IHIT officers on scene at the Langley Township apartment building where the body of Aaliyah Rosa was found in July, 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)

IHIT officers on scene at the Langley Township apartment building where the body of Aaliyah Rosa was found in July, 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)

Father recounts overdoses of ex-wife accused of killing their daughter

Stephen Rosa testified in the murder trial of KerryAnn Lewis

WARNING: This story contains disturbing content

The ex-husband of a woman accused of murdering their child concluded his testimony Monday morning in a New Westminster courtroom.

Stephen Rosa was cross examined by the lawyer defending his ex-wife, KerryAnn Lewis. Lewis has been charged with first degree murder in the 2018 death of seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa. She has pleaded not guilty.

The court has already heard from multiple witnesses that Lewis was, by the summer of 2018, upset about the lack of time she got to spend with her daughter.

Rosa had primary custody, and Lewis saw Aaliyah between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sundays, and on Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 7 p.m.

But Sandford pointed out that things were not always acrimonious between the separated couple.

Lewis’s lawyer, Marilyn Sandford, showed the court a video of a civil conversation Rosa and Lewis had via Facetime in 2017, and asked if there were times when things were relatively good between the divorcing couple.

Rosa agreed there were times where they communicated relatively well and other times when issues would arise.

By later in 2018, however, Sandford suggested that communication between the two was now limited to a few phone calls.

Sandford asked if Lewis’s mood was poor by the summer of 2018.

“I’m not a doctor, and I had very limited time seeing her,” Rosa said.

READ MORE: Father recounts calling police when daughter went missing at Langley murder trial

Sandford also asked Rosa about a number of times Lewis was hospitalized between 2010 and their separation in 2016, each time because Lewis had apparently deliberately overdose on prescription medication and alcohol.

The first incident happened when Lewis was pregnant with Aaliyah, and Lewis had gone to take a bath.

“You found her in the bathroom?” said Sandford.

“Correct.”

Lewis was taken to the hospital for 24 hours.

“Was this your first appreciation that Ms. Lewis suffered from serious mental health difficulties?” Sandford asked.

Rosa confirmed it was.

There were multiple similar incidents between 2010 and 2016 in which Lewis would overdose and be hospitalized, often for weeks.

In late 2014, Rosa said he got a call from his mother while he was at work. His mother had been called on Facetime by Aaliyah, “saying she couldn’t wake up mommy.”

Each incident involved a crisis, suicidal thoughts by Lewis, and finally an overdose. Rosa said he did not believe Lewis was trying to kill herself, however.

“To me it was a reach for help. Or a reach for attention,” he said.

In testimony last Friday, Nov. 13, pathologist Dr. Lisa Steele testified that Aaliyah Rosa died of an acute lack of oxygen.

Steele testified for most of the day about her examination of Aaliyah’s body, which took place on July 27, 2018, five days after the body of the seven-year-old girl was found in Lewis’s Langley apartment.

The Crown said at the outset of the trial that they planned to show that Lewis sedated Aaliyah before drowning her in the apartment bathtub. Lewis has been charged with first degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.

Steele testified that the child’s death was likely not due to strangulation, as there were no marks or signs associated with that kind of attack.

The court has heard testimony since the trial began in October from multiple witnesses, including police investigators, the people who discovered Aaliyah’s body, and former friends of Lewis.

The trial is scheduled to continue through this week, with further testimony to be held in December.

CourtIHITLangleymurder

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Swoop Airlines. (Contributed)
COVID-19 case reported on Abbotsford-bound flight last week

Affected flight landed in Abbotsford on Nov. 16

The Abbotsford Pilots and all other junior teams in B.C. have been paused from competition after new restrictions put in place to battle the spread of COVID-19.
Abbotsford Pilots, PJHL grounded after new restrictions

Games won’t played until after Dec. 7 at the earliest, minor hockey limited to local competition

Last year’s Realtors Care Blanket Drive collected 192 bags of warm clothing and blankets for the Abbotsford-Mission area. The 2020 version is collecting only cash donations. (File photo)
Annual Realtors Care Blanket Drive adapts to pandemic

Campaign across the Fraser Valley asks only for cash donations in 2020

Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown on Sunday. (Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers)
Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool scores 10th touchdown

First wide receiver since 1960 to record 10 touchdowns in 10 games, Steelers still unbeaten

Former BC Lion Angus Reid was the keynote speaker at the 10th annual National Philanthropy Day lunch in Abbotsford on Nov. 16.
Three awards presented at National Philanthropy Day lunch

Event in Abbotsford honours those who have made a difference

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

Most Read