A Mother’s Heartbreak

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Tess Richey
Murder victim Tess Richey

Tess Richey, 25, was out celebrating on November 24, 2017, with friend Ryley Simard at Crews & Tangos, a Gay Village drag bar, although Richey is not LGBTQ+. They left the bar at approximately 1:30am, heading north toward Dundonald Street where they hung out with a friend of Richey’s on her front porch. With them was an unidentified man.

Just before 4am, Simard’s boyfriend texted her and asked when she would be coming home. Simard left Richey, who had ordered an Uber car, in their company and headed south to Carlton Street to take a TTC streetcar home. Simard would never see Richey alive again.

Although the family reported her missing to Toronto Police, it would be her mother and a friend, who travelled from North Bay to look for her, who would find Richey’s body just metres from where she was last seen. Tess Richey was found at the bottom of a small exterior stairwell on November 29, 2017.

Richey was seen in the company of an unknown male, and nearby business security cameras caught him on tape. Although Police have released his image, he has not been located.

Police originally considered her death accidental, but a December 1 autopsy revealed she had died of neck compression. Friends and family were heavily critical of the handling of the missing persons report by police.

The story garnered international attention. The community created a memorial near where her body was found, which acted not only as a place to express their condolences but also their fears about the neighbourhood.

On February 5, 2018, police announced the arrest of 21-year-old Kalen Schlatter. He was charged with second-degree murder in relation to the death of Richey. A trial is pending.

Below is a 24-minute YouTube video Tess Richey made in 2014.


Murder Village Map

 

 

 Vital statistics

Name: Tess Richey
Age: 25
Gender: Female
Date of Death: November 25, 2017
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: 582 Church Street
Suspect Name:  Kalen Schlatter
Conviction & Sentence: pending

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

Sex Worker Strangled

Black and white photo of murder victim Cassandra Do
Murder victim Cassandra Do

On August 25, 2003, Cassandro Do, 32, was found in her bathtub sexually assaulted and murdered in her 60 Glouster Street apartment by police who were responding to a call. An autopsy showed she was manually strangled. She had been scheduled to meet a client that day.

Do, a preoperative transsexual who had once worked as a nurse, was saving money for her operation, and working as a prostitute in the Gay Village. Do, who also went by the name Tula, solicited clients on her website and ads in the back of weekly Toronto newspapers.

Do’s death occurred within days of two other women’s deaths, prompting concerns from citizens and the media. Police said there was no connection, and had not at that time confirmed how one woman, a drug addict found in Parkdale, had died.

Black and white photo of murder victim Cassandra Do

On October 4, 2003, police issued a description of the suspect in Do’s killing: a black, muscular man, aged 30 to 40, 6′ 5″, about 230 pounds, wearing wire-rimmed glasses. He went by the name “Victor”. They warned all sex trade workers to be extra vigilant. DNA tests linked the assailant to the sexual assault of a prostitute in 1997, and that is where police drew their description of Do’s murderer from.

After the suspect description was released, four prostitutes contacted police to say they were beaten and sexually assaulted by a man who fit the description. On October 15, police reported the murder of another prostitute. She was from Vietnam, although her escort ads said she was from China. Do may have been the victim of a serial killer.

Police have not yet solved Do’s murder.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Cassandra “Tula” Do
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Date of Death: August 25, 2003
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: 60 Glouster Street
Suspect Name: Victor

Strangled on Tyndall

Victims and suspected victims of Toronto serial killer Peter MacDonald
Victims and suspected victims of Toronto serial killer Peter MacDonald

The body of sixty-three-year-old James “Jimmy” Thomas Campbell was found in a Parkdale apartment on April 29, 2000. Known to frequent area bars including the Gladstone Hotel (pictured below) and the Dufferin Gate, police said Campbell was strangled by his killer in the 99 Tyndall Ave. apartment. They had met in a park, went back to the apartment and had sex.

It took police 14 months and a DNA break to find his killer.

Peter Dale MacDonald Toronto serial killer
Peter Dale MacDonald Toronto serial killer

Peter Dale MacDonald, 42 at the time of the murder, was charged in the unrelated death of prostitute Michelle Charette in 2000, in Windsor, ON. DNA evidence was collected and cleared him of that murder (MacDonald would be re-charged with Charette’s murder and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in her case on February 23, 2012).

Gladstone Hotel, Toronto
Gladstone Hotel, Toronto

MacDonald’s DNA was cross-referenced, and it implicated him in Campbell’s then-unsolved murder.

The suspected serial killer was found guilty on June 26, 2001, of second-degree murder in Campbell’s death. MacDonald strangled Campbell for squeezing his testicles.

MacDonald was later charged for the murders of Julieanne Middleton, 23, Virginia Coote, 33 and Darlene MacNeill, 35, who were found dead near Sunnyside Beach between 1994 and 1997. Those charges were later dropped.

MacDonald was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with a chance of parole in 15 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: James “Jimmy” Thomas Campbell
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 29, 2000
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: 99 Tyndall Ave.
Suspect Name: Peter Dale MacDonald
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

Charges Dropped In Serial Killer Case

Victims and suspected victims of Toronto serial killer Peter MacDonald
Victims and suspected victims of Toronto serial killer Peter MacDonald

Virginia Lee “Flex” Coote, 33, was a prostitute working in Parkdale when she was murdered. Police suspect she is a victim of serial killer Peter Dale MacDonald. Her body was found October 28, 1994 on Toronto’s waterfront, in Lake Ontario behind the Palais Royale. She used prostitution to feed her drug habit. Coote was a lesbian who was found in an area where she “wouldn’t likely have taken a customer to.”

Police set up an 11-person task force, called Project Breakwall, to investigate this and other seemingly related murders. In each of the three prostitute murders police believe were related, their clothes were neatly folded with shoes placed on top, and each had a foreign object placed inside her vagina. Coote was partially clothed when she was found.

Photograph of police recovering the body of Virginia Coote, by Jim Wilkes 1994

By May 1996, there were 12 unsolved murders of prostitutes in Toronto in eight years, including those police would later determine were committed by Marcello Palma.

In 1998, police released a sketch of a “possible serial killer”, but the case remained unsolved until the charges against MacDonald were laid in 2010.

Peter Dale MacDonald Toronto serial killer
Peter Dale MacDonald Toronto serial killer

MacDonald was also charged for the murders of Julieanne Middleton, 23, and Darlene MacNeill, 35, who were found dead near the same area between 1994 and 1997, and Michelle Charette who was killed in 2000. He was convicted of the crime of murder of James “Jimmy” Campbell, 63, and eventually pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter in the death of Charette.

Black and white photo of murder victim Virginia Coote
Virginia Coote

On October 28, 2010, MacDonald, then 52, was charged with the murders of Coote, MacNeil and Middleton. Police said that cross-checking DNA, comparing the modus operandi and considering other relevant information obtained only years later, is what allowed them to lay charges in Coote’s murder. DNA alone was not enough since, by the nature of their work, prostitutes would be expected to have multiple samples of DNA.

Black and white photo of murder victim Virginia Coote
Virginia Coote

On July 16, 2011, police announced they dropped the charges against MacDonald in the murders of Coote, MacNeil and Middleton. “There is no longer any reasonable prospect of conviction,” said Crown representative Brendan Crawley.

Police maintained that the evidence in the case did not change, but that the prosecutor changed. The new prosecutor decided to throw the charges out.

On February 23, 2012, MacDonald pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Charette, from Windsor. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for that murder, and was already serving time for the second-degree murder of Campbell.

Police consider the case closed.

Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Virginia Lee “Flex” Coote
Age: 33
Gender: Female
Date of Death: October 28, 1994
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: Palais Royale
Suspect Name: Peter Dale MacDonald
Conviction & Sentence: charges dropped

Was Prostitute Victim Of Serial Killer?

Victims and suspected victims of Toronto serial killer Peter MacDonald
Victims and suspected victims of Toronto serial killer Peter MacDonald

Prostitute Julieanne Middleton, 23, was working the Parkdale neighbourhood when she was murdered. Police suspect she is a victim of serial killer Peter Dale MacDonald. She was found July 7, 1994 in Lake Ontario, just a few minutes’ walk from the Palais Royale at 1601 Lake Shore Blvd West, along Toronto’s western waterfront. Middleton was a lesbian drug addict who used prostitution to support her addiction.

Black and white photo of murder victim Julieanne Middleton
Murder victim Julieanne Middleton

She was found in an area popular with gay couples, and police pursued the theory that the location was specifically chosen for that reason.

Middleton washed up on shore wearing only her bra. Middleton had strangulation marks around her neck, but died of drowning.

By May 1996, there were 12 unsolved murders of prostitutes in Toronto in eight years, including those police would later determine were committed by Marcello Palma.

In 1998, police released a sketch of a “possible serial killer”, but the case remained unsolved until the charges against MacDonald were laid in 2010.

Peter Dale MacDonald Toronto serial killer
Peter Dale MacDonald Toronto serial killer

MacDonald was also charged for the murders of Virginia Coote, 33, and Darlene MacNeill, 35, who were found dead near Sunnyside Beach between 1994 and 1997, and Michelle Charette who was killed in 2000. He was convicted of the crime of murder of James “Jimmy” Campbell, 63, and eventually pleaded guilty to the charge of manslaughter in the death of Charette.

On October 28, 2010, MacDonald, then 52, was charged with the murders of Coote, MacNeil and Middleton. Police said that cross-checking DNA, comparing the modus operandi and other relevant information obtained only years later, is what allowed them to lay charges in the prostitute murders. DNA alone was not enough since, by the nature of their work, prostitutes would be expected to have multiple samples of DNA.

Patrick Middleton, Julieanne’s brother, said “He’s cold. He’s evil. You felt the evil off of him.” Her father visited her grave weekly for years. She left behind a 6-year-old son.

On July 16, 2011, police announced they dropped the charges against MacDonald in the murders of Coote, MacNeil and Middleton. “There is no longer any reasonable prospect of conviction,” said Crown representative Brendan Crawley.

Police consider the case closed.

Julieanne's father Sherman Middleton, photo by J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail
Julieanne’s father Sherman Middleton, photo by J.P. Moczulski for The Globe and Mail

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Julieanne Middleton
Age: 23
Gender: Female
Date of Death: July 7, 1994
Manner of Death: Strangulation, drowning
Location: 1601 Lake Shore Blvd West
Suspect Name: Peter Dale MacDonald
Conviction & Sentence: charges dropped

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

Dominating In Death

Police search for Grayce Baxter's body by Dale Brazao, 1993
Police search for Grayce Baxter’s body, photo by Dale Brazao, 1993

On December 8, 1992, Grayce Baxter went missing. It was weeks before her friends reported her missing. Baxter was a transsexual high-priced call-girl who, according to her friend “Mary”, was also a former crack-cocaine addict.

Baxter was very cautious. She always valet-parked her car when she arrived at her condo and secured her alarm when she got inside. She carried a stun gun and a can of mace to all her calls. Baxter stood 6-foot tall and weighed 160 pounds, and her clientele was mostly submissive wealthy married businessmen.

Black and white photo of murder victim Grayce Baxter
Murder victim Grayce Baxter

Baxter, (26 or 28 years of age) disappeared with her 1989 black BMW. The car was found two days later in the parking lot of Gerrard Square, a shopping mall at Gerrard St. and Pape Avenue. Police say she was last seen by a friend in Mississauga, where she got a 3am call from an escort agency she worked for. She drove off in her BMW.

When advised their daughter was missing, Baxter’s parents flew to Toronto to aid in her search.

Black and white photo of murder victim Grayce Baxter
Murder victim Grayce Baxter

By the end of the year, police had her client list, rumoured to be a very large list of names, and were requesting through the press that her former clients voluntarily contact police to avoid embarrassment. “If they don’t come to us, we’ll have to seek them out and that could be embarrassing in some cases,” Detective Jim McDermott said. By December 31, police suspected foul play.

Baxter lived a wealthy lifestyle with a waterfront condominium at 10 Yonge St., and was known to host lavish parties. Grayce, born with the name Grant, also went by the street name Candice. She charged $350-$400 an hour and worked at two agencies. Normally, a client would go through the agency where they can be vetted. This did not appear to be the case on December 8.

Police got a break in the case through a cellular telephone record linking the killer directly to Baxter. On January 7, 1993, police approached Patrick Daniel Johnson, 23, of 55 Wynford Heights Crescent with the telephone record.

Black and white photo of Murderer Patrick Johnson
Murderer Patrick Johnson

When police went to the home of the suspect to give him a lie-detector test and they found him with self-inflicted wounds, but he was still alive.

On January 9, police announced they had arrested Johnson for first-degree murder. Her body was not found at the time of the arrest. Johnson was a former client of Baxter’s, and a part-time prison guard at the Don Jail in Toronto, although police did not know that until the time of his arrest. During his trial, it was reported that he told police, “You might as well take me right now. You know I did it. It’s been a living hell for a month… It was an accident. It just went too far.”

He had called her to his apartment after agreeing to pay her $200 for 45 minutes of sex. A fight ensued because Johnson was having difficulty coming to orgasm but his time was up. He strangled her. He cut up her body, dumped her in the garbage dumpster, and, 11 days later, pawned a diamond ring and Rolex watch.

Police search for Grayce Baxter's body by Dale Brazao, 1993
Police search for Grayce Baxter’s body photo by Dale Brazao, 1993

A man had told detectives his friend had information about the killing and had sent a letter to the Toronto Sun newspaper. A handwritten, six page letter arrived in the newsroom on January 11, 1993, mailed before but received after, the murderer’s arrest.

Contained in the envelope was a Ministry of Corrections identification card bearing a man’s photo and signed “Dan Johnson”. In the letter, the killer said he never knew Baxter was a transsexual, and he would go on to boast about having sex with his girlfriend 14 times over three days.

Ten days later, police began the gruesome task of using bulldozers and garden hoes to dig through a Pickering garbage dump for Baxter’s body. They estimated it could take a month to find her, as they believed her body had been dumped into a garbage bin. On March 17, 1993, police announced they called off the search for Baxter’s dismembered body. They had sifted through millions of kilograms of garbage in their fruitless search.

On April 18, 1994, almost a year and a half after Grayce Baxter went missing, Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder just before his trial started. He was sentenced to life in jail with no eligibility for parole for 10 years.

Grayce Baxter has never been found.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Grayce Baxter
Age: 26-28
Gender: Female
Date of Death: December 8, 1992
Manner of Death: Strangled
Location: 55 Wynford Heights Crescent
Suspect Name: Patrick Daniel Johnson
Conviction & Sentence: Life with no eligibility for parole for 10 years

Hairdresser Homicide

3 Gifford Drive, where DaCosta was murdered

Hairdresser Derek George Dacosta, 33, was strangled on the night of December 5, 1990 after an apparent robbery gone bad. Dacosta had told friends of plans to travel home to Trinidad to visit his parents for Christmas. Stolen from his 3 Gifford St. home were a television, VCR and audio cassette player. He was the city’s 54th homicide of the year.

Black and white photo of murder victim Derek Dacosta

A co-worker became concerned when Dacosta did not show up for work at the Yonge and Bloor hair salon. She had last seen him on December 4 at about 11 p.m. Another friend told police Dacosta had gone to a Church St. bar. Police were called to the scene.

Less than two weeks later, on December 18, police announced they had charged 24-year-old John William McLean of no fixed address, after he walked into 51 Division police station on December 15 and confessed. McLean told police he became enraged by Dacosta’s sexual advance and claimed it was self-defence.

McLean was sentenced to five years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Derek George Dacosta
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 5, 1990
Manner of Death: Strangled
Location: 3 Gifford St.
Suspect Name: John William McLean
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, 5 years

On A Rampage

40 Homewood where Michael Boley was murdered

Revenue Canada tax auditor Michael Boley, 56, was found dead on April 14, 1990. He was tied, fully-clothed, spread-eagle on his bed in his Homewood Avenue condominium. Four days later, police arrested Rodney William Glode, 24, of no fixed address, in his murder.

Boley was a long-time resident of 40 Homewood Avenue, which has extremely tight security including cameras. His body was discovered by an elderly disabled woman whom Boyle had cared for, for many years.

Glode had gone on “a four-week rampage against homosexuals that culminated in the death of a victim”, said reporter Thomas Claridge. Prosecutor Sandy Kingston described Glode as a dangerous person “who must be removed from society for a very long time.” Glode had attacked six other gay men during his rampage, and all seven victims had been bound, gagged and robbed. Boley is the only one who died.

Glode’s first victim, a bartender who invited him to go for drinks after hours, was attacked on March 18, 1990. He spent six weeks in hospital and was so badly head injured he has permanent balance problems. Glode’s other victims, all gay men offering money for sex, were attacked between March 20 and April 12. In most cases, the victims agreed to have their hands tied, but not to being foot-bound or gagged.

While in jail, Glode bragged to an undercover police officer he “robbed a faggot and he died. It was my luck he had a bad heart,” and that he was planning on returning to the building to steal more items.

An autopsy showed Boley had died of asphyxiation as a result of having a shirt, belt and tie used as a gag.

On May 16, 1991, Glode pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Boley’s death, and to three robberies in which each victim suffered serious and permanent injuries. Glode was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years for Boley’s murder, and a concurrent 10-year sentence for the robberies.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Michael Boley
Age: 56
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 14, 1990
Manner of Death: Asphyxiation
Location: 40 Homewood Ave
Suspect Name: Rodney William Glode
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder with no chance of parole for 17 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

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