Ex-boyfriend testifies B.C. woman accused of killing daughter was upset about not seeing her more
Warning: This story contains disturbing content
VANCOUVER -- At one point during the third day of testimony at the first-degree murder trial of Kerry Ann Lewis, the voice of her daughter, seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa, could be heard in the courtroom as the Crown played a video.
The child’s voice exclaimed “Grandma!” as she looked through contacts on an iPad with someone off-screen, who she called Momma. A woman’s voice then said, “I’m not even in your iPad,” and, “I’m not even set up as 'Mom' in your iPad.”
The video was played during testimony from Kim Stephany, who told the court he had been dating Lewis and moved in with her the month before Aaliyah’s death on July 22, 2018.
The Crown said they intend to prove Lewis sedated the little girl, then drowned her in the bathtub of a Langley apartment. The defence has not yet presented its case.
Stephany testified Lewis was “pretty upset” that she didn’t get to see her daughter more. The trial has heard Aaliyah’s father, Stephen Rosa, had custody and Lewis had two unsupervised visits a week, with no overnight stays.
On Monday, prosecutor Kristen LeNoble said Lewis also had scheduled FaceTime calls with Aaliyah every evening at 7 p.m., but she was “rarely, if ever, able to connect with Aaliyah for that call.”
Stephany said Lewis talked about her daughter “every day” and would cry.
“She gets upset when she doesn’t call her at a certain time,” Stephany said, and added that made her “frustrated and mad." He told the court Lewis wasn’t eating very much at one point, and he took her to the hospital, where she “collapsed” while waiting.
Stephany said Lewis became “more and more sad” throughout their relationship.
He also testified Lewis had invested money in a “gifting club” on his behalf.
The clubs have been described by police as pyramid schemes, where members are offered a chance to buy in and then have to recruit others, with the promise of getting more money back.
Stephany testified he returned home in the early morning hours of July 22 after attending a barbecue. He told the court Lewis appeared upset about something before he left.
Stephany testified when he returned home, Lewis got upset with him, and one point he heard his dog yelp while he was in the washroom. He said he came out and saw the animal “shaking." When he questioned Lewis about it, she said she didn’t do anything, but he decided to leave.
The Crown went through a number of messages exchanged between Lewis and Stephany, where Stephany informed her the relationship was over.
The trial has also heard testimony from two witnesses who said they returned to the apartment with Stephany that evening to help him collect his things.
One of the witnesses, Dwayne Harrison, told the court he was the one who found Aaliyah’s body on the floor on the ensuite bathroom, after observing Lewis acting “groggy” and “out of it," and overhearing a phone call from RCMP asking about a child.
Harrison also told the court Lewis had spoken to him, saying she was stressed and hadn’t slept, and was going through a divorce. However, in cross examination, defence lawyer Marilyn Sandford pointed out the only thing Harrison told police Lewis said was, "No, I’m good,” when asked if she needed help.
Sandford: "I suggest to you, sir, that that is indeed what she said: 'No, I’m good.' And these other details were not said ... you agree with me, don’t you sir?"
Sandford: "You can’t be 100 per cent confident, can you, sir? When you said the opposite?"
Harrison: "At the time of my statement, was one hour after I witnessed one of the most horrific things I’d ever seen in my life. I was in disbelief. I was in shock."
The court also heard from Shazia Rai, who testified she went to the apartment with Stephany that night as well, and noticed he wasn’t able to open the front door right away, though he eventually pushed it and was able to squeeze through. Harrison had given similar testimony.
In their opening statement, the Crown said boxes and furniture were used to block the door.
The prosecution told the court Aaliyah had been picked up by Lewis for one of her two weekly visits on the morning of her death. The Crown said Lewis purchased sleeping pills, candy, and a bottle of blue Powerade at a drug store that morning, along with an emergency refill of Ativan, and also bought vodka at a liquor store.
LeNoble said when Aaliyah was not returned to her father at 5 p.m., he returned to their appointed meeting place at the Langley Events Centre again at 7 p.m., and then called police to report his daughter had not been returned as scheduled and he was afraid for her safety.
“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.
Stephany’s testimony will continue next week.