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

Corey Harkness, who is free on bail, is slated to make his first appearance in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Dec. 14, 2020. A trial date has not yet been set. (COREY HARKNESS/FACEBOOK)
Accused in Cache Creek homicide will stand trial

Corey Harkness, 33, is charged with second-degree murder

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 65 new cases of COVID-19

Province-wide, there are 887 new cases of the virus

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 70 new cases overnight

The total number of cases in the region is now at 1,426

The TNRD will no longer be offering free disposal days at its 29 solid waste facilities throughout the region. (Photo credit: TNRD)
TNRD votes to end free disposal days at solid waste facilities

Mattresses and tires on rims to be added to items that can be brought in at no charge year-round

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

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: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read