Canadian serial killer sentenced to life for murdering eight

Blanche Robertson
February 11, 2019

First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no parole for 25 years, but a court can decide to impose consecutive periods of parole ineligibiliy for several convictions.

This means that he will be first eligible for parole at age 91.

The week-long sentencing hearing followed McArthur pleading guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder.

The Crown had sought a life sentence with no chance of parole for 50 years, while the defence had asked that McArthur be eligible for parole in 25 years.

On Friday morning, Justice John McMahon handed the 67-year-old a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

"We believe that the Toronto Police Service failed to provide adequate resources and effort in their investigations of the disappearances of Skanda Navaratnam (2010), Abdulbasir Faizi (2010), Majeed Kayhan (2012), and Selim Esen (2017)", the Alliance wrote in November of 2018.

Parts of the eight men's bodies were later found in decorative planters at a home where McArthur worked as a landscaper.

Numerous victims, although not all, were from the Gay Village, a neighborhood in Toronto known for its predominantly gay population.

Justice John McMahon sentenced McArthur to life in prison for each of the eight counts.

McArthur had some sort of relationship - some of which were sexual - with each of his victims, Toronto Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray said past year.

McArthur's string of murders has prompted an inquiry by a retired judge into how the Toronto police handle missing persons cases and whether their investigations are influenced by the sexuality or race of those who have vanished.

He said criminologists used the term "missing white woman syndrome" to highlight how some victims are seen as more newsworthy and higher priority than others.

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Most of his victims were homeless, recent immigrants, or people of Middle Eastern or South Asian decent.

"Hopefully, one thing that comes out of this is better lines of communication between the police and marginalised communities across the city", he added.

Toronto police and the trial did not reveal a motive.

It was not until McArthur killed Andrew Kinsman, a man well-known in the community, that police were able to hone in on a suspect.

Bernard Weil/Getty ImagesThe Metropolitan Community Church held a candlelight prayer vigil for the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur Feb. 4, 2018.

Authorities also located a calendar belonging to Kinsman which had the entry "Bruce" on the day in June 2017 that he went missing.

McArthur posed their bodies for photographs, with numerous pictures featuring the same fur coat. Police later found a folder on McArthur's computer labelled with the man's name that contained images of him. He was found bound to a bed with a bag over his head but otherwise unharmed.

Many said they had long grappled with the disappearance of a son, father, brother or friend only to learn a year ago that their loved one had been killed.

Criminal experts say it is unusual for someone to become a serial killer later in life, but the prosecution said there is no evidence of earlier murders. He was last seen in Toronto's gay village.

But then he said "two factors unique to this case" prevented him from doing so.

On Monday, prosecutor Michael Cantlon warned those in the courtroom that disturbing details of the crimes would be discussed, and those in attendance should "think carefully about your need to be here".

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