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

School District 42’s Energy Cup runs from April 6 to 30. (SD 42 photo)
Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows students take on month-long energy conservation challenge

Sixth annual Energy Cup sees district’s elementary schools compete against one another

A ambulance drives past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
9 Lower Mainland hospitals to postpone non-urgent surgeries as hospitalizations surge

Record number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across B.C.

Ethan Andrews (left) and his aunt Shihana Wewala were two of the volunteers planting trees with Pitt Meadows parks workers in Bonson Park. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Pitt Meadows families plant trees for Earth Day

Popular city event sees beautification of Bonson Park

Stu Burgess is operations manager for Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks. (The News files)
Golden Ears park camping to be limited to those in local health region

Fraser Health Authority and Vancouver Coastal Health now considered one region

Police respond to a reported stabbbing near Fletcher Park in Maple Ridge on Wednesday afternoon. (Ronan O’Doherty/The News)
UPDATE: Stabbing reported in downtown Maple Ridge

Police and ambulance respond to home invasion near Fletcher Park

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

So far, 15 gang-related killings have occurred across Metro Vancouver in 2021. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Police report 15 gang-linked killings in Metro Vancouver in 2021 as tensions escalate

The situation has flared up again, as tensions dating back to 2008 between the UN gang and rivals including the Red Scorpions, Independent Soldiers and the Wolf Pack escalate

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

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. sees 1,006 COVID-19 cases Thursday, ‘alarming’ 502 in hospital

Vaccine bookings for people aged 60 and older set to start

Sgt. Frank Jang of IHIT spoke Thursday morning at the press conference about three recent gangland murders, including the killing of UN Gang member Todd Gouwenberg at the Langley Sportsplex on April 21. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Langley man gunned down at Sportsplex was long-time gang member

Todd Gouwenberg was affiliated with the UN Gang, police said

Most Read