Aside from failing to complete the standard protocol

of fingerprint elimination,

the police also missed at least 25 palm or fingerprint impressions

that were discovered by our private team at the scene

once the house had been turned over to us

after more than six weeks of police presence.

Greenspan and his private investigators

also discovered that the police forensic team

didn't vacuum the pool deck floor

to pick up any microscopic evidence

that a killer might have left behind.

His team turned over two vacuum bags of fine particles,

plus the finger and palm print impressions, to police.

Whether that was of value, police have not said.

At the press conference,

Greenspan summed up the effect of the mistakes this way.

For the family, the most perplexing and upsetting aspect

of the investigation was the failure to recognize the obvious

that the bodies of Barry and Honey Sherman

were staged post-mortem in a very deliberate manner.

This entire process has caused needless additional pain

and suffering to the Sherman family.

It wasn't just inside the Sherman home where mistakes were made.

In this day and age, home security and street

and transit-mounted CCTV cameras

are one of the best weapons police have.

Susan Gomes, the lead investigator for the first year, acknowledged this.

Neighborhood canvases have occurred in the area

surrounding the Sherman residence.

This has included the collection of approximately

four terabytes of security video

from both commercial and residential properties.

There are approximately 500 hours in each of these terabytes.

Except they missed the house across the road.

We'll be right back.

It has been over a year since the shocking murders

of the billionaire philanthropists in their custom home,

and no arrest.

That's the voice of Austin Delaney,

a CTV reporter covering the Sherman case.

A year and a bit after the murders,

the Sherman children got promoted

to a state-of-the-art police officer

who was charged with murder.

A year after the murder,

a year and a bit after the murders,

the Sherman children got permission

to knock down Old Colony Road.

Delaney went door-to-door looking for reaction.

He discovered something nobody had dug up before.

Today, a neighbor across the street told CTV News

she provided investigators with surveillance images

she says show a car in the Sherman's driveway

the day before the bodies were discovered.

After I saw the CTV report,

I went and talked to the husband and wife,

who at the time lived across from the Sherman home.

They're concerned for their safety,

so I'm going to call them Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

There's two parts to their story.

One related to what's on the video,

the other to how long it took police to seize it.

Let's start there first,

going back to midday on the Friday

when the bodies were discovered.

Here's a police officer speaking to reporters

who are trying to figure out what happened and who is dead.

That Friday afternoon,

two other police constables walked the perimeter of the Sherman home,

unspooling yellow caution tape,

tying it to a for sale sign and some bushes.

Across the road,

Mr. and Mrs. Smith noticed the activity.

Mrs. Smith puts on her coat and boots

and walks across the road.

She tells a uniform cop

her house has two cameras trained on their own property,

but they also pick up the street

and the Sherman driveway and the front door.

Would you like the video? She asks.

The officer stares at Mrs. Smith.

He's a big guy.

Ma'am, we're very busy. We'll get to you.

Mrs. Smith goes back to her house.

The next day, Saturday,

the Smiths try again,

conscious of the fact that their cameras are on a seven-day loop

as each new day is recorded,

one day drops off.

There's a new cop at the yellow police tape.

Sir, we live across the street.

We have security video. Would you like to have it?

The cop stares at the couple.

We're very busy, he says.

We'll get to you.

Sunday comes.

The Smiths are leaving on a ski trip.

They've given up on the cops at the scene

and have been randomly calling Toronto police numbers.

Finally, they get someone,

but the officer can't come until Sunday afternoon.

The Smiths have to get one of their adult children

to let the police in.

Three days video gone.

So, what was on that video?

The neighbour who did not want to be on camera says,

her camera captured the images of a man

going in and out of the Sherman home,

sometimes sitting in his car for up to 15 minutes,

then returning inside.

Here's what I learned when I sat down with Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

While the police delayed,

the couple decided to look at the video.

Thinking that whatever happened at the Sherman's

occurred the day before,

they only looked at Thursday's footage,

not Wednesday, the day the Shermans were murdered.

On the Thursday morning at 9.11 a.m.,

a four-door car pulls up on the street outside the Sherman home.

The car stays parked at the curb,

not on the Sherman's driveway, as CTV reported,

for just over one hour.

During that time,

a man gets out of the car three times

and walks onto the Sherman property

and up to the front door.

The images are blurry.

The Smiths say it looks like the man goes inside the front door,

but Sherman lawyer Brian Greenspan,

who has seen the video, says that's not clear.

Maybe he goes in,

maybe he just stays at the door.

You can't make out his features or his license plate.

Eventually, he drives off.

By the time I interviewed the Smiths,

they only had their notes, not the video.

I asked the police about this,

and of course, I'm keen to know what the Wednesday video shows,

specifically around the time of the murders.

The police say that to release these videos to the public

would hurt their case.

As to the identity of the man at the Sherman home,

while the Shermans lay dead in their pool room,

here's then police chief Mark Saunders.

When it comes to who knew what information,

what was done with it,

I can tell you that we had the information that is of concern

right now that is being addressed.

I'm not sure what the intent is with how it's portrayed,

but I can tell you we knew who the person was,

why they were there,

who was interviewed,

and so it's not in any way we dropped the ball.

Our officers did not drop the ball.

Chief Saunders, he never answers questions directly,

but here's another part of the mystery.

At the same time as this person was walking back and forth

to the Sherman's home that Thursday morning,

a uniformed police officer was knocking on a door,

a few houses east on Old Colony Road,

asking if the homeowner had made a 911 call.

They got a 911 call, that's what they said,

and that it came from my house.

We're not identifying the homeowner,

and their voice has been altered.

What the homeowner told me was that

no 911 call came from their home.

The next day, when the story about the Sherman's death

hits the news,

the homeowner goes to the local police station

to report that police were at their home

checking out a 911 call.

I was with family members at evening for dinner

and everyone was saying

maybe I should just go to the police station

because what we heard, it just all seemed very strange to me.

There was nothing feeling really weird

about the time that I would have had

or that they would think that there was some emergency call

that came from me.

It's just too much of a coincidence, I thought.

But again, I made that report to the police station

on Friday evening,

and they made light of it also.

The police have refused to answer my questions about this.

I believe it's possible

that on the Thursday morning

police were checking out a 911 call from the area

and that perhaps the call was made the night before

just not followed up on,

from a cell phone, not a landline.

And I believe it's possible

that the man going up to the Sherman's door

at the same time was a plainclothes police officer

checking out the 911 call.

Here's the homeowner again.

I guess what was in the back of my mind

was what was happening in the Sherman house

and somebody pressed a phone,

you know, if it was in the pocket or who knows what.

So that has stayed with me

when I heard about the murder.

I know they weren't seen since Wednesday evening.

But it left me with a really weird feeling

of someone calling up for help.

You're probably wondering,

have police checked the Sherman phones,

landline and cellular

to see if a 911 call was made.

They have, but I don't know what they found.

They've released some of Barry and Honey's phone records,

but not all.

Intriguingly, I do know from the police documents

that officers conducted a test of the emergency system

in the area of the Sherman home

to see if a call would go through.

They say that was routine.

I don't think so.

I believe it's possible

that one of the reasons for police secrecy

is that they're embarrassed they missed a call for help.

This person's actions were in the area.

If you recognize yourself in this video,

please come forward so you can be excluded from our investigation.

However, it is our hope that someone will come forward

with a name when they recognize the individual's walk.

The walking man,

police say he's the killer or one of the killers,

was caught on video in the Sherman neighborhood

the night they were murdered.

Here's Price explaining why he waited so long.

It's been with us from the early stages of this investigation.

It took some time to collect all of this footage.

It took some time to analyze the footage

to be able to link these images together.

And identify that this individual's timeline

was consistent with when we believe these offenses took place.

Let's think about this for a minute.

The cops have video of this guy.

He's not a man walking his dog or going to the store.

I agree it's suspicious,

given his proximity to the Sherman home

at the time of the murders.

Due to the location of cameras at surrounding homes,

they can't be sure he goes inside,

but they think he does.

I know that for many weeks after the Sherman bodies were found,

police stationed a squad car in the driveway

of a house that backs onto the Sherman home.

The theory was that the killer entered through that property

and hopped a fence to the Sherman's,

walking past their tennis court and their outdoor pool,

and entering through a patio door.

Police figured the killer must have had a cell phone on him

and been in communication with someone

pulling the strings on the murder plot.

As part of their hunt for him,

detectives assembled a list of 300 telephone numbers

from people they have interviewed.

We're talking business associates, family, friends,

probably the phone numbers of some people

who didn't really get along with the Sherman's.

Then they got court orders to analyze the communications,

phone and text, pinging off cell towers

near Old Colony Road that night.

They came up empty-handed,

talk about a needle in a haystack.

I remember asking the detective tasked with this job

if they'd considered that the killers used two-way radios,

which don't ping off towers.

They hadn't.

The other thing the police didn't do

was check video at the Toronto Airports

to see if anyone matching the description

of their walking man went through security that night.

Police said it never occurred to them.

It's easy to pick apart the Sherman investigation.

Lots of wrong turns and five years in, nothing.

But I'll give the police a pass on one problem they had

at the beginning of the investigation.

Detective Gomes hinted at this during her press conference,

but it would be two years

before I understood the severity of the issue.

We are in the process of attaining

or have executed 20 judicial authorizations and searches.

Legal complexities and some executions have been challenging,

giving the litigious nature of Barry Sherman's businesses,

in particular the certain seizure of electronics

in Barry Sherman's workspace at Appatex.

When Toronto Police entered Old Colony Road,

they found Barry's Blackberry and Honey's iPhone.

They also found a couple of iPads in the master bedroom

and a desktop computer.

At Appatex, in Barry's office,

they found stacks of files and his desktop computer.

Police got access to Honey's phone within five days,

but it would be a full month

until police got their hands on Barry's devices

or were allowed to look through his files.

One of the documents I went to court to get unsealed

explained why.

Behind this secrecy was a deal hammered out

between Appatex lawyers from the Goodman's firm

and Ontario government lawyers.

The law firm asserted privilege,

saying Appatex is a big, complicated company

with many trade secrets.

The government agreed.

A unique protocol was worked out.

Police officers from another unit,

working on the case, would seize everything

but then handed over to the Appatex law firm for review.

Four weeks to the day after the bodies were found,

the homicide detectives finally got access.

But here's a chilling piece of information.

To this day, police don't have everything.

The protocol gave Appatex lawyers the right

to determine what police could and could not see.

And even when police were given security footage

from Appatex, they waited weeks to look at it.

When they did, they realized they lacked the software

to view the tapes, so it was back to Appatex

to get their help.

At the top of the episode, you heard from Frank D'Angelo,

Barry's friend and business associate.

Frank says the police mistakes keep him up at night,

as do his dreams about Barry and wondering what happened.

Frank said he owes it to his friend to keep searching for answers.

He thinks Barry would have done the same for him.

And it still haunts Frank that Barry canceled on him the week he died.

And Barry, every year here, where I'm sitting,

we have a Christmas party for our suppliers.

He would sit right here.

I know, I know.

Never, and when he died, he could make it on the Tuesday

because he had some shit to do.

It's the first time he missed out.

Frank used to have his annual Christmas lunch at Mama D's,

the restaurant he used to run beside his juice bottling plant.

With Barry gone, he was cut off from Sherman Money

and lost all his businesses.

Leading up to that Tuesday lunch,

Barry had told Gemma, Frank's wife,

that he couldn't make it because he had a meeting.

As I understand it, that was the architect meeting

to discuss Barry and Honey's new house.

But then that meeting got rescheduled to the next day,

the Wednesday, and it's after that meeting

that Barry and Honey are killed.

The Tuesday he missed it,

and he called me Tuesday night to apologize

that he didn't make it.

And I was busting his balls.

It was around 10 o'clock.

He said, hi, Frank, it's Barry.

I go, I know it's you.

And I busted his balls a little bit.

I go, I can't believe you didn't show up.

I'm unlikely friends for sure.

But I've no doubt that Barry and Frank were close.

Jack K told me that Barry liked Frank

because he was a hard worker,

a dreamer with a lot of ideas.

But while Barry liked Frank,

his kids didn't.

And that was just one of the many problems

that made the Sherman House not a happy home.

Next time on The Billionaire Murders.

When Dr. Sherman's just as happy a guy is,

Barry will give you the sky, the sun, and the moon.

But if you fuck with him, Barry,

you hit Barry with a fly swatter,

he's going to hit you with a fucking slide chatter.

My dad had values and morality and principles and respect,

and half of his employees were treated well.

It's like a family.

This family's worth billions.

And Barry actually snapped and killed Honey

and tried to stage it like a suicide.

You have to understand,

my hatred of Barry, my disdain for him,

is only because of his betrayal and his lies.

The Billionaire Murders,

the hunt for the killers of Honey and Barry Sherman,

is written and narrated by me, Kevin Donovan.

It was produced by Sean Pattenden,

Raju Mudar, Alexis Green, and JP Fozo.

Additional production from Brian Bradley and Crawford Blair.

Sound and Music was created by Sean Pattenden.

Look out for my book, The Billionaire Murders,

and coming later this year,

The Crave Documentary by the same name.

Machine-generated transcript that may contain inaccuracies.

When the lead Toronto homicide detective avoids the crime scene and juniors can’t walk across the road to collect key surveillance video, that’s a sign of a poor investigation. And that was just day one after Honey and Barry Sherman were found dead. Join veteran investigative reporter Kevin Donovan as he details the mistakes that turned this case cold.

This is episode five of “The Billionaire Murders: The hunt for the killers of Honey and Barry Sherman,” a “Suspicion” podcast probing the strange case of the famous Toronto couple who were found strangled in their north Toronto home in 2017. For five years, Donovan has covered the case for the Star, fought court battles to access documents on the police investigation and the Sherman estate, and wrote a book about it.

Audio Sources: Sherman family reward press conference, Toronto Police, Law and Order NBC, CTV News, CP24