Stabbing Ends Burgeoning Career

Jeffrey "Jay Tripper" Parker, murder victim, with his dog
Jeffrey “Jay Tripper” Parker, murder victim, with his dog

Jeffrey Parker was known among friends as Jay Tripper. He was a “creative gun/illustrator/graphic designer/activist bringing back colourful psychedelic vibes from the sixties and beyond!” Tripper ran a graphic design and events business called Field Trip Designs & Psymbiotiq. Friend Tim Ellis said “He was building a space for people to come together and have a community. To know him was to love him.”

Tripper was planning to move to Montreal on December 8, 2017, but did not live long enough to make it. The 35-year-old was murdered at 4p.m. on December 7, one day before he was slated to leave. He was stabbed during an attack in his home on George Street, near Allan Gardens, and died at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Twenty-two-year-old Tyler Reynolds knew Tripper, and had been invited into his home. During a disagreement, Reynolds stabbed Tripper. Reynolds was quickly located at a nearby Harvey’s restaurant. The fast food joint is known in the area as “Hooker Harvey’s” because of its location on a stretch of Jarvis Street known for prostitution. Reynolds suffered minor injuries. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Jeffrey "Jay Tripper" Parker, murder victim, with his dog
Jeffrey “Jay Tripper” Parker, murder victim, with his dog

A memorial for Tripper was set for December 14, 2018, and more than 250 people went. Tripper was “a larger than life presence” whose kindness and thoughtfulness would not be forgotten. He “left his own impressive mark on the live and electronic music scene. He was the Poster Boy of Poster Boys. He marched to his own drummer, had a wicked sense of humour and a heart of pure gold.” Instead of flowers, the family asked that people donate to Covenant House or Sick Kids Hospital. They wanted people to “lend a hand to someone in need,” keeping Tripper’s memory alive.

Tripper’s partner, Kevin Flynn, was devastated by the murder, as were friends and family. “When I was 21, I had cancer and Jay threw a party for me. Almost 500 people showed up. It was really a defining moment in my life,” Daniel, a former roommate of Parker’s, told CTV News. “It was very, very difficult, very unexpected,” Daniel said. “He’s not the kind of person that would get into a conflict that escalated.”

Jeffrey "Jay Tripper" Parker, murder victim
Jeffrey “Jay Tripper” Parker, murder victim

Reynold’s first court appearance was December 13, 2018. He was remanded in custody. A trial date has not been set. To protect the integrity of the case, there is limited public information on the murder.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Jeffrey “Jay Tripper” Parker
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 7, 2018
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: George Street near Gerrard Street
Suspect Name: Tyler Reynolds
Conviction & Sentence: not yet at trial

Cancer Researcher Murdered

Colleagues and friends of Dr Ernsting gather for a memorial where he died, photo by Caryn Lieberman
Colleagues and friends of Dr Ernsting gather for a memorial where he died, photo by Caryn Lieberman

On December 15, 2015, Dr. Mark Ernsting went for his regular nightly walk. It would be his last.

Ernsting, 39, was a well-respected cancer researcher who lived with is husband Robert Iseman on Carlton Street in downtown Toronto. His walk would take him around the nearby Ryerson University campus, where he was also an adjunct professor. Then he ran into his killer, Calvin Michael Nimoh, 22, a stranger to him. Ernsting was stabbed nine times, including five times in the head and face, during an attack on the public sidewalk, in front of 40 McGill Street. He was stabbed with such force, the blade broke off and remained lodged in his skull.

Photo of murder victim Dr. Mark Ernsting
Photo of murder victim Dr. Mark Ernsting

Nimoh was arrested an hour later and charged with second degree murder.

Police originally thought the attack as a robbery-gone-wrong, but there was evidence of forcible confinement during the attack, according to Toronto police Detective Paul Worden. This resulted in an automatic upgrade under the Canadian Criminal Code, to first-degree murder.

On the first day of the first trial, Nimoh tried to plead guilty to manslaughter, by the crown attorney Michael Cantlon rejected the deal. Nimoh then pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, with Cantlon claiming that the plea offer was proof there was no question as to who the killer was. The only question that remained- one that would affect the charge and the verdict – was why.

Ninety minutes before Ernsting’s death, Cantlon said Nimoh had attacked a 65-year-old woman and stabbed her four times before knocking her to the ground and kicking her. Nimoh then got into a fight with his girlfriend before attacking Ernsting.

Murderer Calvin Nimoh
Photo of murderer Calvin Nimoh

A witness testified she saw Nimoh standing over Ernsting, stabbing him. She yelled out, causing Nimoh to flee. Shortly after the start of the trial, false information was given to the jury despite cautions from the presiding judge that jurors not use social media and the internet during the trial. A publication ban prevents knowing who introduced the fake news.

A new jury was called, and a second trial begun. At this trial, which began just days later, Nimoh said he had become enraged when, after stabbing and kicking the senior, he found out his girlfriend was bisexual and became enraged.

Nimoh claimed Ernsting came on to him, with the comment “Want to have some fun?” The defence said Nimoh, “who was trying to work through about homosexuality in the context of his (own) sexual  abuse,” blacked out and could not remember his attack on Ernsting.

On June 8, 2018, more than two and a half years after the murder, the jury found Nimoh guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Name: Mark Ernsting
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 15, 2015
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 40 McGill Street
Suspect Name: Calvin Michael Nimoh
Conviction & Sentence: first-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years

 

Slashed and Stabbed

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Brent Gartner
Murder victim Brent Gartner

At 6:34 p.m. on January 10, 2015, paramedics arrived at 330 Jarvis St. to find Brent Gartner, 51, lying outside his apartment, bleeding. He was taken to St. Mike’s Hospital vital signs absent, and did not recover. He was the first homicide of the year.

A resident of building notified building security when a visiting friend told him “there was a pool of blood in the elevator.”

Despite initial “first responder” reports of a samurai sword being involved, police denied a sword was involved, although Gartner was stabbed multiple times and had serious slash wounds.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Brent Gartner

Roderick McIntosh, 67, had been found by police nearby with injuries. Charges against McIntosh at first were delayed due to the seriousness of his own injuries, and were laid only once he was well enough to understand the charge.

He was taken to hospital, and just three days later, Toronto police charged him with the second-degree murder of Gartner. Police said the two men knew each other.

[I can’t locate any further information about what happened with the case].

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Brent Gartner
Age: 51
Gender: Male
Date of Death: January 10, 2015
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 330 Jarvis St.
Suspect Name: Roderick McIntosh
Conviction & Sentence: unknown

Attack Was Personal

Black and white photo of murder victim Ross Magill
Murder victim Ross Magill

On Monday July 14, 2008, sixty-four-year-old William Ross Magill was pronounced dead at his home on 40 Delisle Avenue. He had been stabbed.

Magill, how usually went by Ross Magill, had been a gifted interior designer prior to his three-year descent into sex and drugs and alcohol. Friends said he had begun to bring home younger men, and after allowing two of them come into his midtown apartment, he was murdered.

Friends said Magill was HIV-positive, and returned from the U.S. to Canada to benefit from the Canadian, rather than American, health care system. A break-up in 2005 with a Vancouver man sent Magill into a downward spiral. He fell out of contact with friends and family, and those who stayed in touch were unable to help him with his addictions.

Black and white photo of murder victim Ross Magill

On the evening of July 14, Magill’s 23-year-old boyfriend, whom he had been dating for three months, was in the shower when two men knocked on his door. Magill let his murderers into his home. Magill’s partner heard a commotion and found Magill stabbed multiple times. He called police, but was unable to give a description of the men he saw fleeing. The police ruled him out as a suspect after interviews.

Police believe he knew at least one of his assailants, making police believe this was a targeted attack. Cocaine was found in his home. One neighbour heard three screams and a door slam.
No arrest has been made, the case remains open.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: William Ross Magill
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Date of Death: July 14, 2008
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 40 Delisle Avenue
Suspect Name: none

Money Was The Motive

Black and white photo of murder victim Harley Walker
Murder victim Harley Walker

Seventy-two-year-old Harley Walker was born in Manchester England and immigrated to Toronto in 1958 where he found employment with the CBC for 30 years. He went missing on October 13, 2006, after meeting a man, David Reid, on an internet gay chat room.

The two men exchanged messages, and met for coffee for several months. It was during this time Reid discovered Walker had a large investment portfolio.

Police suspected Walker’s murder was a kidnapping/extortion scheme gone wrong, as Walker’s bank account had been emptied and his Cabbagetown home should signs of violence. When they asked Reid to come in for questioning, he fled.

David Kenton Reid, 46, was arrested by OPP officers near Meaford, Ontario, a week after he had crashed his car and fled on foot. He broke into a nearby cottage and hid from police. Reid was an unemployed investment banker, married with a 10-year-old son, and was in significant financial trouble. When Reid was arrested, police had not yet found Walker’s body. However, police discovered Walker’s personal papers and identification in the wrecked car, along with evidence that his bank account had been tampered with.

Photograph of murderer David Reid
Murderer David Reid

Reid did not cooperate with investigators until after consulting with a lawyer. He then told police where he had buried Walker’s body. Walker was found by police on May 5, 2007, seven months after he went missing.

During the trial, Reid admitted stabbing Walker with a large kitchen knife in Walker’s home and burying his body near a camp on Monck Road, near the town of Norland, Ontario.

Reid was initially charged with first-degree murder but was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Reid had asked Walker for money, and when he was refused, he killed Walker.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital statistics

Name: Harley Walker
Age: 72
Gender: Male
Date of Death: October 13, 2006
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 22 Sackville Place
Suspect Name:  David Kenton Reid
Conviction & Sentence: Second degree murder with life in prison, no chance of parole for 17 years

Psychiatrist Murdered

Photo of police entering the building where Henry Durost was murdered
Police entering the building where Henry Durost was murdered

When he did not show up for work, police were called to the home of prominent psychiatrist and former medical director of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, Dr. Henry Durost, on January 6, 2004. Inside the apartment at 7 Jackes Avenue they found Durost, 78, dead.

Durost died of strangulation, and suffered broken ribs, injuries to the hands and wrists, sharp force injuries to the ear and neck and blunt force injuries to the head.

Black and white photo of murder victim Henry Durost
Murder victim Henry Durost

Durost had worked at the Mental Health Centre in the 1970s and 1980s and still had a clinical practice. He was respected by colleagues and staff alike.

Within a day, police were considering a theory that the gay psychiatrist may have been the victim of a sexually motivated attack. Police combed through his computer, and investigated the possibility he had been to gay strip clubs. “The homicide squad investigators believe Dr. Durost was specifically targeted,” said Det. Sgt. Al Comeau.

On January 14, police had arrested 38-year-old Joseph Giuseppe Carnovale, an unemployed drug addict. Det. Sgt. Comeau said the police were still trying to determine how Carnovale knew Durost, and said the prime motive appeared to be robbery. Between $2,000 and $3,000 worth of items were identified as missing. Forensic evidence found on scene identified Carnovale. Carnovale had been spotted carrying a duffel bag, although by the time of his arrest, he had thrown it in a dumpster, where it was found by police.

Carnovale was charged with first-degree murder, as well as two counts of assault and threatening death, which was unrelated to Durost’s murder.

Carnovale said he beat, stabbed and strangled Durost but was unable to explain exactly why. He said he and Durost had sex at least seven times over a period of about a year before the killing, including on the night of the murder. Carnovale said Durost always paid for sex, once as much as $400.

Carnovale, a heroin and crack addict who “had used for more than 20 years”, pleaded guilty to manslaughter but the plea was rejected and the case went to trial. He said the hand and wrist injuries were part of S&M play, and Carnovale’s defense lawyer showed three gay bondage videos found in Durost’s collection of adult videos.

Carnovale attacked Durost with a vase, his hands, and a knife from the kitchen. He used cleaning products such as bleach to try to cover his tracks, but left DNA in the form of blood in the kitchen drawer and under Durost’s fingernails.

On March 18, 2006, the jury found Carnovale guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Durost. They rejected his claim that he was too high to realize what he was doing. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Henry Durost
Age: 78
Gender: Male
Date of Death: January 6, 2004
Manner of Death: Strangulation, blunt force trauma, stabbed
Location: 7 Jackes Avenue
Suspect Name: Joseph Giuseppe Carnovale
Conviction & Sentence: First-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years

Computer Printout Is Key

Black and white photo of murder victim David Buller
Murder victim David Buller (right)

David Buller was murdered at his desk at the University of Toronto’s Visual Studies department at 1 Spadina Crescent. On January 18, 2001, he was stabbed repeatedly and died in his office, to be found by a caretaker the next day.

Black and white photo of murder victim David Buller
Murder victim David Buller

Det. Sgt. Ken Taylor said that despite Buller, 50, having been stabbed repeatedly in the torso and having fallen out of his office chair onto the floor where he laid for hours, “the crime scene was pristine.” They found no usable DNA, fingerprints, murder weapon or security video footage.

Since Buller’s office was considered “out of the way,” police surmised the killer likely knew him and the office location. On initially arriving at the scene, there was so little blood, Taylor thought it might be a suicide. The killer shut the door on the way out.

Member of David Buller's family at Toronto Police press conference
Member of David Buller’s family at Toronto Police press conference

His latest paintings were homoerotic, but the computer-drawn sketch that lay on his printer, baffled police. It was of two men: one man naked with his arms tied above his head, the other man, smiling, wearing glasses – this figure was thought to be Buller. It had been printed just minutes before his murder.

Det. Sgt. Taylor said of the image, or what led to the drawing of the image, “This, I believe, is the motive for the murder. We believe he was killed as a result of this, but we don’t know why.”

Someone, and police are not sure if it was Buller or his murderer, opened Buller’s Mac laptop at 2:02 p.m. and sketched the drawing found on the printer. However, the image on his computer was not the same as the image printed. The printed image had words on it that police call significant, but will not release, hoping they will help nail down a suspect should one arise. This version with words was never saved because Buller collapsed from his chair onto the floor, pulling out the computer plug.

Member of David Buller's family with his artwork and photograph
Member of David Buller’s family with his artwork and photograph

A $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Buller’s killer has been offered.

In 2001, Buller’s murder was featured in a TV special the family said would bring new evidence to the police. However, it remains unsolved to this day.

8-by-6-foot portait of Pollock sitting in Palace of Versailles painted by David Buller - photo by Erin Combs, 1980
8-by-6-foot portait of Pollock sitting in Palace of Versailles painted by David Buller – photo by Erin Combs, 1980

Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: David Buller
Age: 50
Gender: Male
Date of Death: January 18, 2001
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 1 Spadina Crescent
Suspect Name: none

Ex-Priest Murdered

Black and white photo of 40 Homewood Avenue where Anthony Bennett was murdered
40 Homewood Avenue where Anthony Bennett was murdered

In 1989, Anthony Patrick Bennett pleaded guilty to one charge of gross indecency related to sex abuse of a minor male. The judge found Bennett, then an ordained priest with the Archdiocese of St. John’s Newfoundland, did not require custody, and Bennett was given two years probation. The Church identified Bennett as a homosexual, not a pedophile, as the minor male was in his teens. Bennett left the priesthood and made his way to Toronto.

Once settled in Toronto, Bennett worked as a crisis counsellor, also known as a psychiatric nurse, for people with mental health issues. On August 17, 2000, Bennett, 45, was found dead in his home at 40 Homewood Avenue. He had been stabbed in the neck with a steak knife.

A man tried to use Bennet’s credit card at a convenience store. At the time, all credit card transactions required a signature, and this man’s did not match the one on the card. A security guard attempted to arrest the man, but he managed to flee. Bennett’s wallet, computer, money, and jewellery were also missing from his home. Police advised media they were concerned for the safety of runaway Lindsay Faulkner who was accompanying their suspect.

Murderer Steven Allan Earley and runaway Lindsay Faulkner
Murderer Steven Allan Earley and runaway Lindsay Faulkner

On September 8, 2000, police arrested Steven Allan Earley, 23, near Yonge and Wellesley Sts. for robbing another man. He was remanded in custody and charged with the first-degree murder of Bennett after he confirmed with police he had committed the murder.

Before he was arrested, Earley had told an acquaintance, “I killed somebody. I can’t believe I killed somebody, man. I just, I cut his throat and I just left him. I locked the door and left.” The two men had known each other and there was no forced entry into Bennett’s home.

He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Anthony Patrick Bennett
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Date of Death: August 17, 2000
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 40 Homewood Ave.
Suspect Name: Steven Allan Earley
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, no chance of parole for 15 years

His Legacy Lives On

5 Concord Place, home of murder victim Richard Kall
5 Concord Place, home of murder victim Richard Kall

Richard Kall, 45, was chief operating officer of the March of Dimes charity who was murdered by a man he went home with. He was found dead inside his 5 Concorde Place condominium days after his May 21, 2000 murder.

Kall’s death left “a great hole in the heart” of his colleagues, “We are all just devastated,” said the president, Andria Spindel.

Black and white photo of murder victim Richard Kall
March of Dimes executive Richard Kall

Police were unaware he was dead until the suspect confessed during a traffic stop. A man driving Kall’s black 1998 Volvo was stopped by police on May 23, 2004 for erratic driving. A spontaneous statement by the driver led police to Kall’s home.

David Bruce Martin, 27, of no fixed address, was charged with first degree murder. He was also charged with dangerous driving after attempting to flee police.

Kall met Martin on Grenville St., about one block away from Toronto Police headquarters. Martin was a gay prostitute whom Kall may have met previously, and it was agreed in court that there was no animosity between the men. Martin, however, had been binging on drugs and at some point, became enraged.

Photo of murderer David Bruce Martin
David Bruce Martin

During trial Martin admitted slashing and stabbing Kall more than 50 times with a hunting knife. When he first stabbed Kall in the neck, Kall asked what he was doing, Martin said, “I’m killing you.” After murdering Kall and washing up, he stole some money and the car and headed back downtown. Martin picked up another prostitute and purchased more drugs. That is when police spotted him driving erratically and arrested him.

Martin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Kall’s family requested that as many lurid details as possible be kept from the public, and only a bare outline was provided in the statement of facts. “I’m sorry, I really can’t say anything about it,” said prosecutor Sheila Cressman.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Richard Kall
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Date of Death: May 21, 2000
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 5 Concorde Place
Suspect Name: David Bruce Martin
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years

Foul Murder

77 Maitland Place, where Neil Parker was murdered
77 Maitland Place, where Neil Parker was murdered

On May 1, 2000, police discovered the body of antique dealer Neil Parker, 49, three days after he had been murdered in his apartment. Residents had called to complaint about a foul odour.

Black and white photo of murder victim Neil Parker
Neil Parker, 1984

His live-in partner, Christopher Partak, 24, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Parker, found in a bathtub at their 77 Maitland Place home, had his throat slit to “make the body stink”.

On April 29, Partak strangled Parker, put his fully clothed body into the bathtub, and filled it with ice. He attempted to make the murder look like a suicide.

Partak, described as a gay prostitute, tried to take money from Parker’s bank accounts after the murder, partied at gay bars and lied to friends about Parker’s whereabouts.

Murderer Christopher Partak
Murderer Christopher Partak

Before the murder, the men had gone to Sneakers, a downtown gay bar. When Parker and Partak went home, they began to fight. Parker called Partak “a whore and a piece of garbage.” Partak threw Parker against the wall and used both hands to strangle him. However, Partak then “did [things] to the body [that] made it difficult for the authorities to determine a cause of death,” Justice Epstein said in her ruling. “What he did… to the body is disgusting, vile and deviant.”

Police found a confession signed by “Chris” at the scene, saying he would kill himself. Ten days after the arrest, Partak confessed to police. “I’m the one you’re looking for. I did it.”

In court, 12 victim impact statements were given, describing Parker as a loving, caring person who was a peacemaker. Parker had developed a problem with alcohol after the passing of his mother.

Black and white photo of murder victim Neil Parker
murder victim Neil Parker

Parktak, who was facing deportation back to America, pleaded not guilty to the charge of first-degree murder, but guilty to the charge of manslaughter. Madame Justice Gloria Epstein agreed with both prosecution and defence lawyers for a nine-year sentence, minus time served.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Neil Parker
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 20, 2000
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: 77 Maitland Place
Suspect Name: Christopher Partak
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 9 years

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

Bound, Gagged and Stabbed

The Selby Hotel where Ronald Isaac met his killer
The Selby Hotel where Ronald Isaac met his killer

When Harry Ronald Isaac, 50, did not show up to work at Journey’s End hotel on Lombard St., he was reported missing by friends. On September 19, 1994, one friend ventured into Isaac’s apartment at 266 Sherbourne St. and found his body. Isaac was bound and gagged and stabbed more than half-dozen times. There was no sign of robbery.

Known to frequent gay bars, he was last seen at the Selby Hotel on September 16. That is the day Isaac died. Isaac was also an AIDS care volunteer at Casey House.

Black and white photo of murder victim Ronald Isaac
Murder victim Ronald Isaac

Police said Isaac “picked up a lot of street kids” for sex and were initially considering a connection to the May 7 1994 murder of John “Bev” Wilson.

Leonard Alexander Welch, 32, and Isaac met at Boots, a local gay bar, and stopped for beer before heading back to Isaac’s home. They played cards and had sex. Welch said it would cost Isaac $60 and was given his bank card to remove the money. A bank surveillance camera showed Welch using Isaac’s bank card on September 16.

Welch claimed later in court that he tried the card three times, but there was no money. He became enraged, started drinking at a local bar, and took cocaine. Welch decided Isaac had taken advantage of him and returned to Isaac’s home to kill him. Isaac’s hands were bound with electrical tape, his feet were bound with shoelaces and a towel was used to gag him.

Ronald Isaac's murderer Leonard Welch
Ronald Isaac’s murderer Leonard Welch

Within days, police issued a warrant for Welch, of no fixed address. Welch had been spotted stalking men “in Metro’s downtown gay strip” just days after the murder, police said.

Welch was arrested on September 30, 1994 in Montreal. During the September 1996 trial, Welch advised his lawyer he was guilty. He said he was consumed with guilt and confessed to murdering a “good man” over unpaid sex. Welch’s lawyer said he had tried to kill himself 16 times.

Welch pleaded guilty to second-degree murder with no parole for 15 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Harry Ronald Isaac
Age: 50
Gender: Male
Date of Death: September 16, 1994
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 266 Sherbourne St.
Suspect Name: Leonard Alexander Welch
Conviction & Sentence: second-degree murder with no parole for 15 years

A Single Stab Wound

Bayview Playhouse Theatre
Bayview Playhouse Theatre

On May 7, 1994, John Beverly “Bev” Wilson, 60, a well-known stage manager who once worked with the National Ballet of Canada, was found dead in the laundry room of his Eglinton Avenue West and Avenue Road apartment building. He was found in a large pool of blood, dead from a single stab wound.

Wilson, who also worked at the Bayview Playhouse Theatre, was expected to join friends that evening for dinner, but failed to answer his door.

Black and white photo of murder victim John Beverly Wilson
Murder victim John Beverly Wilson

“He was part of that older generation of theatre people, the old guard,” Peter Peroff, former owner of the Bayview Playhouse, told media. Wilson was known to leave the back door unlocked to allow late-night visitors to come in without disturbing other residents.

About a year after his death, David Christopher Mellish, 33, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Wilson and Mellish, who was once a male prostitute, had a sexual relationship for about six years prior to the attack, and it included Mellish receiving pay and accommodation for sex. Wilson retired in early 1994 and told Mellish he had AIDS. Wilson continued to welcome Mellish into his home to do housecleaning for pay.

Mellish suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was found four times to be unfit to stand trial. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Court drawing of David Mellish by Alex Tavshunsky for the Toronto Star
Court drawing of David Mellish by Alex Tavshunsky for the Toronto Star

On August 23, 1999, was sentenced to one day in jail with three years’ probation. He had already spent almost four and a half years in a psychiatric institution, and altogether including time awaiting trial, had served the equivalent of a nine-year sentence.

Grave marker for John Bev Wilson, Saint Mary's Cemetery, St. Mary's, Ontario
Grave marker for John Bev Wilson, Saint Mary’s Cemetery, St. Mary’s, Ontario

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: John Beverly “Bev” Wilson
Age: 60
Gender: Male
Date of Death: May 7, 1994
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: Eglinton and Avenue Road
Suspect Name: David Christopher Mellish
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 1 day plus three years probation. With time served, approximately nine years total

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

Comedian Murdered

1991 Honda motorcycle
A photo of a 1991 Honda motorcycle

On March 24, 1991, Michael Henry Vadeboncoeur, 42, was stabbed to death in his home at 7 Hilltop Road. Vadeboncoeur was a former CBC radio comic called Boncoeur. He was found with multiple stab wounds in a blood-splattered apartment. A 16-year-old youth arrested two weeks later and charged with first-degree murder in his death, and a 15-year-old was co-accused.

Both youths could not be named due to the restrictions of the Young Offenders Act. However, the 16-year-old was later tried as an adult and his name was released to the media during trial: Adam Blake Harris. The 15-year-old was not named.

Black and white photo of Michael VadeBoncouer
Murder victim Michael Vadeboncoeur

Harris was arrested at a C.M. Hinks treatment centre in Clarksburg. He was a resident at C.M. Hinks, a centre for “disturbed children,” later to become part of the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health. Like Harris, the 15-year-old was also absent without leave from the treatment centre.

Harris and Vadeboncoeur once had a sexual relationship, and the two teenagers created the plan to rob Vadeboncoeur.

Police said robbery appeared to be the motive for the slaying: Vadeboncoeur’s Honda motorcycle, which was stolen, was later found at Jarvis and Parliament Streets. Other property was taken.

Vadeboncoeur bled to death after being stabbed in the neck. Harris had turned 16 just three weeks prior to the murder.

The victim’s “most precious possession – his life – was taken from him by the accused on more or less a whim,” said Justice Nicholson McRae during the February 22, 1994 sentencing trial. The Crown prosecutor said it was a “senseless killing of a talented and caring person who is deeply missed by his family and friends.”

Paul Willis (left) and Michael VadeBoncoeur on a Queen Victoria Statue - photo by Dick Darrell, 1968
Paul Willis (left) and Michael VadeBoncoeur on a Queen Victoria Statue – photo by Dick Darrell, 1968

The defense offered no evidence, although it was brought up at trial that Harris had been receiving treatment since his adoption at the age of 3. The judge found it was Harris who did the actual stabbing.

Harris was found guilty of first-degree and sentenced to life in prison. He was ordered to serve 7 ½ years (5 years is the minimum permitted for youth tried in adult court) before being eligible for parole. Because Harris spent nearly three years in pre-trial custody, he would be able to apply for parole as early as 1999. His first two years were to be served in a provincial reformatory and then he would be sent to a federal penitentiary.

The 15-year-old was earlier found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to incarceration and probation totaling three years.

Well-known B.C. cartoonist Lynn Johnston, who had become friends with Vadeboncoeur as a teenager, named the Patterson son Michael, after Vadeboncoeur. Johnston was upset that, at the time of the murder, much of the media focused on Vadeboncoeur’s sexuality rather than his accomplishments and personality. In memory of Vadeboncoeur, Johnston had one of her cartoon strip characters, Lawrence, come out as gay. “Well, Michael, this is for you.”

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Michael Henry Vadeboncoeur
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Date of Death: March 24, 1991
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 7 Hilltop Road
Suspect Name: Adam Blake Harris, and an unnamed 15-year-old male
Conviction & Sentence: Harris was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 7 ½ years. The unnamed youth found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to incarceration and probation totaling three years.