Cold Case Resolved

C
(Last Updated On: February 3, 2018)

After going out for drinks to Boots, a gay bar, and then dancing at the Stages disco, Graham Hugh Pearce, 36, and a friend headed up Yonge St. to Wellesley St. where, at about 3:30am on March 20, 1983, they parted company. Pearce headed west along Wellesley toward his 1973 Plymouth.

His body would be discovered in his apartment at 35 High Park Avenue by his roommate shortly before noon that day beaten and stabbed to death. His body was found in the bathroom. Pearce taught at a Mississauga elementary school which planted a tree in his memory.

Police began talking to street hustlers and homeless men in the area, and squad officer Sgt. Brian Raybould said a number of men were under investigation.

Media did not originally indicate that Pearce was gay, doing so only after another man, Donald Weir, was stabbed to death within a few weeks. Sgt. Raybould said “We never reported this as a homosexual killing… One of these days we’ll have one that isn’t. There’s a Charter of Rights in this country now.”

The case would go cold for more than 30 years, until family urged police to look again with newer procedures and technology for evidence and fingerprints.

“We don’t mention anyone’s lifestyle but there’s no harm in mentioning the bars the deceased went to,” said Staff-Sgt. Don Sangster. Police reported the Gay Village community had been coming forward with tips.

Gay activist George Hislop told media that attacks on gay men were spreading and that the murders are “often committed by prostitutes” who want more money from the wealthier gay men.

The case would go cold for more than 30 years, until family urged police to look again with newer procedures and technology for evidence and fingerprints.

On April 16, 2016, police sent out a media release asking friends or associates of Pearce to contact them. During their investigation, police had identified Ronald Thomas Gale, 22, as a Person of Interest, but only after his death in 2001. Gale was also “a member of the gay community,” was known to police and had his fingerprints on file.

On January 16, 2017, police declared Pearce’s murder “resolved.”

“A forensic re-examination of the evidence in 2014, and subsequent investigation into the background and history of [Gale] had led us to this conclusion,” said Det. Sgt. Stacy Gallant. Gallant explained that murder cases are not closed unless there is a verdict, but the Pearce case “is no longer being investigated because we believe the person responsible for the murder is deceased.” Gale was not suspected in any other murders.


Murder Village Map

 


Vital Statistics

Name: Graham Hugh Pearce
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Date of Death: March 20, 1983
Manner of Death: Beaten and stabbed
Location: 35 High Park
Suspect Name: Ronald Thomas Gale
Conviction & Sentence: died before arrest

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Sawyer Cowley

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