Aaliyah Rosa. File photo

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo

Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

CONTENT WARNING: Some of the details in this story may be disturbing for some readers

Frustrated by lack of access to her child, a recent breakup with a boyfriend, and financial issues, Langley’s KerryAnn Lewis allegedly sedated and then drowned her seven-year-old daughter, Aaliyah Rosa, the Crown argued Monday on the first day of a B.C. Supreme Court murder trial.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin is hearing the case.

Crown prosecutors Kristen LeNoble and Christopher McPherson began what is expected to be a multi-week trial by laying out the case against the accused, who is charged with first-degree murder in the July 22, 2018 death of Aaliyah in a Langley Township apartment.

LeNoble said the Crown will attempt to prove that Lewis not only killed her daughter, but had planned the act in advance.

Lewis’s background leading up to the day of Aaliyah’s death was laid out by the prosecution, including her marriage to Steven Rosa, Aaliyah’s father, and the couple’s acrimonious split in 2016.

At the time of Aaliyah’s death, it was Rosa who had primary custody of Aaliyah, and Lewis was frequently upset about her lack of visitation time, LeNoble said.

LeNoble told the court that the accused was upset at being limited to visits twice a week only, with no overnight stays allowed. A nightly video chat with Aaliyah frequently did not happen, which was another source of tension for Lewis, the prosecutor said.

She also noted that Lewis had been admitted to the hospital several times between 2010 and 2018, having attempted suicide with prescription medications.

According to prosecutors, the day before Aaliyah’s death, Lewis’s then-boyfriend stormed out of the apartment after a fight. He headed to a friend’s place in the early morning hours of July 22, and in a text exchange with Lewis in the morning, he said they were through and he would be back for his things later in the day.

Following that, LeNoble said Lewis sent a number of text messages to a “gifting club” of which she and her ex- boyfriend had been members. She had apparently invested about $15,000 in the “club” and was trying to get her money back, in part for legal fees for her fight over custody of Aaliyah.

During the course of the day, LeNoble said Lewis’s messages show she had realized she would not see her money back any time soon, if at all.

That day, Lewis picked up Aaliyah for one of her regular custody sessions from Rosa, in the parking lot at the Langley Events Centre (LEC) at 10 a.m.

In the days to come, LeNoble said the Crown will call witnesses to detail what is known of the rest of Lewis’s movements that morning, including a trip to a nearby pharmacy where Lewis bought blue Powerade, and over-the-counter sleeping medication. She also filled a prescription for ativan.

After a stop at a liquor store to pick up a 375 ml bottle of vodka, Lewis apparently returned to her apartment with Aaliyah. A key fob she used accessed the building’s garage before noon and records show she did not leave again.

Disability paperwork Lewis filled out, and photographed with her phone, that day includes an extensive answer to one question that expressed anger at her ex-husband Rosa, the toll the custody battle was taking on her, and one part that appears to read, in part, “My life is so messed up, I can’t even take her,” said LeNoble.

The first call to the police came from Steven Rosa, who arrived to pick up Aaliyah at LEC at 5 p.m., only to find no one there to meet him. He came back at 7 p.m., and still not finding Lewis or Aaliyah, he phoned the Langley RCMP.

Officers began making inquiries attempting to locate the child, LeNoble said.

At about 9 p.m. that evening, Lewis’s ex-boyfriend and two friends arrived at the apartment, with the ex planning to remove his belongings. They found the door partially blocked from inside with boxes and furniture.

They pushed their way in, and Lewis was in the master bedroom with the door closed. It wasn’t until about half an hour later that the group found Aaliyah lying on the floor of the bedroom’s en suite bathroom next to the tub, cold and wet. They took her to the living room and called 9-1-1, but the Emergency Health Services personnel didn’t try to revive the girl.

“She had been dead for some time,” said LeNoble.

Crown plans to introduce toxicology evidence about drugs found in Aaliyah’s system.

Lewis allegedly tried to drown herself in the bathtub as well, but was pulled out by one of her ex-boyfriend’s friends, an off-duty police officer from Lethbridge, Alta. EHS paramedics took Lewis to Langley Memorial Hospital, and she was charged with murder a month later.

The Crown has an extensive list of witnesses they plan to bring to the stand in support of their account of the alleged murder, including RCMP investigators, the people who discovered Aaliyah’s body, and a number of police officers.

After the Crown’s opening statement, much of the remainder of day one in this trial was consumed with the testimony of the police officers who investigated the scene, including about how they seized and iPhone that was registered to Lewis.

The Langley Advance Times covered Monday’s court proceedings via an audio-only conference call link, due to COVID-19 protocols making in-person attendance at B.C. courts difficult.

CourtIHITLangleyLangley RCMPmurder

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

santa.
Morning Start: Santa Claus has an official pilot’s license

Your morning start for Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, speaks with North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold during a Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce breakfast Monday, March 2 at Eatology. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Despite $381.6 B deficit, better days are coming: Minister of Middle-Class Prosperity

“We want Canadians to know that we’ve got their backs”

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Revelstoke City Hall. (File)
Revelstoke COVID-19 cases spike to 46

Mayor Gary Sulz expects positive cases to increase

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are looking for the next of kin after a member of the public reported finding cremated human remains off the BX Falls trail on Oct. 15, 2020. (RCMP)
Cremated human remains found off Vernon hiking trail

RCMP seek to find next of kin, release photo to public to help ID

A happy, well-fed bear cub plays in the grass in northern B.C. (John Marriott photo)
Bear witness: Shuswap’s John Marriott offers intimate look at black, polar and grizzly bears

Sarah Elmeligi and Marriott’s What Bears Teach Us explores bear/human co-existence

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Wear a mask for the benefit of all

If this virus latches onto one of your cells, it takes over the RNA and DNA and makes you sick

A teacher places the finishing touches on the welcome sign at Hunter’s Glen Junior Public School which is part of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Sept. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Hindsight 2020: How do you preserve a year many Canadians would rather forget?

Figuring out how to preserve the story of the pandemic poses a series of challenges

Haley Callison. (Facebook photo)
Former B.C. pro hockey player frustrated with COVID-deniers after horrific bout with virus

Haleigh Callison hopes people will follow precautions and tone down the rhetoric

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by SFU professor surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Brent Ross poses with his dog Jack who died over the weekend after asphyxiating on a ball. Ross hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale to other dog owners. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm man warns others after dog dies from choking on a ball

Brent Ross grieving the sudden loss of Jack, a healthy, seven-year-old chocolate lab

Most Read