Just before midnight on July 30, 1993, a trail of blood led tenants of an 80 Charles St. East apartment building to the viciously beaten body of Norman Bernard Rasky, 62, a retired dentist. He had been shoved into a basement locker. Residents followed the blood trail from the lobby of one building to the underground locker room of another, adjoining building. He was strangled, bludgeoned and stabbed more than 30 times.
Rasky was previously married, and had three daughters. Rasky was originally listed in the media coverage as being homeless.
Police did not originally suspect robbery, but in less than a week, they had identified suspects. On August 3, police issued warrants for “two men, both white [who] are armed and considered dangerous.”
“Donald Hebert they knew couldn’t be the same man police say went on a rampage of robbery and murder.”
Terrence Allan Fitzsimmons, 29, and Donald Dara Hebert, 30, of 80 Charles St. East, were also wanted in connection with a two armed bank robberies at the same branch of Canada Trust on Bloor St. West, on July 27 and 29. Hebert worked at Sunquest Vacations for the previous three years, and co-workers said the “Donald Hebert they knew couldn’t be the same man police say went on a rampage of robbery and murder.”
Fitzsimmons was released from Kingston Penitentiary on December 31, 1992, after serving the mandatory minimum. He served six years of a nine-year manslaughter sentence for stabbing an inmate to death, and was released without parole, as was required by law. “It’s not the parole board that released him. Under the law, there was no choice but to release him. Discretion doesn’t enter into it,” said Simonne Ferguson, director of the National Parole Board’s Ontario region.
Fitzsimmons was under the supervision of a parole officer after being released. He was re-arrested in April, 1993 for violating the no-drinking provision of his release order and was released May 27. He left the Kingston area, and a warrant for his arrest was issued July 13.
Police believe the three men met in a local gay bar, and were quick to assure media and the community they did not believe Rasky’s slaying was linked to that of Jack Bell, who was found before police released the names of Rasky’s murder suspects, beaten to death in his home.
Community members provided tips to police regarding the names of the suspects. Police said both Fitzsimmons and Hebert were also gay.
“It’s got to stop. I’m tired of killing people.”
They believed Rasky met and began staying with Hebert in apartment 103, 80 Charles St. East, where Hebert had been living for about a year. Rasky had recently been locked out of his own apartment for allowing homeless men to live with him. The building superintendent was a pallbearer at Rasky’s funeral.
On August 4, Hebert was found beaten and stabbed to death in a derelict and boarded-up Red Barn restaurant on Bank Street in downtown Ottawa, which was rumoured to be full of transients and squatters.
A day later, Fitzsimmons walked into a police station in Ottawa and turned himself in for both the murder of Rasky and of his best friend Hebert, as well as the bank robberies. Fitzsimmons said, “It’s got to stop. I’m tired of killing people.”
Montreal police also wanted to question Fitzsimmons on the weekend robbery and murder of a cab driver.
It appeared Hebert and Fitzsimmons robbed a bank twice, killed Rasky, and robbed and killed a Montreal cab driver, before Fitzsimmons killed Hebert, between July 27 and August 4, 1993.
Canadian filmmaker Harry Rasky said his brother Norman had been diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder years before his murder, and that “his subsequent actions that resulted in his unusual behaviour eventually led to his being at the location that led to his death.”
In June, 1994, Fitzsimmons pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the killing Norman Rasky and, a week later, pleaded guilty to killing Hebert. Both were life sentences. He pleaded guilty in July in Montreal to the killing of a cab driver.
“I hope and I believe that Mr. Fitzsimmons will never be released.”
Prosecutor Paul Culver said, “I hope and I believe that Mr. Fitzsimmons will never be released.” Defence lawyer John Hill said Fitzsimmons will probably remain in prison “until his dying day.” Justice David Watt of the Ontario Court’s General Division said “if it means a lifetime of confinement, so be it,” Rasky’s daughter, Judy Rasky, went a step further and questioned whether capital punishment would be most effective.
Murder Village Map
Name: Norman Bernard Rasky
Date of Death: July 30, 1993
Manner of Death: Stabbing, strangulation, blunt force trauma
Location: 80 Charles St. East
Suspect Name: Terrence Allan Fitzsimmons, Donald Dara Hebert (murdered by Fitzsimmons prior to arrest)
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison
*Donald Hebert’s name has been corrected.