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

Hard Knock Life

Black and white photo of murder victim Lawrence Callahan
Murder victim Lawrence Callahan

Lawrence “Larry” Roosevelt Callahan was born in Botwood Newfoundland on July 13. 1941. He died at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto on June 10, 2006, after being savagely beaten in his home. It took more than a month for the police homicide unit to be called in to investigate his death.

Callahan, 64, was found unconscious in his apartment at 45 Strathmore Blvd. on June 2 with “obvious signs of trauma” and was taken to hospital. The autopsy could not immediately determine the cause of death, and until it was declared that he had died of blunt-impact head wounds, his death was not classified as a homicide.

Although many neighbours came forward with information about Callahan’s activities, his death remains a cold case.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Lawrence “Larry” Roosevelt Callahan
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Date of Death: June 10, 2006
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma
Location: 45 Strathmore Blvd.
Suspect Name: none

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

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

Dumped and Burned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

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

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

In A Pool of Blood

530 Yonge Street, former site of the Parkside Tavern
530 Yonge Street, former site of the Parkside Tavern

On Sunday, December 4th, 1983, high-school art teacher Thomas Cahill. 44. was stabbed to death in his own home at 199 Berkeley St.

Black and white photo of murder victim Thomas Cahill

At 4:45am, tenant and friend Charles Furlong, 47, heard Cahill call out his name. When Furlong responded, he found Cahill in a pool of blood and the front door open. Police were called, and Cahill was transported to St. Michael’s Hospital, where he died.

Police believed Cahill was stabbed by one or more visitors who were just leaving. He had spent Saturday night at the Parkside Tavern, at 530 Yonge St.

The case remains open.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Thomas Cahill
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 4, 1983
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 199 Berkeley St.
Suspect Name: unknown

Maybe LGBT Murder

Retro stereo system

Nirmal Rawle Ramnanan, 35, was found stabbed to death in his 939 Avenue Road apartment on Saturday August 7, 1982. He was found nude and bound to a chair, stabbed, by building authorities after a neighbour complained of loud music all night long.

Because the loud music continued Saturday morning, building personnel used a passkey to enter the apartment, where Ramnanan was found. He was bound to a chair, covered in blood, and a call was placed to 911. He bled to death after being repeatedly stabbed in the chest and stomach.

Black and white photo of murder victim Nirmal Rawle Ramnanan
murder victim Nirmal Rawle Ramnanan

Ramnanan, who had come to Canada from Trinidad about four years before his death, worked in the fitting department of Syd Silver Formal Wear.

Ramnanan was known to have several visitors, both male and female, and there was no sign of forced entry into his home. Police eventually set up a tip line, but his murder is currently unsolved.

Media coverage at the time of Ramnan’s death was spotty. Although police at the time did not indicate Ramnanan was gay or bisexual, his death was mentioned in September 1982 issue of The Body Politic, a Toronto newsmagazine “for gay liberation” (which is why he is listed on Murder Village).

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Nirmal Rawle Ramnanan
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Date of Death: August 7, 1982
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 939 Avenue Road
Suspect Name: none

Car and Cash Stolen

Black and white photo of 5600 Sheppard Avenue East

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

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

Black and white photo of murder victim Kevin McBride

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

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

A Strange, Hollow Sound

Police removing William Robinson's body, photo by CBC News
Police removing William Robinson’s body, photo by CBC News

William Duncan Robinson, 24, was found by his sister when she became concerned that he did not show up to work for two days. He was found November 28, 1978, “horribly mutilated” in his 205 Vaughan Road apartment. Robinson was a “shy, well-dressed” man who, police believe, may have met his killer at the St. Charles Tavern at 484-488 Yonge St. A neighbour reported hearing a “strange, hollow sound” coming from his apartment on Saturday.

Black and white photo of murder victim William Duncan Robinson
Murder victim William Duncan Robinson

His death triggered media coverage regarding multiple similar deaths of gay men. He was the 14th gay man to be murdered in three and a half years. Police released a composite sketch and description of the suspect, and said he greasy brown hair and dirty hands, “walked in a clumsy manner and had extreme body odor.” He was trying to buy drugs at the tavern, and rolled his own cigarettes.

Police at scene of William Robinson's murder, photo by CBC News
Police at scene of William Robinson’s murder, photo by CBC News

A $10,000 reward for information leading the arrest and conviction was put out by police. No one been charged in the murder and it remains a cold case for Toronto police.

Police composite sketch of murder suspect in William Robinson murder
Police composite sketch of murder suspect in William Robinson murder

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: William Duncan Robinson
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Date of Death: November 28, 1978
Manner of Death: stabbing
Location: 205 Vaughan Road
Suspect Name: none

Unsolved Murder of Club Owner

16 St Joseph Court photo by CBC News
16 St Joseph Court photo by CBC News

The popular bar manager, Alexander Sandy LeBlanc, 29, was murdered in his home at 16 St. Joseph Court (now Street) on September 20, 1978. His body was found by three friends. He died from more than 100 stab wounds. LeBlanc was the second gay man to be murdered that week – Gerald Douglas White was murdered on September 18, and a man was charged in that crime.

Black and white photo of Sandy LeBlanc
Sandy LeBlanc

LeBlanc was manager and co-owner of various gay clubs and discotheques in the Carlton and Church St. area, including Club David’s and Studio II. David’s, at 16 Phipps Street, mysteriously burned to the ground after a New Year’s Eve punk rock concert in 1977/78.

Inside David's nightclub
Inside David’s nightclub

Police said bloody footprints led from the carpet in the bedroom to a window overlooking the alley. Reports said the carpet was so thick with blood it squished when officers walked on it.

Police have never solved LeBlanc’s murder.

Advertisement for punk band Viletones playing at David's, Sandy LeBlanc's club
Advertisement for punk band Viletones playing at David’s, Sandy LeBlanc’s club

 

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Alexander Sandy LeBlanc
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Date of Death: September 20, 1978
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 16 St. Joseph Street
Suspect Name: unknown

Mugging Becomes Murder

Allan Gardens photo by James Victor Salmon
Allan Gardens photo by James Victor Salmon

Sixty-two-year-old Bernard Guay was murdered in Allan Gardens park at 19 Horticultural Avenue. He was discovered alive on May 5, 1977 at 12:15 a.m., suffering from blunt force trauma. He was immediately transported to hospital, and died on May 11.

Newspapers described Guay as “an old, nearly blind man who was beaten to death by muggers.” Guay, a Quebec native, had lived in Toronto for 25 years and had worked in restaurants until being forced out because he was losing his eyesight. He was living with Herni Carboit, a 32-year-old unemployed restaurant worker.

Photo of murder victim Bernard Guay
Photo of murder victim Bernard Guay

Guay was in a section of the park described by police as “the favourite haunt [of homosexuals]” when he was attacked by three youths.

Inspector George Sellar of the police homicide squad said “Here you have a quiet old man minding his own business and three yahoos come along and kick him in the head.” As people approached the scene to lend assistance to Guay, the attackers fled.

His murder is unsolved.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Bernard Guay
Age: 62
Gender: Male
Date of Death: May 11, 1977
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma
Location: 19 Horticulture Ave.
Suspect Name: 3 unknown men

Tied and Tortured

Grave marker for murder victim Brian Dana Latocki
Grave marker for murder victim Brian Dana Latocki

Brian Dana Latocki was 24 years old when he was murdered. On January 25, 1977, a still-unknown assailant stabbed Latocki in his home at 141 Erskine Avenue. Police said he was believed to be the “victim of a homosexual assault” after his nude body was found tied to his bed. He had been tortured, stabbed and strangled. There were knife wounds in the back and chest, but no knife was found on scene.

Photo of murder victim Brian Latocki
Photo of murder victim Brian Latocki

At about 9:40 a.m., police received a call to the residence, where they found him inside an apartment. Some items were stolen from the home, and the murderer took extreme care to remove his fingerprints from the scene.

By the end of 1977, Latocki and other gay men – Neil Wilkinson, Harold Walkley, Bernard Guay, James Stewart Kennedy and James Douglas Taylor – were dead within a two year period (1975-1977), and police were concerned about a serial killer stalking the gay community.

Police sketch of the suspect in Brian Latocki's murder
Police sketch of the suspect in Brian Latocki’s murder

Police Inspector George Sellars said he had not proved all the murders were related, but Latocki, like many of the other victims, “frequented Yonge St. homosexual bars” and had hitchhiked home from the St. Charles Tavern the night before.

In November 1978, Latocki was included in the list of 14 gay men murdered in 3 and a half years in Toronto.

 

Photo of murder victim Brian Latocki
Photo of murder victim Brian Latocki

Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Brian Dana Latocki
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Date of Death: January 25, 1977
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma, strangulation, stabbed
Location: 141 Erskine Avenue
Suspect Name: unknown

Last Seen at St. Charles Tavern

St Charles Tavern photo from City of Toronto archives
St Charles Tavern photo from City of Toronto archives

On the morning of Monday September 20, 1976, police responded to a 911 call and found the body of James Stewart Kennedy. He had been beaten to death.

Photo of murder victim James Kennedy as a young man
Photo of murder victim James Kennedy as a young man

Kennedy, 59, lived at 262 Jarvis St., and worked at the Department of National Revenue. He was found beaten and strangled. A towel had been knotted around his neck and he was severely beaten in the face. He was last seen alive the previous Saturday at a gay bar, the St. Charles Tavern on Yonge St.

Police do not have a motive, and his case remains open.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: James Stewart Kennedy
Age: 59
Gender: Male
Date of Death: September 20, 1976
Manner of Death: Blunt Force Trauma, strangulation
Location: 262 Jarvis St
Suspect Name: unknown