One Night, Three Murders

(Last Updated On: May 7, 2018)

When Ottawa police stopped a vehicle for running an amber light, they had no idea they would arrest a triple-homicide suspect.

Twenty-six-year-old Joseph Norbert Perceval Courville handed over ownership papers when requested. When Courville could not account for having the car of another man, nor for the stereo and other items in the car, police became suspicious. The car was registered to Darryl (or Daryle) Lyle Turner of 18 Virginia Avenue, Toronto. After he was taken in to custody, Ottawa police asked Toronto police to contact the car owner. The second man was questioned and released.

When police arrived at Turner’s home on May 4, 1982, there was no answer. Police forced the door open and found the bodies of Turner, 45, Joseph Eli Isaac, 44 and Charles Roy Tanti, 27. The house had been ransacked. Isaac was found in the bedroom, and Turner and Tanti were found in the basement of the house. All men were partially clothed. It is believed they died some time on May 3.

“Faggots, they help you if you ask them”

Police said only Turner was gay, and that the other men were not, but rented rooms from him. Turner had rented the house since 1970.

Turner worked as a TV rental agent for Sterisystems Ltd., which rented to Sunnybrook and Toronto East General Hospitals. He would have celebrated his birthday on the day police found his body. Tanti was unemployed and on medical disability pension due to a severe brain injury. Isaac was a general laborer at an area landfill.

Neighbours reported that the men were nighthawks and that people often arrived in the early morning hours. “There were always cabs pulling up at all hours of the morning and different people getting out. I thought they were bootlegging or dealing in dope, or something,” said neighbour Joseph Gulyas. Another neighbour descried how she would often exchange gardening tips over the back fence, and that any parties they had were quiet. Although the same men had lived there for many years, “lately there were many different men coming and going,” the neighbour said, after a new man moved into the house.

Another neighbour said the men often entertained male friends on a regular basis. “There were so many guys in and out of there it was hard to keep track of them,” the neighbour told media. However, the men were generally considered polite, well-dressed and friendly .

Courville met Turner at a bar and went home with him in the hopes of getting money. “Faggots, they help you if you ask them,” he said. Courville said he hated gay men and got angry when Turner made a pass at him. “Everything went crazy,” he said.

“I’m a murderer!”

Courville attacked Turner and tied him up, then tied up Tanti, by tying their ankles and wrists to their necks, causing the bonds to tighten around their necks as they struggled to get free. When Isaac tried to intervene, he was stabbed nine times in the chest. Tanti and Turner died of suffocation, although Tanti had marks on his neck that indicated he was also strangled.

After his arrest, Courville admitted he did not even know the men’s names, and said “I’m a loony.” When placed in the back of a police cruiser, Courville spontaneously confessed, shouting, “I’m a murderer!”

Courville pleaded guilty to murdering all three men and was sentenced to life in prison.

On September 17, 1982, Chief Justice Gregory Evans ordered that Courville serve a minimum of 15 years before being eligible for parole. Justice Evans said the murders were “totally unnecessary and completely senseless,” adding Courville “could have handled” the situation without killing anyone. Justice Evans said that while it was not the worst case Ontario courts had seen, “it was certainly getting up in that range.”

Murder Village Map


Vital Statistics

Name: Darryl (or Daryle) Lyle Turner
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Date of Death: May 3, 1982
Manner of Death: Suffocation by strangulation
Location: 18 Virginia Avenue
Suspect Name: Joseph Norbert Perceval Courville
Conviction & Sentence: Life sentence, no parole for 15 years

About the author

Lee Scoboni

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