'I wanted to die': Father accused of murdering daughters testifies he was attacked at home
Published Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:34AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 22, 2019 7:11PM PDT
Warning: This story contains graphic content
The jury at Andrew Berry’s second-degree murder trial has now heard his testimony about the day his two little girls were found dead in his Victoria apartment.
Berry, who has pleaded not guilty in the girls' deaths, told the court he was attacked in his bedroom after returning from sledding with six year-old Chloe and four year-old Aubrey.
The young siblings were found dead in their beds at their father’s apartment on Christmas Day 2017. A pathologist testified both had been stabbed multiple times, and Chloe had also suffered blunt force trauma to the head. The Crown’s theory is that the children were killed Christmas morning.
Berry testified he and the girls woke up on Dec. 25th, after a late night of playing outside the night before. He told the jury they opened presents, and ate a little oatmeal. Berry testified he used a power outlet in the hallway to boil the water, as the power had been cut off to his apartment for weeks.
Then Berry told the court he and the girls walked to a local golf course to go sledding, a trek which took about an hour. Berry testified they spent an hour there and then walked back home for lunch at noon, the time the girls were supposed to be returned to their mother Sarah Cotton as scheduled. When asked by defence lawyer Kevin McCullough why he didn’t return the girls then, Berry replied they were so excited to keep tobogganing. He told the court he made himself a coffee.
McCullough: “Did they eat anything?”
McCullough: “Why not?”
Berry: “They didn’t want anything.”
Berry testified he didn’t bring his phone with him when they went out to the golf course. He told the court they returned again between 3 and 3:30 in the afternoon, describing the girls as "happy."
Berry told the jury they got out of their wet clothes, and the girls were in their pajamas. Berry testified they were going to get ready to go to their mother.
Berry testified he entered his bedroom and was stabbed in the throat, by an attacker he later described as about his height, with dark skin and hair. He told the jury he lost consciousness.
“The next thing I know when I come to is, I don’t know what to think,” Berry said.
He told the court he eventually made his way to Chloe’s bedside.
“I reach up and touch Chloe, and she’s dead, and there’s blood everywhere,” Berry said, beginning to sob.
Berry testified he went looking for Aubrey and grabbed a knife in the kitchen, before being thrown down and stabbed again. He told the court his next memory is waking up in the bathtub, with a light shining in his face and hearing “police, police."
“I know I didn’t put myself there, but that’s where I ended up,” Berry said.
He testified he also heard someone say, “This is the guy who killed his kids.”
When asked about previous testimony that he had said “kill me” to first responders and later to his sister in hospital, Berry said he had no memory of that.
Berry testified after being taken to hospital, he was told he was being detained under the mental health act.
Berry: “I wanted to die.”
Berry: “There was nothing left. The girls were dead. And I was chained to a bed. And I just wanted to die.”
When asked by his lawyer about his time in hospital and how he felt he was being treated, Berry responded at one point: “Everybody thought I killed the girls. Everybody. There wasn’t a soul who didn’t.”
Berry has previously testified about his gambling habit, and how he spent tens of thousands of dollars on sports betting and at River Rock Casino. He told the court he ended up owing $25,000 to a loan shark named Paul, and when he couldn’t repay him right away, was asked on two separate occasions to store bags in his apartment. Berry told the jury he assumed the bags contained drugs. Berry testified he also handed over a spare set of house keys at Paul’s request. He said he did not know Paul’s last name.
In their opening statement, the Crown said Berry had animosity towards the girls' mother, with whom he shared custody, and was in a “negative financial position." Cotton has been watching Berry’s testimony from a courthouse in Victoria, where the trial is being streamed live.
Berry’s testimony is set to continue Friday.