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

(File photo)
RCMP left with many questions after odd report of stabbing in Parksville

Original caller left area because of outstanding arrest warrants; victim not forthcoming with police

PQB News reader Randy Hall set up a camera at the beach in Parksville, in the same spot every day in February, to capture the changing days and weather. (Randy Hall photo)
WATCH: Scenes from 28 days in February in Parksville

PQB News reader Randy Hall set up camera in same location each day

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

(PQB News file photo)
Some frustrated Parksville Qualicum Beach residents now tossing recyclables in garbage

Option is driving to collection centres in Nanaimo and Courtenay

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

A sports car crashed into a lamp standard and rolled down the hill behind Country Club Centre mall on Sunday night. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Sports car crashes into lamp post, rolls down hill behind Nanaimo mall

Driver uninjured in incident Sunday night on Norwell Drive

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Most Read