Grade 8 teacher Peter Lawrence Ager was 1985’s fifty-firth homicide of the year. He was killed December 14, 1985, and found a few days later after a neighbour noticed newspapers piling up in the apartment building hallway, and notified police.
Ager, 31, was last seen attending a party at the Westbury Hotel and may have arrived home to his Carlton St. apartment at 2 a.m. on the Saturday. Ager was stabbed in the left lung after struggling with someone in the apartment. Money was missing.
Police suggested that the man who was with Ager on Saturday morning was a “key witness” who could give them information on Ager’s actions on Friday night. Sgt. Neil Tweedy said the killer might be someone who “preyed on homosexuals.”
He remains a real hazard to the community in general and particularly to anyone immediately around him who might frustrate his needs.
Ager taught at the St. Luke’s Catholic School and was highly regarded as a teacher, and well-liked by his neighbours. He was “active in Toronto’s homosexual community.” A large ad was taken in the Toronto Star out on behalf of “Friends and Former Students of Peter Ager”. They were “hurt and angry over the subsequent sensational Toronto Sun coverage of his death.” The ad included a letter from a former Grade 9 student who said “Ager was like ‘The Mister Cool’ from our school… What they say about his homosexuality being open to the community was not true. We did not know… It doesn’t matter. It won’t change who he was. We still love him and will always love him. A piece of each of our lives is now missing, and will never be replaced.” Bonnie Broder, a teacher at the school, had raised the more than $1,000 for the advertisement.
The Toronto Sun, in response to a letter from Broder complaining about their coverage, said, “And the fact remains that he died because he was a homosexual,” although at that time police did not have a motive. A complaint was laid with the Ontario Press Council.
17-year-old Brian Joseph Chakasim, who originally could not be named under the Young Offender’s Act but who was eventually tried as an adult, turned himself in a month after the murder and was charged with first-degree murder. Media noted this was the fourth gay teacher to be murdered in two years.
The court acknowledged that it was not known if Chakasim and Ager had sexual relations, but it was known that Ager was asleep while Chakasim was awake watching television and playing with a knife.
Chakasim and Ager had met a few weeks previously and had begun to socialize together.
The court acknowledged that it was not known if Chakasim and Ager had sexual relations, but it was known that Ager was asleep while Chakasim was awake watching television and playing with a knife. Ager was asleep in only a t-shirt. Chakasim went into the bedroom, stabbed the bed several times and then stabbed Ager in the back and arm. He stayed in the room for some time after the murder.
During the trial in late June, 1987, the man was described as “having a personality disorder”. He had carved a cross and 666 into a bedroom dresser. It was noted that as a child, Chakasim would jump in front of cars, and had a criminal history including theft, assault and arson.
Chakasim was 18 when he pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. A psychiatric report said he “remains a real hazard to the community in general and particularly to anyone immediately around him who might frustrate his needs.”
Murder Village Map
Name: Peter Lawrence Ager
Date of Death: December 14, 1985
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: Carlton St.
Suspect Name: Brian Joseph Chakasim
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 15 years