'Evil' Canadian jailed for life in gay village killings

Leroy Wright
February 9, 2019

February 8, 2019 - Sixty-seven-year-old McArthur is sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

That waiting period would have left McArthur ineligible for parole until the age of 116, beyond his expected natural lifespan.

Some of McArthur's eight victims-Skandaraj (Skanda) Navaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick, Majeed Kayhan, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Kirushnakumar Kanagaratnam and Abdulbasir Faizi-were of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent.

He had pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder for the brutal killings of eight men - some of them close friends.

Yet a monster who stalked Toronto's gay village and preyed on eight of its most vulnerable gets a lighter sentence?

December 8, 2017 - Police Chief Mark Saunders says the force will review its practices in missing persons investigations.

At a two-day sentencing hearing, loved ones of McArthur's victims spoke about the devastation, anger and struggles they experienced as a result of his crimes.

Some victims' remains were found in the planters of homes where McArthur did landscaping contracting.

"(McArthur) also exploited others in the belief that he was their friend ... they placed their trust in him which he manipulated and used to his advantage.

The prosecution had asked for a minimum 50-year prison term.

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"The ability to decapitate and dismember his victims and do it repeatedly is pure evil", McMahon said. Two of Kinsman's sisters would occasionally nod in agreement when McMahon would describe the depraved nature of McArthur's actions, and shake their heads at some of the graphic details of his crimes, particularly those about their brother.

"If he were to be paroled I think we would have to start questioning sentencing in this country". She said she had "lost any motivation for life" and that she didn't want to live in a world "which became so terribly cruel".

The sentence brings to an end the protracted effort to find and punish the killer in Toronto's gay village, dating back to the creation in late 2012 of a task force to probe the disappearances of Navaratnam, Faizi and Kayhan.

A number of investigations have been launched in the wake of the case, including a disciplinary case of an officer involved in an incident involving McArthur and an internal review into how missing persons cases are handled.

An entry in Kinsman's calendar indicated who he had planned to meet that afternoon: "Bruce".

Speaking at a news conference on Friday afternoon, Police Chief Mark Saunders said he supports the decision made by the judge. "I remember seeing Bruce McArthur sitting outside Starbucks".

He said the evidence came together on January 17, 2018, and that officers acted and arrested McArthur the very next day.

McArthur, who admitted the killings last month, sat quietly in court, hunched over, hands folded in his lap, as a row of police detectives - who have described the investigation as Toronto's largest ever - watched from directly behind.

It's hard to know what a parole board will hand a 92-year-old McArthur in 2045.

Jooyoung Lee, a sociologist and an expert on serial homicide cases, said the fact that McArthur's victims belonged to marginalised groups may have helped him evade police for years. "That doesn't mean he's going to be free".

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