A Canadian man has been found guilty of stabbing his two young daughters to death on Christmas Day 2017 despite his claims that the girls were killed by a person connected to loan shark he owed money to.
Andrew Berry, of Vancouver Island, was convicted of two counts of second-degree murder on Thursday, after a jury deliberated for three days, Canadian outlet Global News reports.
Berry reportedly hung his head, stared at the courtroom floor and said nothing as the verdict was read. The girls’ mother cried with relief and several gasps were audible as the father was convicted of killing his two daughters Chloe, 6, and Aubrey, 4, the Times Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia reports.
The two small, blonde girls were found dead in separate bedrooms in Berry’s apartment on Dec. 25, 2017. Berry stabbed the girls a total of 50 times; he also used a baseball bat to kill Chloe, the Global News reported.
The girls’ bodies were found during a welfare check and Berry was found nude in his bathtub with stab wounds. He alternately told first responders to kill him and leave him alone when they arrived, the Canadian Press reported.
The father maintained his innocence and claimed that he and his family were attacked by someone else, the CBC reports. Berry testified during his trial that a man with dark skin and dark hair came into the apartment and killed his girls before stabbing him. He said the unidentified man had connections to a loan shark named Paul, whom Berry said he owed gambling money to. Berry said he stored packages for the loan shark in his apartment and he gave him a spare set of keys so that Paul’s associates could come into Berry’s house to retrieve them.
Crown attorney (the equivalent of a prosecutor in the U.S.) Patrick Weir told the jury that Berry's account was "like the plot from a bad, low-budget movie.”
Berry, the Crown said, was in financial trouble at the time of the stabbings and had lost so much money from gambling that he often didn’t even have power at his home, Global News reports.
Despite the gambling debt, Weir pointed to Berry's anger at his estranged wife Sarah Cotton as a motive for the killings.
"Like everything in his life, he wouldn't accept his responsibility," Weir told the jury. "There was no Paul […] no dark-skinned child murderer"
Cotton told CTV News Vancouver Island that she was relieved that her estranged husband was found guilty of their daughter's deaths.
Berry is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 9.
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