SUV Was Murder Weapon

Black and white photo of murder victim Christopher Skinner
Murder victim Christopher Skinner

Christopher John Andrew Skinner was 27 when he was purposefully struck and killed by an SUV on October 28, 2009. He was killed in Toronto’s Entertainment District at Adelaide St. East and Victoria Street and police immediately began searching for CCTV and security video footage from businesses in the area.

He was engaged and planning to go to law school. In the early morning hours, Skinner got into an argument with a group of men when they knocked him to the ground, got into their black SUV, and ran over him with both the front and rear wheels. Homicide detective Stacy Gallant said “I’ve never seen one quite like this in my tenure at the homicide squad… It’s a very cowardly act.” Police released video footage of the SUV suspected of being the weapon of death.

Black and white photo of murder victim Christopher Skinner
murder victim Christopher Skinner

Skinner had been trying to hail a cab and, at some point, asked the SUV driver for a ride. When he refused, Skinner hit the vehicle window. Four years would pass before an arrest was made. None of the people in the vehicle came forward with information until 2013, when a Vancouver woman, an ex-girlfriend, called in a tip.

Police wire-tapped the suspect for 35 days and was heard planning to destroy cellphone records, how to avoid prosecution, and intimidating others in the car.

Agustin Caruso, 23 but 19 at the time of the murder, was arrested on November 6, 2013 and charged with second-degree murder. Caruso was the driver of the SUV carrying four men and two women inside when they ran over Skinner.

Agustin Caruso by Alex Tavshunsky for CBC
Agustin Caruso by Alex Tavshunsky for CBC

Det. Gallant said Skinner was killed because of the minor interaction of his touching the vehicle, not because he was gay. Police announced on November 15, 2013, they had also arrested Anthony Samuel, 24, who was charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offense of aggravated assault and obstructing police; Nicholas Swaby, 23, who was charged with assault causing bodily harm; and Jamaal Phillips Bond, 23, who was charged with assault causing bodily harm and obstructing police.

Jamaal Bond, left, and Nicholas Swaby by Alex Tavshunsky for CBC
Jamaal Bond, left, and Nicholas Swaby by Alex Tavshunsky for CBC

Caruso was drunk and high on cocaine at the time of the murder, and said he did not intend to run over Skinner. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight and a half years.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Christopher John Andrew Skinner
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Date of Death: October 28, 2009
Manner of Death: Vehicular
Location: Adelaide St E & Victoria St
Suspect Name: Agustin Caruso
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, sentenced to eight and a half years

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

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

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

Troubled Trustee Death

Black and white photo of murder victim Dennis Colby
Murder victim Dennis Colby

Dennis Joseph Colby, 47, was murdered in his home at 185 Cosburn Avenue on September 9, 1995 but it wasn’t until September 12 that police were called to the residence.

Colby was described as an eccentric former Toronto school board trustee, a position he held for some time after his 1974 election. One Toronto newspaper described Colby as remarkably devoted to education affairs who “should be rewarded by election in the same ward.”

In 1995, Colby was found suffering from “extreme trauma to the head”, and was obviously deceased. Police believe the victim was last seen alive on Saturday, September 9 between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. He had been found under a kitchen table, and there were signs of “an altercation”.

“He was a lonely guy, apparently,” said homicide Det. John Line, and did not frequent the downtown gay community area. Line and his partner Det. Rolf Prisor described Colby as “sexually aggressive and had numerous sexual partners on a weekly basis,” media reported, who allowed “street-type people” to stay with him for periods of time.

Sketch of murder suspect "Mike"
Sketch of “Mike”, a crack junkie wanted in the death of Dennis Colby

Police thought a “crack-using drifter” might provide information into Colby’s slaying, as the man had been staying with Colby and had since disappeared. Colby had told friends his name was Michael. He was 26 years old.

On February 28, 2019, Toronto Police announced they knew who the murderer was. As part of the investigation into the murders by serial killer Bruce McArthur, police reviewed open cold cases that fit a particular profile. Det. Insp. Stacy Gallant, the head of the cold case squad, said Colby’s murder fit McArthur’s pattern.

 

Black and white photo of murder victim Dennis Colby

DNA helped police determine that the drifter identified as Michael during the initial investigation, was the killer. His DNA was on file after committing at least one violent offense for which he was caught. However, Michael died in 1995, and police are not releasing his name. They do not believe Michael committed any other murders.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Dennis Joseph Colby
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Date of Death: about September 9, 1995
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma
Location: 185 Cosburn Avenue
Suspect Name: Mike (died in 2015 before being identified by police)

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

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

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

Killer Crime Spree

80 Charles St East Toronto
80 Charles St East

Just before midnight on July 30, 1993, a trail of blood led tenants of an 80 Charles St. East apartment building to the viciously beaten body of Norman Bernard Rasky, 62, a retired dentist. Residents followed the blood trail from the lobby of one building to the underground locker room of another, adjoining building. He had been shoved into a basement locker. He was strangled, bludgeoned and stabbed more than 30 times.

Rasky was previously married, and had three daughters.

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

Police did not originally suspect robbery, but in less than a week, they had identified suspects. On August 3, police issued warrants for “two men, both white [who] are armed and considered dangerous.”

Terrence Allan Fitzsimmons, 29, and Donald Dara Hebert, 30, of 80 Charles St. East, were also wanted in connection with a two armed bank robberies at the same branch of Canada Trust on Bloor St. West, on July 27 and 29. Hebert worked at Sunquest Vacations for the previous three years.

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

Fitzsimmons had been released from Kingston Penitentiary before the murder, on December 31, 1992, after serving the mandatory minimum. He served six years of a nine-year manslaughter sentence for stabbing an inmate to death.

Fitzsimmons was under the supervision of a parole officer after being released. He was re-arrested in April, 1993 for violating the no-drinking provision of his release order and was released May 27. He left the Kingston area, and a warrant for his arrest was issued July 13.

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

Police believe the three men met in a local gay bar, and were quick to assure media and the community they did not believe Rasky’s slaying was linked to that of Jack Bell, who was found before police released the names of Rasky’s murder suspects, beaten to death in his home.

Community members provided tips to police regarding the names of the suspects. Police said both Fitzsimmons and Hebert were also gay.

They believed Rasky met and began staying with Hebert in apartment 103, 80 Charles St. East, where Hebert had been living for about a year. Rasky had recently been locked out of his own apartment for allowing homeless men to live with him. .

On August 4, Hebert was found beaten and stabbed to death in a derelict and boarded-up Red Barn restaurant on Bank Street in downtown Ottawa, which was rumoured to be full of transients and squatters. Fitzsimmons had murdered his accomplice.

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

A day later, Fitzsimmons walked into a police station in Ottawa and turned himself in for both the murder of Rasky and of his best friend Hebert, as well as the bank robberies. Fitzsimmons said, “It’s got to stop. I’m tired of killing people.”

Montreal police also wanted to question Fitzsimmons on the weekend robbery and murder of a cab driver, Fernand Talbot.

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

In June, 1994, Fitzsimmons pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the killing Norman Rasky and, a week later, pleaded guilty to killing Hebert. Both were life sentences. He pleaded guilty in July in Montreal to the killing of Talbot.

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

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Norman Bernard Rasky
Age: 62
Gender: Male
Date of Death: July 30, 1993
Manner of Death: Stabbing, strangulation, blunt force trauma
Location: 80 Charles St. East
Suspect Name: Terrence Allan Fitzsimmons, Donald Dara Hebert
Conviction & Sentence: Fitzsimmons was convicted of second-degree murder and received life in prison. Hebert was murdered by Fitzsimmons prior to arrest

Sex, LSD and Murder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

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

Body Dumped

Ontario Hydro right of way in Mississauga

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

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

First Murder Of 1984

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

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

Death From 40 Injuries

Police tape at the crime scene where Donald Weir was murdered, from CityPulse News
Police tape at the crime scene where Donald Weir was murdered, from CityPulse News

Former Alderman and accountant Donald William Weir died on April 5, 1983. He was found naked in his bathtub with more than 40 injuries. A banana had been shoved in his mouth.

Black and white photo of murder victim Donald Weir

Weir, 50, was found by firefighters who had rushed to his apartment in response to a security staff person’s call: a fire alarm had been triggered by a pillow fire in his 20th floor apartment at 5 Massey Square. Weir’s roommate was out of the province at the time of the slaying, but later confirmed to police that items were stolen.

Weir was last seen alive that Tuesday at a bank and at some point had been in a Danforth Ave. bar alone. He was discovered at about 11 p.m. that night.

Black and white photo of murder victim Donald Weir from 1964
Donald Weir, 1964, from CityPulse News

On August 25, 1983, police announced they had arrested Richard Allen McKay, 23 and David John Kendall, 32, and charged them with first-degree murder. Both men were prostitutes.

During the trial, both men blamed each other for the murder. Injuries included stab wounds, cuts, scratches, bruises, scalding and “splitting of the skin.” Weir had more than four times the legal limit of blood alcohol for impaired driving and was called a “sitting duck” by psychologist and drug expert Howard Cappell.

Black and white photo of murder victim Donald Weir

Justice Nick McRae doubted Kendall would have participated in the killing.

On Wednesday July 25, 1984, both men were found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for at least 10 years for the torture and murder of Weir.

Black and white photo of murderer David Kendall
murderer David Kendall

On April 23, 1987, the Ontario Court of Appeal quashed the finding of second-degree murder against Kendall and allowed him a new trial.

Kendall was freed on bail pending his trial, but in July 1987, fled with his 16-year-old niece after her mother put up the bail money. He was eventually caught and was tried a second time. Kendall pleaded guilty to perjury and failing to comply with a court order, for which he received a sentence of two years. He was also given six months for skipping bail. He was subsequently found guilty of manslaughter.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Donald William Weir
Age: 50
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 5, 1983
Manner of Death: Stabbed, blunt force trauma
Location: 5 Massey Square
Suspect Name: Richard Allen McKay and David John Kendall
Conviction & Sentence: McKay and Kendall were found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 10 years. Kendall appealed his conviction and later was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in prison.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

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

Cool, Calculating and Remorseless

Bottle of Jungle Juice poppers
Bottle of Jungle Juice poppers

Kenneth Albert Jones was the perfect tenant, according to the superintendent of his 81 Charles Street East room. But on June 10, 1982, Jones was found lying naked in a pool of blood, suffering from multiple stab wounds in the neck and stomach. Jan Kubilinski, the superintendent of the rooming house, said she heard a commotion in Room 20, and found Jones when she opened the door.

Jones was a drug dealer into to S&M sex and poppers, and his murderer, Pierre Valley may have reacted “in a primitive way” to Jones’s sexual advances. The bisexual Valley claimed he thought Jones was going to rape him, and so murdered him.

When police arrived, and found Valley in a fetal position huddled against the wall. He was arrested at the scene and taken away in handcuffs. Jones had a pillow over his groin and what was described as a “leather belt decorated with metal studs buckled around his genitals” (a cock ring). He had been stabbed eight times. Jones had material stuffed in his mouth and bruises on his arms and back.

They had met at a gay bar on Yonge St where Jones was selling $10 bags of marijuana, and had known each other previously but not had sexual relations. Valley said Jones got naked in the room and blocked his way when he tried to flee. Jones then attacked Valley and motioned that he was going toward a hunting knife in the kitchen. Valley said he beat him to the weapon.

Valley, 28, of no fixed address, pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder of Jones, 27, at the June 1984 trial.

Evidence indicates Jones had left Valley alone in the apartment before the attack. The Crown said Valley had intended to rob Jones, and killed him when Jones resisted. Valley had taken $348 from Jones’ jeans.

On January 19, 1984, the jury deliberated five hours before returning a guilty verdict on second degree murder charges against Valley. “Your coming to Toronto (from rural Quebec) started you on a downward trend,” Justice Douglas Carruthers told Valley during the sentencing hearing.

Valley was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

On the grounds that the judge did not allow the defense to present admissible evidence, Valley appealed the sentence and won a new trial. He was released on bail in February 1986 pending the new trial. While on bail, Valley upgraded his education from Grade 6 to Grade 11, with some subjects going up to Grade 12.

On July 11, 1986, Valley pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 months, on top of the 25 he had already served for a total of 37 months.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Kenneth Albert Jones
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Date of Death: June 10, 1982
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 81 Charles St. East
Suspect Name: Pierre Valley
Conviction & Sentence: Second degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Appealed, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and served a total of 37 months in prison.