WARNING: This story contains disturbing content
All the evidence points to murder via drugging and drowning in the death of Langley’s seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa, Crown prosecutors argued in their final statements before Justice Martha Devlin on Monday, June 21.
Aaliyah’s body was discovered on July 22, 2018 in her mother’s Langley apartment building, lying on the bathroom floor next to a partially filled bathtub.
Her mother, KerryAnn Lewis, is charged with first degree murder in Aaliyah’s death.
“The autopsy revealed water in her sphenoid sinus and stomach, and froth in her lungs,” noted Crown prosecutor Christopher McPherson
McPherson went through the sequence of events leading up to the discovery of Aaliyah’s death, reconstructed from witness testimony, video surveillance, and text messages, arguing that the evidence points towards murder.
He outlined the evidence showing what he said was a plan by Lewis to kill her daughter, and the mental state that led to that moment.
Lewis’s state of mind had been “deteriorating” in the weeks leading up to Aaliyah’s death, the Crown has argued, with financial issues, depression and, the night before Aaliyah’s death, Lewis’s breakup with her boyfriend.
McPherson then went through the day of the killing, starting with Lewis picking up Aaliyah at 10 a.m. from her ex-husband, Stephen Rosa, who had primary custody. Lewis then drove straight to a Shoppers Drug Mart where she purchased Sleep-Eze caplets and filled an emergency prescription for a single dose of Ativan. Both medications would be found in Aaliyah’s body by toxicology tests.
By 11:38 a.m. that day, Lewis and Aaliyah had returned to Lewis’s apartment. There would be no communication by anyone with Lewis until her ex-boyfriend arrived that evening to collect his possessions, with two friends. After they forced their way past a partially-barricaded apartment door, one of his friends, an off-duty police officer, would discover Aaliyah’s body.
The defence’s theory that Aaliyah died of a bump on the head combined with a medical condition, rather than murder via drowning, is “speculative at best and not supported by an examination of the entirety of the evidence,” the Crown argued.
“The suggestion that Aaliyah might have died solely from a minor, accidental head injury is fanciful and does not accord with common sense, reason or the evidence in this case,” the Crown’s closing submission said.
There was no evidence that Aaliyah accidentally consumed two different drugs and then adrowned herself in the bathtub. Rather, the evidence shows that Lewis sedated Aaliyah with drugs bought earlier that day and then forcibly submerged the girl in the bathtub, the Crown’s submission argued.
“These things were done to her,” said the submission. “Any person, no matter how drunk, who does these things to a seven-year-old child intends to cause that child’s death.”
Lewis’s defence lawyer, Marilyn Sandford, was set to give her arguments following the conclusion of the Crown’s case. The trial was scheduled to resume on Wednesday, June 23.
Justice Devlin will deliver her verdict at some time in the near future.
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