Warning: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing.
Day one of Andrew Berry’s sentencing hearing, which will determine how long the convicted killer will wait before he’s eligible for parole, has been adjourned.
Andrew Berry was convicted by a jury in September of second-degree murder in the deaths of four-year-old Aubrey Berry and six-year-old Chloe Berry on Christmas day two years ago.
The girls were found dead by police in Berry’s Beach Drive apartment after Berry failed to return his daughters at noon on Christmas Day to their mother Sarah Cotton as required by a court order.
Berry pleaded not guilty to the two counts of second-degree murder.
His lawyer told court Monday that Berry still maintains he did not kill the children but Crown counsel Clare Jennings said the jury believed he fabricated his testimony that he was attacked by an unknown man who then murdered the girls.
Justice Miriam Gropper has found “beyond a reasonable doubt” that all facts presented by the Crown Monday are true. Aggravating factors in the case will impact sentencing for Andrew Berry.
Justice Gropper rejected Berry’s testimony a “dark-skinned man stabbed and killed both girls. She said his testimony wasn’t believable and it “defies logic” a loan shark would have killed the girls and left Berry alive and that no one would have heard that happening.
Gropper also said the age of the victims, four and six years old, and the fact Berry was their father are aggravating factors.
Gropper told court it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt the girls were killed Christmas morning. Berry had tried to claim they went tobogganing that day. Gropper said it’s also been proven beyond a reasonable doubt Chloe and Aubrey were murdered over a period of time, stabbing them 26 and 32 times respectively, which will impact sentencing.
Gropper has said it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt Berry killed the girls, in part, to hurt their mother, Sarah Cotton.
Gropper said it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt Berry’s plan was to kill himself so his parents and sister would blame themselves for his suicide, and Berry’s motivation for the murders was due to his animosity towards Sarah Cotton, the girls’ mother.
— Tess van Straaten (@tessvanstraaten) December 17, 2019
A victim impact statement from the children’s mother, Sarah Cotton, is expected to be read in court tomorrow.
Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence, but parole eligibility ranges from 10 to 25 years. Gropper will also decide whether the sentences will be served consecutively or concurrently.
With files from The Canadian Press