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

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
‘Lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’ say RDBN directors on CN’s response

Frustrated over lack of solutions, despite communicating their concerns to CN

Barbara Patrick. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Former Burns Lake local to play the first Indigenous character in a Hallmark movie

Barbara Patrick, a former LDSS student takes a huge step for the Indigenous community

The Burns Lake RCMP is supportive of having a ticketing bylaw in place even though there would be limitations on what they could ticket on. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake might be getting a ticketing bylaw

Will help extend RCMP’s authority to attend to noise complaints

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Most Read