Background
This analysis is based on an older version of our inference model which is accurate but more difficult to read

Question

What Happened to Barry and Honey Sherman?

Hypotheses
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Calculated Conclusions
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Conclusions
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1

77%
Double homicide:

Barry and Honey were both murdered.

77%

2

14%
Double suicide:

Barry and Honey committed suicide together.

14%

3

10%
Homicide-Suicide:
Barry murdered Honey and then killed himself.
10%

Summary

On Friday, December 15, 2017, billionaire pharmaceutical entrepreneur Barry Sherman and his wife Honey were found dead in their home in Toronto. Sherman was one of the wealthiest Canadians, and the Shermans gave considerable sums to philanthropic causes, as well as business ventures and political campaigns. The Shermans were found in their home, by an indoor pool, and police determined that they died of strangulation. Although police stated that the circumstances of the deaths "appear to be suspicious," they also noted that there were no immediate suspects and initially investigated the case as a potential homicide-suicide. Friends and family of the Shermans declared from the outset that this must have been a homicide, insisting that the Shermans wouldn't have taken their own (or one another's) lives. On Friday January 26, Toronto police announced that they were treating the case as a double homicide, without revealing any additional evidence.

(2nd release, January 29, 2018)

The Rootclaim analysis finds that it is most likely that the Shermans were both murdered, with it being somewhat unlikely that this was a double suicide, and less likely that it was a homicide-suicide. The strongest evidence contributing to this conclusion is their personal situation (they were rich, had made numerous enemies, and had no known previous suicide attempts) along with reports that their hands had been tied for an extended period of time (although their hands were not tied when they were found). This outweighs the fact that there were no signs of a forced entry and both Shermans had faced serious medical issues in the past (which support the suicide hypotheses).

Note: This is a developing story, currently being investigated by both the police and private investigators. When the police originally announced that this was most likely a murder-suicide, the Rootclaim analysis concluded that a double homicide was equally likely. The release of additional evidence brought the “Double homicide” hypothesis up over 75%. Please help further refine the analysis by submitting additional evidence.

 

Key Evidence
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Contribution
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1
The Shermans were involved in legal disputes and their business dealings created some enemies and political controversy.
Sources: AFP, Fred Waks, friend of the Shermans
Double homicide

58%

Double suicide

13%

Homicide-Suicide

29%

Double homicide

58%

Double suicide

13%

Homicide-Suicide

29%

2
The Shermans were wealthy philanthropists.
Sources: Agence France-Presse
Interior of their home
Interior of their home
www.thestar.com
Double homicide

52%

Double suicide

26%

Homicide-Suicide

22%

Double homicide

52%

Double suicide

26%

Homicide-Suicide

22%

3
Barry Sherman overcame prostate cancer in 2007 and Honey Sherman had various medical ailments.
Sources: Senator Linda Frum (family friend)
Double homicide

18%

Double suicide

47%

Homicide-Suicide

35%

Double homicide

18%

Double suicide

47%

Homicide-Suicide

35%

4
There were no known prior attempts at suicide by either of the Shermans.
Sources: Family members
Double homicide

48%

Double suicide

21%

Homicide-Suicide

31%

Double homicide

48%

Double suicide

21%

Homicide-Suicide

31%

5

The bodies were found hanging from rails, side-by-side, next to their indoor swimming pool.

Sources: Police
The bodies were found hanging next to their indoor swimming pool.
The bodies were found hanging next to their indoor swimming pool.
Double homicide

49%

Double suicide

25%

Homicide-Suicide

25%

Double homicide

49%

Double suicide

25%

Homicide-Suicide

25%

Combined contribution of 14 remaining elements.
Double homicide

41%

Double suicide

46%

Homicide-Suicide

14%

Analysis

Evidence
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Starting Point (1 item)

Forensics (10 items)

There were no signs of a forced entry.
Sources: Constable David Hopkinson, Toronto Police
Sherman home
Sherman home
Double homicide

31%

Double suicide

34%

Homicide-Suicide

34%

Double homicide

31%

Double suicide

34%

Homicide-Suicide

34%

There was no note left behind with the bodies.
Sources: Toronto Police
Double homicide

40%

Double suicide

30%

Homicide-Suicide

30%

Double homicide

40%

Double suicide

30%

Homicide-Suicide

30%

The cause of death was strangulation.
Sources: Toronto Police
Double homicide

28%

Double suicide

36%

Homicide-Suicide

36%

Double homicide

28%

Double suicide

36%

Homicide-Suicide

36%

A security camera in the pool area had been disabled.
Sources: Crime Online
Double homicide

36%

Double suicide

31%

Homicide-Suicide

33%

Double homicide

36%

Double suicide

31%

Homicide-Suicide

33%

The Shermans were found with their jackets pulled behind their backs and rolled over their arms.
Sources: Toronto Sun
Double homicide

36%

Double suicide

40%

Homicide-Suicide

23%

Double homicide

36%

Double suicide

40%

Homicide-Suicide

23%

The bodies were found hanging from rails, side-by-side, next to their indoor swimming pool.

Sources: Police
The bodies were found hanging next to their indoor swimming pool.
The bodies were found hanging next to their indoor swimming pool.
Double homicide

49%

Double suicide

25%

Homicide-Suicide

25%

Double homicide

49%

Double suicide

25%

Homicide-Suicide

25%

The Shermans' wrists showed evidence of having been tied together, but no rope was found at the scene.

Sources: A source with direct knowledge of the private investigation.
Double homicide

39%

Double suicide

31%

Homicide-Suicide

30%

Double homicide

39%

Double suicide

31%

Homicide-Suicide

30%

Honey Sherman had cuts on her lip and nose.
Sources: A source with direct knowledge of the private investigation.
Double homicide

38%

Double suicide

23%

Homicide-Suicide

38%

Double homicide

38%

Double suicide

23%

Homicide-Suicide

38%

Honey was found in a pool of her blood, but without much blood on her upper-body clothing.
Sources: A source with direct knowledge of the private investigation.
Double homicide

41%

Double suicide

26%

Homicide-Suicide

33%

Double homicide

41%

Double suicide

26%

Homicide-Suicide

33%

Honey Sherman was found in the same clothing she'd been wearing two days earlier.
Sources: A source with direct knowledge of the private investigation.
Double homicide

33%

Double suicide

33%

Homicide-Suicide

33%

Double homicide

33%

Double suicide

33%

Homicide-Suicide

33%

Personal Life (4 items)

The Shermans were wealthy philanthropists.
Sources: Agence France-Presse
Interior of their home
Interior of their home
www.thestar.com
Double homicide

52%

Double suicide

26%

Homicide-Suicide

22%

Double homicide

52%

Double suicide

26%

Homicide-Suicide

22%

The Shermans were married, with no publicly known issues or estrangement.
Sources: Fred Waks (close friend of the Shermans)
Double homicide

37%

Double suicide

44%

Homicide-Suicide

19%

Double homicide

37%

Double suicide

44%

Homicide-Suicide

19%

The Shermans were involved in legal disputes and their business dealings created some enemies and political controversy.
Sources: AFP, Fred Waks, friend of the Shermans
Double homicide

58%

Double suicide

13%

Homicide-Suicide

29%

Double homicide

58%

Double suicide

13%

Homicide-Suicide

29%

The Shermans kept an active lifestyle and had plans to spend time with family and friends.
Sources: Fred Waks, friend of the Shermans
Double homicide

34%

Double suicide

33%

Homicide-Suicide

34%

Double homicide

34%

Double suicide

33%

Homicide-Suicide

34%

Health (4 items)

Barry Sherman was 75 and Honey Sherman was 70.
Sources: Time Magazine
Double homicide

25%

Double suicide

41%

Homicide-Suicide

34%

Double homicide

25%

Double suicide

41%

Homicide-Suicide

34%

Barry Sherman wasn't physically strong or athletic.
Sources: Murray Rubin (family friend)
Double homicide

28%

Double suicide

45%

Homicide-Suicide

27%

Double homicide

28%

Double suicide

45%

Homicide-Suicide

27%

Barry Sherman overcame prostate cancer in 2007 and Honey Sherman had various medical ailments.
Sources: Senator Linda Frum (family friend)
Double homicide

18%

Double suicide

47%

Homicide-Suicide

35%

Double homicide

18%

Double suicide

47%

Homicide-Suicide

35%

There were no known prior attempts at suicide by either of the Shermans.
Sources: Family members
Double homicide

48%

Double suicide

21%

Homicide-Suicide

31%

Double homicide

48%

Double suicide

21%

Homicide-Suicide

31%

Storyline Assumptions
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Assumptions that derive from the evidence above are presented and evaluated here for each hypothesis.
Storyline assumptions:
Likelihood given hypothesis
(including preceding assumptions)

Discussion
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Sunny Pannu

Dec 25, 2017 at 11:49 PM

The cause of death was strangulation.

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Rootclaim

Dec 27, 2017 at 9:23 AM

Please explain why you think there's a 0% likelihood - meaning it's impossible for them to have been strangled under this hypothesis. Note that the justification and reduced likelihoods have been moved to the "assumption" section because the strangulation affects other pieces of evidence.

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Sunny Pannu

Dec 25, 2017 at 11:48 PM

There were no signs of a forced entry.

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Rootclaim

Dec 27, 2017 at 9:24 AM

Thanks for contributing! Could you explain the reasoning behind this likelihood value?

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Sunny Pannu

Dec 25, 2017 at 11:47 PM

The Shermans were involved in legal disputes and their business dealings created some enemies and political controversy.

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Rootclaim

Dec 27, 2017 at 9:24 AM

Thanks for the suggestion! Can you explain the reasoning behind this likelihood value?

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Sunny Pannu

Dec 25, 2017 at 11:47 PM

There were no known prior attempts at suicide by either of the Shermans.

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Rootclaim

Dec 27, 2017 at 9:33 AM

Thanks for your comment! Can you explain why there should be a 10% likelihood that they had previously attempted suicide, when less than 1% of people attempt suicide (https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/suicide-datasheet-a.pdf)?

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Sunny Pannu

Dec 25, 2017 at 11:46 PM

The Shermans were married, with no publicly known issues or estrangement.

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Rootclaim

Dec 27, 2017 at 10:01 AM

Thank for your suggestion! Before considering the likelihood of a happy marriage, we need to account for them being married in the first place.