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Canadian Police Say Killer Targeted Billionaire

  • VOA News

FILE - This Jan. 6, 2018, photo shows police crime scene tape marking off the property belonging to Barry and Honey Sherman, who were found strangled inside their home on Dec. 15, 2017.

Police in Canada said Friday that they thought billionaire businessman Barry Sherman and his wife were the victims of a targeted killing.

Police said they were treating the case as a double homicide after a six-week investigation, but they declined to discuss possible suspects or motives.

The deaths last month of Sherman, 75, who founded the Canadian pharmaceutical company Apotex, and his wife, Honey, 70, shocked the country's business and philanthropic communities. Police said the couple were found hanging by belts from a railing next to a swimming pool at their Toronto mansion December 15.

Toronto homicide Detective Sergeant Susan Gomes said during a news conference Friday that police had an "an extensive list of people we're looking forward to speaking to."

Last month, multiple news organizations quoted anonymous police sources as saying investigators were operating on the theory that the deaths were a murder-suicide.

Gomes disputed those reports, saying police were always considering three possibilities: double suicide, murder-suicide and double homicide.

The Sherman family hired a private investigator and pathologist and conducted an independent autopsy of the bodies after complaining that police had mishandled the case at the beginning of the investigation. The private investigators told reporters this week that the Shermans most likely had been killed by multiple people.

The family said in a statement Friday that the police's double homicide conclusion was "expressed by the family from the outset and is consistent with the findings of the independent autopsy and investigation."

No signs of forced entry

Gomes said there were no signs of forced entry at the Shermans' home. She said the couple were last heard from December 13, two days before their bodies were discovered.

Police have searched the couple's mansion, taken 125 witness statements and analyzed surveillance video from the couple's North York neighborhood, one of Toronto's most exclusive communities.

Barry Sherman founded Apotex, which sells generic drugs, in 1974, revolutionizing the drug industry in Canada. He was known for his propensity to sue rivals as he built his company into a pharmaceutical giant. Sherman stepped down as chief executive in 2012.

He and his wife were known for their philanthropy, giving generous donations to hospitals, universities and Jewish organizations.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the funeral of the couple, along with other top officials from the political and business world.

Forbes had estimated Sherman's net worth at $3.2 billion, making him the 12th-richest Canadian.

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