911 call played at trial of Langley woman accused of killing 7-year-old daughter
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. -- Warning: Disturbing content.
The 911 call only lasted a few minutes, but relayed a tragic message during the first-degree murder trial of Kerry Ann Lewis of Langley, accused of killing her seven-year-old daughter in 2018.
The audio was played during the testimony of Dwayne Harrison, who told the court he found the little girl's body in the ensuite bathroom of a Langley apartment on July 22 of that year.
Harrison testified he was a friend of Lewis's ex-boyfriend, who the Crown said broke up with her the morning of Aaliyah Rosa's death, following an argument.
Harrison told the court he went with Lewis's ex and another friend to the apartment that evening to help collect her former partner's things.
Harrison told the court when his friend tried to enter the front door, it wouldn't open. Harrison testified his friend "basically shouldered the door a couple times just to open it wide enough for him to squeeze through."
In its opening statement, the Crown said the front door was blocked with boxes and furniture. Harrison testified there were boxes inside "as they had just moved in." He also told the court it was hot and dark inside the suite.
Harrison said he heard Lewis's ex talking to her through the door of the master bedroom for a while, asking to be let in, as he wanted to retrieve personal documents from a safe. When he finally saw Lewis, Harrison testified, she appeared groggy and "out of it."
"When I spoke to her, she said that she is stressed out, she hadn't slept in a long time, she'd been going through a divorce," Harrison said, and added he noticed bags under her eyes. "She was speaking with a lisp, similar to when you go to the dentist and you have your mouth frozen and you just can't speak correctly."
Harrison, who told the court he is a police officer based in Alberta, said he told his friend they needed to call for help for Lewis.
He also testified a cellphone was ringing over and over again. He told the court at one point he heard his friend say it was the RCMP.
"I heard the person on the phone say, 'Can I speak to one of the males in the apartment? We just want to make sure that your child is OK,'" Harrison said.
Harrison testified that was when he looked in the bathroom and saw a child lying on the floor in a pink bathrobe. He told the court the bathrobe looked damp, and said he felt for her pulse but found none.
Harrison testified he can be heard in the recording of the 911 call, at one point saying, "The child is dead."
Then what sounded like yelling could be heard, as well as unintelligible noises in the background.
Harrison told the court he saw Lewis running toward the bathroom and left the call to stop her. He testified he moved Aaliyah's body into the living room, and after first responders arrived, he found Lewis face down in water in the bathtub.
Harrison said he later saw her being taken out on a stretcher.
At other times during the call, the 911 call-taker could be heard advising the phone's reception was cutting out.
The Crown said it intends to prove Lewis sedated and then drowned her daughter. The defence has not yet presented its case.
The trial also heard testimony from Const. Mike Lim, an officer with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, who told the court he took part in searching the apartment and seizing various items.
The Crown walked him through a number of photos taken in the unit. There were multiple images of prescription medication bottles containing various drugs, along with photos of an empty vodka bottle in the recycling bin, and a bottle of whiskey on the kitchen island that Const. Lim testified appeared less than half full.
There was also an image which showed a bottle of blue liquid, which prosecutor Christopher McPherson described as "partially empty." Const. Lim testified the bottle was not seized as part of the investigation.
On Monday, the Crown said Lewis purchased a bottle of blue Powerade at a Shoppers Drug Mart she visited with Aaliyah after picking her up from her father for one of two scheduled weekly visits on July 22.
The Crown told the court she also bought an over the counter box of sleeping pills and candy, and refilled a prescription for an emergency supply of Ativan, a drug used for conditions including anxiety disorders, trouble sleeping and seizures.
The prosecution said she also attended a liquor store and bought a bottle of vodka.
Lim told the court he did not recall finding sleeping pills or any packaging related to sleeping pills, but said if he had found a receipt for such a drug dated July 22, 2018, he would have seized it.
During cross-examination, Lim agreed with defence lawyer Marilyn Sandford when she asked whether he was focussed on prescription medication in his search of the apartment. He also said he did not do an inventory of all alcohol bottles that might have been present, but just concentrated on liquor that was recently purchased.
At the start of the trial, prosecutor Kristen LeNoble said Lewis and Aaliyah's father Stephen Rosa had been separated since 2016. The court heard Rosa had custody of the girl.
"Your ladyship will hear that custody and access of Aaliyah, the only child of Ms. Lewis and Mr. Rosa, was particularly contentious, and that the accused was frustrated that her visits with Aaliyah were limited to twice a week with no overnights," LeNoble said to the judge Monday.
"The evidence will also show that since 2010, Ms. Lewis has been admitted to hospital on several occasions as the result of apparent suicide attempts through overdoses of prescription medication."
LeNoble said when Aaliyah was expected to be returned to her father at 5 p.m. on July 22. She and Lewis did not arrive, and Rosa returned to the appointed meeting place at the Langley Events Centre again at 7 p.m. When his daughter was still not there, he called police to report she had not been returned as scheduled and he was afraid for her safety.
Lewis was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in August 2018. That charge was later upgraded in early 2019.
The Crown is expecting to call a number of witnesses, including Rosa, over the next few weeks.