Manslaughter and Five

200 Wellesley St East by City of Toronto
200 Wellesley St East, photo by City of Toronto

Fifty-six-year-old Anthony Charles Dowding, a Guyanese-born Canadian, was found dead in his apartment at 200 Wellesley Street East by police after they received an anonymous phone call.

Dowding was a gay man who lived alone. He was murdered May 24, 1999 after a “brutal flurry of blows.”

Black and white photo of murder victim Anthony Dowding
Murder victim Anthony Dowding

A trail of blood leading away from the apartment led police to believe the attacker may have been injured during his attack. Dowding died of blunt force trauma, which was 20 blows to the head.

On June 3, police announced they had arrested thirty-year-old David Ali Sageri and charged him with second-degree murder. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to five years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Anthony Charles Dowding
Age: 56
Gender: Male
Date of Death: May 24, 1999
Manner of Death: Blunt Force Trauma
Location: 200 Wellesley St. East
Suspect Name: David Ali Sageri
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 5 years

Bathtub Murder

Black and white image of crime scene of Gracie Detzler
280 Dundas Street East

Fifty-four-year-old Gracie (James Edward) Detzler, described in news reports as a “would-be transsexual”, was drowned in a bathtub at 280 Dundas Street East, on May 28, 1997, probably between 10pm and 10:30pm. Her killer, Steven Todd Craig, 26, contacted a lawyer who then advised police of the murder. On June 1, four days later, police found Detzler’s body in a bathtub.

Detzler and Craig met while both people were serving long term penitentiary sentences. Detzler was described as a repeat offender when she was sentenced on November 28, 1990, for stabbing a man who refused to have sex with her.

Craig was originally charged with first-degree murder in Detzler’s death, however, Justice Harry Keenan of the Ontario Court’s General Division directed an acquittal on that charge, and the jury accepted Craig’s plea of guilty to manslaughter. Justice Keenan had been advised that Craig had spent his entire adult life in prison or on parole. He had been out of prison just three weeks before murdering Detzler. Keenan declared Craig was “a danger to society,” but reduced the charges. He was sentenced to 10 years.

The Justice did not allow the jury to hear a police statement that Craig admitted Detzler was handcuffed at the time of the attack. However, the jury did hear of Craig’s previous violent attack, nearly fatal, on a male lover.

On December 23, at the end of Craig’s trial, he shouted “You’re next, you @%#$$# pig!” to Detective Sergeant Michael David, the arresting homicide officer. He continued yelling expletives at other officials and struggled with guards as he was escorted from the courtroom.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Gracie (James Edward) Detzler
Age: 54
Gender: Female
Date of Death: May 28, 1997
Manner of Death: Drowned
Location: 280 Dundas Street East
Suspect Name: Steven Todd Craig
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 10 years

Dumped and Burned

150 McLevin Avenue where murder victim Paul Armstrong was found
150 McLevin Avenue where murder victim Paul Armstrong was found

Instead of celebrating a shared birthday with her twin brother, Mary Perra spent her 38th birthday burying him. Paul Armstrong’s charred body was found December 16, 1996, in the garbage behind an industrial complex.

He was last seen by his roommate in their Leverhume Crescent home on Saturday morning, who said Armstrong left their house at about 11 a.m. Police believe he got into someone’s car, leaving his own behind. Armstrong did not have an active social life, and his departure was out of character.

Black and white photo of murder victim Paul Armstrong
Murder victim Paul Armstrong

Armstrong had been expected back that evening for a small party, and failed to show. Four days later, after his body was found but before he was identified, the roommate called Armstrong’s family, who live in Trenton Ontario, to say he was missing.

Police were able to identify Armstrong through dental records. Although treated as suspicious, Armstrong’s death was not initially considered a murder because the autopsy could not conclude the cause of death.

Police now consider Armstrong’s death to be murder, however, it remains unsolved.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Paul Armstrong
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 16, 1996
Manner of Death: undetermined
Location: 150 McLeven Avenue
Suspect Name: none

Double Homicide

Black and white photo of 807 College Street
photo of 807 College Street

A double homicide took the lives of John Clarke, 40 and Clayton Russell, 60 when they were stabbed in their shared 807 College St. apartment on January 29, 1996. Police believe they had both been out at about 2 a.m. Sunday morning, but were found in their bachelor apartment the next day.

“There’s no question it’s a horrific crime. It seems to lack any kind of motive,” said homicide Det. Rolf Prisor who was investigating the murders.

Black and white photo of murder victim John Clarke
John Clarke
Black and white photo of murder victim Clayton Russell
Clayton Russell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Russell was the building superintendent, and lived with Clarke, who was unemployed at the time, in their first-floor apartment. Russell was separated from his wife but they continued to celebrate wedding anniversaries together. It was widely rumoured that Russell was inclined to keep large sums of money at home.

On September 5, 2001, after drinking heavily with friend Daniel MacKenzie, the killer admitted to his friend he had killed the men, but provided no additional details to him.

Exactly seven years after the murders, on January 29, 2003, Mikeal James Russell, a 40-year-old cousin of victim Clayton Russell, appeared in court charged with two murder. He faced two charges of second-degree murder.

On April 14, 2004, Mikeal Russell applied for bail. Mikeal was married and had a five-year-old son. Although he had previous convictions, including one for sexual assault, “he has been out of trouble for the last eight years.” Justice J. Dambrot released Mikeal on $50,000 bail.

During the trial, Mikeal said his uncle had sexually abused him from ages 10 to 13. On January 7 2005, Mikeal was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in jail. Judge Frank Caputo said the molestation was a mitigating factor in the sentencing.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Names and Ages: John Clarke, 40 and Clayton Russell, 60
Genders: Male
Date of Deaths: January 29, 1996
Manner of Deaths: Stabbed
Location: 807 College St.
Suspect Name: Mikeal James Russell
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 10 years

Spat On His Victim

St. Michael's Hospital
St. Michael’s Hospital, where Kirby died

Dr. Stephen Patrick Kirby, 37, died from head injuries after being knocked to the ground and kicked in the head on February 26, 1994.

Rendell Junior Gillette, 21, was charged with second-degree murder after Kirby died at St. Mike’s Hospital on March 5, days after the assault. Randall Scott Leach, 24, of no fixed address, also faced numerous charges including being an accessory after the fact.

Reports indicated that Kirby was involved in a “minor altercation” with another man inside a Yonge Street and St. Joseph Street bar shortly before the attack at about 5:30 a.m.

Club Manatee, a now-defunct gay bar on St. Joseph Street area - by Vimeo
Club Manatee, a now-defunct gay bar on St. Joseph Street area – by Vimeo

Gillette, who said he is heterosexual, blamed Kirby for making a pass at him and grabbing his bum and then making racist comments when he was rejected. Gillette did not explain why he was in the gay bar. After attacking Kirby, Gillette spat on him.

Gillette, who has a criminal record, was arrested in an Oshawa motel on March 3.

Both prosecution and defense counsel agreed Gillette had not intended to kill Kirby, and blamed Kirby, stating in an agreed statement of fact that “by his words and conduct, [he] provoked the fight.” Kirby, a bisexual man, was known in the after-hours club as “an obnoxious drunk who often caused problems for other patrons and, on occasion, had to be asked to leave.”

On September 2, 1994, Gillette pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Dr. Stephen Patrick Kirby
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Date of Death: March 5, 1994
Manner of Death: Blunt Force Trauma
Location: Yonge and St. Joseph Street area
Suspect Name: Rendell Junior Gillette
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 5 years

Sharp-Eyed Transit Rider

Arrest of Dougal MacDonald by police - photo by Tony Costas
Arrest of Dougall MacDonald by police – photo by Tony Costas

On August 2, 1993, Jack Willard Bell, 58, left his home at midnight, drove to an area well-known for male prostitutes and returned shortly after with the man who would be his murderer.

Black and white photo of murder victim Jack Bell
Murder victim Jack Bell

Bell ran into Dougall Alexander MacDonald, a prostitute with no fixed address, and invited him back to his Collier St. home for Valium and alcohol. MacDonald beat and strangled Bell, then set fire to the first-floor hallway closet, but it went out before doing much damage. Shortly after 6:30am on August 3, police were alerted to the death by a long-time friend who found Bell on the second floor.

Police at the crime scene, 125 Collier St. Toronto, for Jack Bell's murder
Police at the crime scene, 125 Collier St. Toronto, for Jack Bell’s murder

Police and media cautioned people living in the Gay Village after the slaying of Bell because of the murder of Norman Rasky on Charles St. shortly before. Although police said Rasky’s murder “had nothing to do with his sexual orientation, it wasn’t gay bashing,” the local 519 Church St. Community Centre distributed community flyers, urging caution in the neighbourhood.

Removal of Jack Bell's body from his home, photo by Mark Rozitis, Globe and Mail
Removal of Jack Bell’s body from his home, photo by Mark Rozitis, Globe and Mail

On August 9, a sharp-eyed transit rider recognized MacDonald from media coverage and called 911. Police intercepted the bus at the corner of Eglinton Ave. and Swift Dr., and arrested MacDonald, 24, on first-degree murder charges.

During the trial, MacDonald said Bell “posed questions” that, combined with the drugs and alcohol, resulted in the attack. MacDonald’s lawyer insisted his client was not homophobic. On September 29, 1993, MacDonald pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 13 years, with no eligibility for parole until half his sentence was complete.

Jack Bell grave marker, York Cemetery Toronto
Jack Bell grave marker, York Cemetery Toronto

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Jack Willard Bell
Age: 58
Gender: Male
Date of Death: August 3, 1993
Manner of Death: Beaten and strangled
Location: 125 Collier St
Suspect Name: Dougall Alexander MacDonald
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 13 years

Killer Crime Spree

80 Charles St East Toronto
80 Charles St East

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. Residents followed the blood trail from the lobby of one building to the underground locker room of another, adjoining building. He had been shoved into a basement locker. He was strangled, bludgeoned and stabbed more than 30 times.

Rasky was previously married, and had three daughters.

 Black and white photo of murder victim Normal Rasky
Murder victim Normal Rasky

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.”

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.

Black and white photo of murderer Donald Hebert
Black and white photo of murderer Donald Hebert

Fitzsimmons had been released from Kingston Penitentiary before the murder, 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.

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.

Black and white photo of murderer Terrence Fitzsimmons
Black and white photo of murderer Terrence Fitzsimmons

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.

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. .

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. Fitzsimmons had murdered his accomplice.

Black and white photo of Pat Hebert (OPP) holding photo of brother Donald Hebert by Mike Slaughter
Black and white photo of Pat Hebert (OPP) holding photo of brother Donald Hebert by Mike Slaughter

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, Fernand Talbot.

It appeared Hebert and Fitzsimmons robbed a bank twice, killed Rasky, and robbed and killed the Montreal cab driver, before Fitzsimmons killed Hebert, all between July 27 and August 4, 1993.

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 Talbot.

On March 30, 1995, Terrence Fitzsimmons was found dead, hanging in his cell at the Kingston Penitentiary.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Norman Bernard Rasky
Age: 62
Gender: Male
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
Conviction & Sentence: Fitzsimmons was convicted of second-degree murder and received life in prison. Hebert was murdered by Fitzsimmons prior to arrest

Sex, LSD and Murder

A wild sex and drug “nude party” ended in the early hours of October 26, 1989, in the death of Michael John Flannigan, 27, after he had his throat slashed. Flannigan and two other men spent several hours together in the apartment at 800 Richmond St. West belonging to one of the men, Gary Abrahms. He was found on the living room floor.

The men had been drinking beer, taking LSD and having sex during the night. Abrahms said James David Hughes woke him the next morning, demanding to be let out of the apartment that had a special lock.

After letting Hughes out, Abrahms found Flannigan in the living room and called 911. He had been hit with a blunt object before being stabbed. He had stab wounds to his chest, abdomen, neck and face, as well as having his throat slashed. Police found both a folding knife and a steak knife. In all, Flannigan was stabbed 74 times. Fifty-six of the wounds were in the area of the throat.

Flannigan was a “soft spoken and gentle” unemployed cartoonist who lived in a Richmond St. West apartment. Police believe he was unconscious at the time of the stabbings: they believe may have been knocked out by a two-by-four.

Hughes had an extensive criminal history and was on parole for robbery at the time of the murder. At the time of his arrest just two days after the murder, Hughes said he was acting in self-defence. Hughes, 28, pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

The trial began January 23, 1991 and lasted about two months. Abrahms said he often cruised the George St. area looking for a party, and that is where he found Hughes and Flannigan. He had met Flannigan a week earlier.

The jury deliberated only five hours before finding Hughes guilty of second-degree murder. Justice David Watt sentenced him to life in prison without chance of parole for 25 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Michael John Flannigan
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Date of Death: October 26, 1989
Manner of Death: Stabbed, blunt force trauma
Location: 800 Richmond St. West
Suspect Name: James David Hughes
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years

Body Dumped

Ontario Hydro right of way in Mississauga

Charles Albert Lizotte’s body was seen being tossed out a speeding U-Haul truck on October 4, 1988. The dumping of the 30-year-old man, who lived on Shuter Street, was seen by a 9-year-old boy playing in an Ontario Hydro right-of-way in Pickering. Lizotte had been shoved into a sleeping bag thrown to the side of the road. He had been beaten and strangled.

In less than a week, police arrested Yves Joseph LeClerc, 29. Through his lawyer, LeClerc admitted responsibility, but pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

LeClerc and Lizotte had been involved in a dispute on September 30, 1988, in the home of Claude Gobell, on Trefann Street. LeClerc, a French Canadian, said he killed Lizotte because of his obnoxious behaviour and derogatory comments toward the French Canadian, telling Inspector Leo Campbell, “Look, I killed the guy… He was being an asshole so I killed him.”

LeClerc, a drug dealer, invited Lizotte to his home, which was next door to the party, to smoke marijuana and drink beer. LeClerc said he was pushed to the floor by Lizotte and kicked in the stomach. LeClerc said Lizotte then turned his back on him, giving him time to get to his feet.

He attacked Lizotte after the man threatened to sexually assault him. Lizotte was knocked to the floor and LeClerc grabbed a barbell and placed the shaft across Lizotte’s neck. He then knelt on each end of the shaft. LeClerc then grabbed a nearby piece of wire and twisted it around Lizotte’s neck. LeClerc would later tell a friend that Lizotte grimaced and tried to break free, but was unsuccessful.

Just two days prior to the murder of Lizotte, LeClerc stole $275 and set fire to a Queen Street East house, causing almost $50,000 in damages. LeClerc was arrested and charged with Lizotte’s murder before going to trial on the arson charge.

On October 1, 1988, LeClerc’s friend Tony Ruscito dropped by the home before going to work, and LeClerc showed Ruscito the dead body hidden under the bed.

Lizotte’s arms were tied and he was wrapped in a sleeping bag. His body was dragged down some narrow stairs but slipped a few times on the way down before being hidden behind a hot water tank. Four days later, when the decomposing body “stunk up the house,” a friend named Pickles, whose bed was by a vent in a room over the body, rented a van to dispose of the corpse. He said by this time, most people in the neighbourhood knew about the dead man.

LeClerc said the other men at the house had nothing to do with the killing, but did help dispose of the body. Pickles, LeClerc and two other men moved the body into LeClerc’s rom and then out a window to a rented U-Haul . LeClerc and Pickles then drove to Pickering to dump the body, and returned home to drink.

LeClerc was found guilty of second-degree murder and was given a life sentence. “I do not believe this. I am not guilty of second-degree murder. I did not mean it,” LeClerc said after the jury returned their verdict. They had deliberated less than three hours. LeClerc would be eligible for parole after 10 years.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Charles Albert Lizotte
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Date of Death: September 30, 1988
Manner of Death: Strangled, beaten
Location: Trefann Street
Suspect Name: Yves Joseph LeClerc
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years

15 Minutes To Murder

Headlines on the murder of Paul Lopes Monte De Ramos and subsequent trial
Headlines on the murder of Paul Lopez Monte De Ramos and subsequent trial

Paul Lopez Monte-de-Ramos, 38, was strangled to death and stabbed in the early morning hours of April 14, 1987, in a Sherbourne Street apartment. Previously, Monte-de-Ramos had lived with his killer.

James Douglas Brenn, 26, of no fixed address, was charged with first degree murder. Brenn pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the Crown refused the plea bargain. Crown prosecutor Sarah Welch said Brenn had planned the murder, and that Monte-de-Ramos’s death “was not a quick one.” She estimated it took Brenn 15 minutes to strangle Monte-de-Ramos, who bled from the mouth and nose during the struggle.

After manually strangling Monte-de-Ramos, Brenn wrapped a towel around his neck, dragged him to a sink and stabbed him 29 times in the chest and abdomen. Brenn fled the scene with Monte-de-Ramos’s credit cards and used them to make purchases.

Brenn confessed to his sister, and she called police about where they would find Monte-de-Ramos. Brenn told her Monte-de-Ramos was “a parasite who was living on borrowed time.” She told police they would find a note on the door. Police located a note which read “Be back May 3/87, Paul.” It had Brenn’s fingerprints on it.

Brenn was arrested at the bus depot as he was attempting to flee to Montreal.

During the trial, Brenn blamed Monte-de-Ramos for coming on to him. He said he was in a “homosexual panic” which caused him to strangle and stab Monte-de-Ramos. Psychiatrist Dr. Robert Hill said he believed Brenn was a psychopath who reacted violently and impulsively, and who showed no remorse for his crime. He said Brenn could kill again because “that’s what he wants to do.”

Prosecutor Sarah Welch said Brenn felt a sense of satisfaction and perhaps even sexual arousal, killing Monte-de-Ramos. He was found guilty of second-degree murder.

On November 17, 1988, Brenn was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Paul Lopez Monte-de-Ramos
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 14, 1987
Manner of Death: Strangled and stabbed
Location: 251 Sherbourne Street
Suspect Name: James Douglas Brenn
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years

Not Guilty Verdict

Accused Eric Swanson photo by Boris Spremo
Accused Eric Swanson photo by Boris Spremo

On August 6, 1986, Edwin Howard Kasdan was found dead by his parents, who had become concerned after not hearing from him on Wednesday morning: he met his parents for dinner every Wednesday night. He had died August 4.

Black and white photo of murder victim Edwin Kasdan

Kasdan, 55, was a real estate lawyer. He was found fully clothed on the living room floor of his  541 Blackthorne Avenue condominium. An autopsy showed he had been beaten with a blunt instrument and died from loss of blood and shock caused by multiple head injuries. There were no signs of a struggle.

On October 2, 1986, police announced the arrest of a 17-year-old who was charged with second-degree murder. The Young Offenders Act prevented the naming of the suspect in media. The youth was granted $500 bail in March 1987, before the trial, although the Crown did try to have the bail revoked. He would later be identified as Eric Swanson because he was tried in adult court.

Accused Eric Swanson photo by Frank Lennon
Accused Eric Swanson photo by Frank Lennon

Kasdan had been struck 24 times with a heavy glass ashtray. “The killing was an intentional, brutal and one-sided attack,” said assistant Crown attorney Kathryn Hawke.

Police said fingerprints matching Swanson were found in the kitchen. Blood was spattered through the bedroom and bathroom where Swanson had gone to clean up. A pair of jeans too small for Kasdan were found on the bed. Defence argued Swanson was disoriented after the murder, but the Crown argued that the clean-up indicated he was not.

Swanson admitted killing Kasdan. Swanson’s lawyer said Kasdan was “in search of prey” when he met Swanson. He said he was acting in self-defense. The Crown said Kasdan would not have presented a threat after the first few blows. After the first few blows, Swanson said he escaped the apartment but Kasdan chased him and pulled him back into the apartment.

Black and white photo of murder victim Edwin Kasdan

After the murder, Swanson was treated in hospital for injuries to his hands. He never regained full use of his hands.

On March 30, 1988, Swanson was found not-guilty by a jury after six hours of deliberation.

Black and white photo of murder victim Edwin Kasdan
Edwin Kasdan, University of Toronto

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Edwin Howard Kasdan
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Date of Death: August 4, 1986
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma
Location: 541 Blackthorne Ave
Suspect Name: Eric Swanson
Conviction & Sentence: Not guilty

High Park Homophobia

Courtroom drawing of Bauer, Bedard, Christou, Burak and Juszczuk by Joern Fresset for CFTO Television
Courtroom drawing of Bauer, Bedard, Christou, Burak and Juszczuk by Joern Fresset for CFTO Television

Public school librarian Kenneth Zeller, 40, was mobbed in High Park by five teenage boys. He would be found later, slumped in his car. He had been chased by five young men, caught and beaten, dying of head injuries. They left him unconscious. It was the last day of school for the killers before summer break.

Black and white photo of murder victim Kenneth Zeller

Zeller had been out that evening at a party drinking with friends. The Crown attorneys played down Zeller’s homosexuality throughout the trial although “the issue is that these boys perceived him to be homosexual and felt that justified attacking him,” Crown attorney Richard LeDressay said.

Black and white photo of murder victim Kenneth Zeller

Police were called at about 12:15 am on June 22, 1985, but Zeller was dead when he arrived in hospital an hour later. His car windows were smashed and the air was let out of his tires.

They all agreed to be tried as adults, and waive their rights to a preliminary hearing, in exchange for a sentence reduced from second-degree murder to manslaughter. Richard Leo Bauer, 15, Michael David Bedard, 18, Steven Christou, 16, Michael Christopher Burak, 16 and Henryk John Juszczuk, 16, were put on trial for murder. Three others were there but did not participate (nor attempt to stop) the attack.

Drawings of attack for Toronto Life article Gay Bashing in High Park April 1986
Drawings of attack for Toronto Life article Gay Bashing in High Park April 1986

People overhead them planning to visit High Park to “beat up a fag,” and “get money from a queer.” They saw Zeller on a pathway known as a gay lover’s lane, thought he was gay, and attacked him. He was chased by five of the eight young men more than 130 metres to his car. They kicked him, beat him, trashed his car and left him. He sustained the attack by five men for about three minutes.

Drawings of attack for Toronto Life article Gay Bashing in High Park April 1986
Drawings of attack for Toronto Life article Gay Bashing in High Park April 1986

The killers wept as Justice Gregory Evans sentenced each to nine years in prison after each pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter.

Artist Robin Fulford wrote Steel Kiss, a play based on Zeller’s murder, which played at the Poor Alex Theatre in late 1987.

From the play Steel Kiss, photo by Tim McKenna, for the Globe and Mail
From the play Steel Kiss, photo by Tim McKenna, for the Globe and Mail

Burak, Christou, Juszczuk and Bauer were all given release to continue high school, and permitted 72-hour unescorted temporary passes.

Kenneth Zeller's grave marker, Stouffville Cemetery, Stouffville
Kenneth Zeller’s grave marker, Stouffville Cemetery, Stouffville

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Kenneth Zeller
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Date of Death: June 22, 1985
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma
Location: High Park
Suspect Name: Richard Leo Bauer, Michael David Bedard, Steven Christou, Michael Christopher Burak, Henryk John Juszczuk
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, nine years for each

Self-Defense Stabbing

Photograph of Centenary Hospital, Toronto
Photograph of Centenary Hospital, Toronto

Phillip Robert (Barbara) Filshie was murdered by his common-law wife, Joyce Lorraine Filshie, 47, in a domestic dispute on December 20, 1984.

Phillip had been seeing a doctor at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry (now named the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) for “a long time.” At the time, the Clarke was the only institution that could authorize government-funded sex reassignment surgery, and was considered archaic, unsupportive and sometimes outright hostile to people seeking gender reassignment.

Phillip, a 51-year-old warehouse manager who was transitioning from female to male, was stabbed in the chest in their Kingston Road townhouse and was dead on arrival at Centenary Hospital. Joyce faced second-degree murder.

Photograph of Clarke Institute Of Psychiatry Gender Identity Clinic By Mateen Mahboubi
Photograph of Clarke Institute Of Psychiatry Gender Identity Clinic By Mateen Mahboubi

Joyce said she did not intend to kill Phillip, but that during an argument Phillip began to hit her. She grabbed a knife in an attempt to keep Phillip at bay, and that when she turned, she accidentally punctured Phillip. She ran to the neighbour’s and pounded on their door, asking for help and shouting “Come quickly! I’ve stabbed Phil!”

When police arrived, they found Joyce in the kitchen with blood on her hands, crouched over Phillip.

During trial, Joyce said she and Phillip loved each other and lived as husband and wife. Defense lawyer Mike Moldaver argued that Joyce was defending herself from Phillip’s attack, and that her intent had not been to harm Phillip. They had been together since 1976.

Then defense lawyer, now Justice Mike Moldaver
Then defense lawyer, now Justice Mike Moldaver

Hillsdon Smith said “In 30 years experience, I’ve never convinced myself that I’ve ever seen an accidental knife wound.”

Their daughter, 29-year-old Cindy-Lou Thibodeau, said in court she was devastated to learn Joyce was not her natural mother, and was “still trying to deal” with the revelations that Phillip had once been female and was in fact her birth mother.

The jury deliberated less than three hours before acquitting Joyce. “Thank God, thank God,” Joyce said after being found not guilty.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Phillip Robert (Barbara) Filshie
Age: 51
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 20, 1984
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: Kingston Road
Suspect Name: Joyce Lorraine Filshie
Conviction & Sentence: Acquitted

Reload

Bob Lake photo for The Highlander
Bob Lake photo for The Highlander

Twenty-four-year-old Torontonian Charles Edward Palmer was shot in the head and chest with a .22 calibre rifle at his family cottage on Bob Lake near Minden, Ontario. He bled to death. Several rifles, a gold bracelet and his wallet were stolen.

Palmer, who lived on Shier Drive in Scarborough, was found lying dead on a couch on March 26, 1983, by his mother and sister. They had driven to the cottage after her son failed to show up for work at the family electrical automotive business.

Police said Palmer was last seen at about 6 p.m. on March 24 at a gas station in Minden, a town 190 km outside Toronto. A younger man was with him in his light blue 1979 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Police scoured the area of the cottage on foot and by helicopter looking for the missing car.

Black and white photo of murder victim Charles Palmer
murder victim Charles Palmer

Palmer’s car crossed over the Rainbow Bridge to the United States at about 4:30 p.m. on March 25 and was later found abandoned in the southern U.S.

Toronto native 18-year-old Kevin Joseph Humphrey was arrested eight days later after fleeing the country, and charged with first-degree murder, police said.

On July 18, 1983, the preliminary inquiry into the murder trial began. On July 19, Provincial Court Judge P.E. Barker imposed a publication ban. Information regarding the murder would be made public in 2008 when Humphrey appealed his sentence for a vicious knife attack on another man.

Humphrey had committed several crimes prior to murdering Palmer, including prostitution, theft, possession of stolen property, use of stolen credit cards, and possession of narcotics. During the trial, he alleged that Palmer was a violent rapist who had attacked a number of young men living the same area as Humphrey.

Humphrey claimed that after a friend had been raped by Palmer, he went with Palmer to the cottage where, after using drugs and getting into an altercation, he shot Palmer twice. Although Humphrey claimed he had gone with Palmer to confront and not kill him, evidence showed Humphrey had to reload the rifle after the first shot.

Humphrey was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with no change of parole for 10 years.

Humphrey was released on day parole in 1996 and committed various crimes over the next number of years. He was “unlawfully at large” (breached parole) and deemed a moderate risk for both general and violent recidivism. On October 16, 2006, he stabbed and slit the throat of a man named Richard Kent, a fellow crack user.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Charles Edward Palmer
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Date of Death: March 24, 1983
Manner of Death: Shot
Location: Bob Lake, Minden Ontario
Suspect Name: Kevin Joseph Humphrey
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, parole eligibility in 10 years

Car and Cash Stolen

Black and white photo of 5600 Sheppard Avenue East

Forty-seven-year-old Kevin Lionel McBride advertised for a roommate for his 5600 Sheppard Avenue East apartment. Police believe a man responding to that ad on Saturday May 15, 1982, is the one who murdered him.

McBride had moved to Canada from Australia 17 years before his death, and had a thriving career as an interior decorator and an antique dealer.

Black and white photo of murder victim Kevin McBride

McBride had worked for 10 years creating window displays for Lizanne, a fabric store chain in Toronto.

McBride, who was considered a very punctual man, failed to show for a dinner date on Monday May 17, with friends. The friends went to McBride’s apartment superintendent and convinced him to open the door to his apartment.

McBride was found, fully clothed, stabbed to death on his living room floor.

Police were called and found him stabbed multiple times in both the front and back of the upper torso. His car and credit cards had been stolen.

In June, 1982, two men used one of McBride’s credit cards multiple times in Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, Michigan after the murder, but they were not caught.

Witnesses described the man using the credit card as being in his mid 20s to early 30s, white, 6’2″ with dark brown wavy hair. A composite drawing of the taller suspect and a $10,000 reward did not help police solve the crime.

Police composite sketch of suspect in Kevin McBride's murder
Police composite sketch of suspect in Kevin McBride’s murder

Media at the time criticized police for offer $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of McBride’s killer, but a $25,000 reward for the killer of Toronto Argonauts cheerleader Jennifer Isford, found two months later. “Some cases are more deserving of a higher reward,” Metro Police Chief Jack Ackroyd told the Toronto Globe and Mail.

McBride’s car, a black 1979 Oldsmobile 98 with wire wheel covers, red interior and a sun roof, was found months later, on September 22, in Rochester, Minnesota. His killer or killers have not been found.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Kevin Lionel McBride
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Date of Death: May 17, 1982
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 5600 Sheppard Avenue East
Suspect Name: unknown