Absolutely Thrilled

Google Streetview of Thatcher Avenue
Google Streetview of Thatcher Avenue

Apparently, fifty-five-year-old Dennis McDonald inspired such terror in his killer, he was stabbed 10 times. In the back. Then he bled to death. The killer, 19-year-old Guy Simon, was “absolutely thrilled” when he was acquitted of the murder.

On December 18, 1989, moving company owner McDonald was attacked by Simon, who was 17 at the time. As a young offender, he could not be named in the press. However, the Crown successfully petitioned to have Simon tried as an adult. McDonald was able to call police for help after the attack, but was dead on arrival at the hospital.

Simon was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, but was committed to trial on second-degree murder.

Simon testified that he had worked for McDonald and visited McDonald at his Thatcher Avenue home to pick up his paycheque. Simon and McDonald had a drink and McDonald grabbed Simon by the crotch.

Simon pushed McDonald away but Simon said McDonald pulled a machete out from under his bed. Simon then pulled out his own knife and repeatedly stabbed McDonald in the back and chest in self-defence, he said during trial. Simon called 911 the next day and told police he wanted to turn himself in.

The jury took less than two hours to find Simon not guilty on February 22, 1992.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Dennis McDonald
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 18, 1989
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: Thatcher Avenue
Suspect Name: Guy Simon
Conviction & Sentence: acquitted

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

Stabbed Sixty-Four Times

Black and white photo of murder victim David Madden
Black and white photo of Constables Stillwell and Ryta
Constables Stillwell and Ryta

Twenty-two-year-old David Madden was an X-ray technician at a chiropractic clinic who had moved into a new Scarborough apartment just three weeks before his death.

On March 19, 1988, Michael Edwin Linhart, 29, stabbed Madden 64 times including in the heart. His body was found by his roommate in their Prudential Drive apartment. Police said there was “lots of blood” in the apartment, and a knife which Madden had brought with him was found on scene.

Black and white photo of murder victim David Madden

Linhart left his bloodied clothes at the scene, and left wearing Madden’s clothes, and taking his wallet, some jewellery and a Jeep.

Linhart had stolen Madden’s 1986 Jeep and parked it in the parking garage at the Eaton Centre. Linhart was a hair stylist and part-time prostitute whom Madden had picked up on Grosvenor Street. He had a criminal history of robbery and assault.

Linhart’s roommate who also worked as a male prostitute, told police who was responsible for the murder, and where they could find him. Police arrested Linhart in his Sherbourne St. home and charged him with second-degree murder.

Linhart pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no change of parole for 12 years.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: David Madden
Age: 22
Gender: Male
Date of Death: March 19, 1988
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: Prudential Drive
Suspect Name: Michael Edwin Linhart
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years

Dispute Leads To Death

Black and white photo of payphone

A fight over which side of the floor cushions they would sleep on, cost Charles Robert Welbanks, 38, his life. Welbanks’ on-and-off lover of eight years, John Ralph Taylor, 46, stabbed him four times in the heart over the dispute on February 6, 1988.

Welbanks, whom police thought was a woman because of the clothing he was wearing, had been drinking with Taylor when they got into a disagreement over which side of the cushions on the floor of their Queen Street West and Dowling Avenue apartment they would sleep on. Taylor grabbed a knife and stabbed Welbanks, then cradled him in his arms calling out to him. Upon getting no response from Welbanks, Taylor licked the blood off his hands and went to tell friends in the building that Welbanks was dead.

Taylor then went to his mother’s home, who lived nearby, and told her he had killed Welbanks. He then ran to a payphone and called police. “I had a silly argument with my lover. I have nothing to hide. I killed my lover, I don’t know why,” he said.

Taylor had a long history of bank robberies and property offences. He was charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on February 13, 1989. He was sentenced to six years in prison.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Charles Robert Welbanks
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Date of Death: February 6, 1988
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: Queen St. West
Suspect Name: John Ralph Taylor
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, six years in prison

Two Against One

Black and white photo of Montreal (Wikipedia)
Montreal (Wikipedia)

Marlene Ann Collins, 34, was murdered on September 5, 1987 in a basement apartment on Miller Street in the Davenport and Weston Roads area. Police were responding to a woman’s call telling them they would find a body in the house. It was the house of the killers: they were calling from Montreal, where they had fled.

Collins was suffocated with a plastic bag over her head by two ex-lovers. Donna Marie Turner, 37, and Marilyn Florence Arnesen, 34, who were each charged with first degree murder.

Collins was a truck driver. Arensen was a garbage collector and Turner did not work. Turner, under the name Lawlor, was sentenced to three years in prison for manslaughter in the death of her husband in 1977. Arensen had previous convictions for armed robbery.

Collins was reported occasionally sexually involved with the couple, and they socialized together. Arensen had previously been involved with Collins but Collins was frequently assaulted, and she left the relationship. Shortly after, Arensen lost custody of a child, and blamed Collins.

After murdering Collins, Arensen and Turner used Collins’ bank card and fled to Montreal. From there, they not only called police, they called numerous friends to tell them about the murder and at one point said they were sorry.

Arensen and Turner pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on December 18, 1987, while briefly holding hands in the prisoners’ box. Each was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years in the killing of the bisexual Collins.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Marlene Ann Collins
Age: 34
Gender: Female
Date of Death: September 5, 1987
Manner of Death: Suffocation
Location: Miller St.
Suspect Name: Donna Marie Turner and Marilyn Florence Arnesen
Conviction & Sentence: life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 year

My Nerves Just Went

Black and white photo of 398 Dundas St East where Allan North was murdered

Allan Charles North, 54, was found murdered seven to ten day after his death on approximately May 3, 1987.

North was a hairdresser, and his body was found in the back of his hairdressing salon, the House of North at 398 Dundas St. East. A postmortem examination showed he died of asphyxia. North lived with John Alison Hay, 36, and theirs was a stormy relationship. Hay had previously served eight months for assaulting North.

On May 25, Hay turned himself into police. Hay had told people at a downtown church mission he had “killed his best friend”. Hay had strangled North because “he was bugging me, harassing me and my nerves just went.”

Originally charged with second-degree murder, Hay pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 8 ½ years.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Allan Charles North
Age: 54
Gender: Male
Date of Death: about May 3, 1987
Manner of Death: Asphyxiation
Location: 398 Dundas St. East
Suspect Name: John Alison Hay
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 8 ½ 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

Spontaneous Confession

Example of cash seized by Toronto Police
Example of cash seized by Toronto Police

On March 2, 1987, police received a call for help at Northcote Avenue. They arrived to find Lisa Janet Black (aka Leo James Black), dying. Twenty-three-year-old Black died in hospital just two hours later of head injuries.

Black also worked as a prostitute in Parkdale. She had contacted police just hours before being killed, saying a “john” had robbed her and stolen her money and identification.

Black and white photo of murder victim Lisa Black

It took police four months to arrest Synthia Anne Kavanagh (aka Richard Chaperon), 25, of St. Patrick Street. She was charged with first-degree murder on July 31, 1987. Police also arrested Brian Thomas Inch, 35, of Eastern Avenue on August 28, 1987.

Kavanagh and Black were roommates, both working in the Parkdale area. During interviews with homicide detectives, Kavanagh said she murdered Black with a hammer and a knife. She built up her courage to commit the murder by drinking beer and taking tranquilizers with Inch before eventually hitting her in the head repeatedly with a hammer and plunging a knife into her eye. Kavanagh blamed an unnamed person who put a .38 gun in her mouth and told her to retrieve $700,000 in cocaine and jewellery stolen by Black. She was told “either you get that back or you kill (Black)”, and Kavanagh decided it was easier to kill her friend.

Toronto police said that until her spontaneous video-taped confession, Kavanagh was considered a witness and not a suspect. Inch was in the apartment and was treated as a witness after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Witness Crystal Anderson, Inch’s lover, told homicide investigators Black was killed for informing on Anderson and Kavanagh implicating them in a robbery. Charges were dropped when Black failed to show up for court. Anderson’s taped interview was played in court, saying Inch was an active participant in the murder and stabbed Black in the heart. Anderson was in prison for burglary and possession of stolen property when she testified, and said that she was now in danger because she was a “rat.”

Inch refused to testify at Kavanagh’s trial, and had already been sentenced to seven years. Kavanagh recanted her confession during the trial, saying another person killed Black while she waited in the kitchen. She maintained her innocence even after the trial.

Murderer Synthia Kavanagh by Ian MacAlpine for Toronto Star
Murderer Synthia Kavanagh by Ian MacAlpine for Toronto Star

Kavanagh was found guilty of second-degree murder in May, 1989, and sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 15 years. Although the trial judge recommended a women’s prison, Corrections Canada placed her in a men’s penitentiary.

Kavanagh filed a human rights complaint arguing the Canadian government had a responsibility to provide adequate medical care including sex reassignment surgery. She won the case.

Kavanagh appealed her placement in a men’s penitentiary and was successfully placed in a women’s correctional facility after gender-reassignment surgery in 2000. She was eventually reassigned to a maximum security prison facility for women after “trashing” a room.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Lisa Janet Black (aka Leo James Black)
Age: 23
Gender: Female
Date of Death: March 2, 1987
Manner of Death: Stabbing and blunt force trauma
Location: Northcote Avenue
Suspect Name: Synthia Anne Kavanagh (aka Richard Chaperon) and Brian Thomas Inch
Conviction & Sentence: Inch: Manslaughter and 7 years; Kavanagh: second-degree murder with life and no chance of parole for 15 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

Mark Of The Beast

Black and white photo of murder victim Peter Ager

Grade 8 teacher Peter Lawrence Ager was 1985’s fifty-fifth homicide of the year. He was killed December 14, 1985, and found a few days later after a neighbour who 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.

Westbury Hotel, now the Courtyard Marriott, where Peter Ager was last seen
Westbury Hotel, now the Courtyard Marriott, where Peter Ager was last seen

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.

Chakasim and Ager had met a few weeks previously and had begun to socialize together.

Black and white photo of Murderer Brian Joseph Chakasim
Murderer Brian Joseph Chakasim

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 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.

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

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Peter Lawrence Ager
Age: 31
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 14, 1985
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: Carlton St.
Suspect Name: Brian Joseph Chakasim
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 15 years

 

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

First Murder Of 1984

Scarborough General Hospital where Christine Clifford died
Scarborough General Hospital where Christine Clifford died

On the night of January 6, 1984, a lover’s triangle went very wrong for twenty-nine-year-old Christine Lavery Clifford. She was stabbed to death. Hers was the first murder of the year. Clifford was attacked in a ninth floor apartment of 31 Gilder Drive. She had been stabbed six times in the chest and back. She died while undergoing surgery at Scarborough General Hospital just a few hours later.

A second woman who was in the apartment at the time of the killing, Alanna “Maume” Smith, was treated at hospital for a drug overdose and slashed wrists. However, police could not find the weapon that killed Clifford on scene.

Just four days later, police announced they arrested Winnifred Lynn Kennedy, 29, of Flastaff Avenue and charged her with second-degree murder.

All three women had been out drinking at a tavern with a neighbour and when they returned home after picking up Smith’s two-year-old-son, Smith said she took a handful of pills.

Smith said that on the night of the murder, all three women were hired to “perform a lesbian show” for a man named “Dave”, but said she had no recollection if he showed up or even if the show happened. Smith had a criminal record including a conviction of assault with a knife.

Kennedy, who pleaded not guilty, said she awoke from a drunken stupor to find Smith had slit her own wrists and Clifford was stabbed to death on the balcony. Neighbours said they heard a man and woman arguing in the apartment at about the time of Clifford’s death.

Kennedy said she tried to revive Clifford, which explained the blood on her clothes. County Court Judge Karen Weiler acquitted Kennedy of the murder because although there was suspicion that she was the murderer, there was insufficient evidence. “I feel that there were other people who were with the accused that night, who have not been charged and who have not told the entire truth,” Weiler said in her November, 1984 judgement.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Christine Lavery Clifford
Age: 29
Gender: Female
Date of Death: January 6, 1984
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 31 Gilder Dr.
Suspect Name: Winnifred Lynn Kennedy
Conviction & Sentence: Acquitted

Strangled For Shouting

Alcohol bottles

Martha Babb was 38 years old when her roommate, David Thomas Muir, 39, grabbed her by the throat and strangled her.

Babb and Muir often fought because Babb was a prostitute who would bring clients home.

Babb, also known as John Alfred McDonald, was murdered on December 10, 1983, in their apartment on Wilton Street after a night of heavy drinking and fighting. Babb was shouting at Muir and Muir strangled her with his hands to keep her quiet. When Babb went limp, Muir said he thought she was faking it, and put her into a bathtub filled with water. When Babb was not revived, he covered her in a blanket and threw cat litter on top, then went out to continue drinking.

Muir, described as a long-time alcoholic, confessed that he had killed someone and left her in the bathtub. The friend called police, who found Babb in the apartment just as Muir was returning home. He was charged with second-degree murder.

Muir pleaded guilty to manslaughter in May, 1984 and was sentenced to five years in jail.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Martha Babb AKA John Alfred McDonald
Age: 38
Gender: Female
Date of Death: December 10, 1983
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: Wilton Street
Suspect Name: David Thomas Muir
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, five years