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

Acquitted in 4 Hours

Black and white photo of murder victim Janko Naglic
Murder victim Janko Naglic

Although it took the jury less than four hours to acquit Ivan Mendez-Romero of killing his lover Janko Naglic, and no other person has ever been charged, Toronto police consider Naglic’s murder to be “case closed.”

Naglic, 58, was murdered on October 27, 2004 and found in his home on Balliol Street. Naglic was renowned in the Gay Village, not only for his outspoken personality and for his leather and denim bar, The Barn/Stables at 418 Church Street, but for his AIDS fundraising and community work. The Barn had just celebrated its 29th anniversary before Naglic was murdered.

The Barn and Stables gay bar on Church Street
The Barn and Stables gay bar on Church Street

Naglic and Mendez-Romero, 36, were well-known and liked in their neighbourhood, allowing neighbours to use their pool. A neighbouring bar owner, George Pratt, said Naglic was “a lone wolf” who gave back to the community by sponsoring Pride Week events and donating to AIDS organizations.

Naglic, who died of asphyxiation as a result of duct tape around his nose and mouth, was found dead by Mendez-Romero who called 911. Police found a glass back door was partially ajar but there was no sign of forced entry Nothing in the house was disturbed or out of place. Mr. Naglic had $800.00 in his pocket. None of the valuables in the house were taken or disturbed and there was no sign of a struggle.

Black and white photo of Ivan Mendez-Romero
Ivan Mendez-Romero

On August 27, 2005, police announced they had arrested Mendez-Romero for the murder in a “high-risk takedown”, although Toronto homicide Det. Wayne Banks later described the arrest as “without incident.” Mendez-Romero rejected a plea offer of manslaughter. “I told them, I’m not guilty. I’ll go to jail for 25 years and keep fighting for my innocence,” Mendez-Romero said. He claims to have been with his wife on the night of the murder.

Mendez-Romero reportedly dissolved his first marriage, which Naglic knew about, after three years and married a second woman, which Naglic found out later about and eventually tolerated. As a result, Mendez-Romero said he did not see a lot of Naglic for about a year before the murder. Mendez-Romero and his wife divorced during the 30 month he was in custody.

Black and white photo of murder victim Janko Naglic
murder victim Janko Naglic

During the trial, many people testified that Naglic told them Mendez-Romero had twice threatened to kill him, and it would later be called “trial by gossip and circumstance” in the press. The defence called no witnesses, and on March 4, 2008, the jury acquitted Mendez-Romero in just four hours.

Mendez-Romero later sued Naglic’s estate and Toronto police.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Janko Naglic
Age: 58
Gender: Male
Date of Death: October 27, 2004
Manner of Death: Asphyxiation
Location: 585 Balliol Street
Suspect Name: Ivan Mendez-Romero
Conviction & Sentence: Acquitted

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unsolved Baseball Bat Murder

Newspaper headlines about the murder of James Taylor
Newspaper headlines about the murder of James Taylor

James Douglas Taylor, a 41-year-old house painter, was killed in his home on February 11, 1976. He was killed by a baseball bat.

Taylor was found at 147 Elmhurst Avenue [based on the map provided by Toronto Police] after police responded to a 911 call. A pick-up truck was seen at his house just before the murder. The murder has never been solved, and few details are available.

Photo of murder victim James Taylor
Photo of murder victim James Taylor
Police sketch of suspect in James Taylor's murder
Police sketch of suspect in James Taylor’s murder

However, Taylor’s death was one of 13 murders of gay men in a 3 ½ year period, with more than half being unsolved. These included Neil Wilkinson, Harold Walkley,  Bernard GuayBrian Latocki and James Stewart Kennedy.

Rev. Brent Hawkes said gay men are reluctant to work with the police because of the negative stigma of homosexuality [at the time], and the increase in violence was making gay men “very cautious.”


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: James Douglas Taylor
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Date of Death: February 11, 1976
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma
Location: 147 Elmhurst Avenue
Suspect Name: none

Trouble On Borden

The Gasworks photo by Dan McLaughlin, 585 Yonge St - Quest was above this bar
The Gasworks photo by Dan McLaughlin, 585 Yonge St – Quest was above this bar

Part-time University of Toronto lecturer Harold Walkley, 51, was attacked in his Borden St. apartment. He was found nude, stabbed four times in the back and once in the chest. It was February 18, 1975. His murder will go unsolved, but his death was one of many that set off a wave of fear in the gay community.

Police received an emergency call at 3:43 a.m. by a man who refused to give his name. He reported there was trouble at 286 Borden St. The call came from a payphone more than 1.5km away. An officer who attended the property found the house silent and the door locked, and left.

Photo of murder victim Harold Walkley
Photo of murder victim Harold Walkley

When the owner of the house returned home shortly afterwards, he found Walkley’s body and called police. His wallet was stolen.

Although police believe Walkley had taken a taxi home from Quest, a gay bar at 585 Yonge St. that sat above a well-known hard rock bar, a cab driver was never traced. He reportedly stayed until closing and left alone.

By October 1975, police were offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.

One of the house owner’s stolen credit cards was used four times in Moncton, N.B. by a man in his 20s with a slight build. Staff Sgt. Donald Sangster of Toronto police immediately flew out to Moncton and visited those stores, plus local motels, but came up empty. Sangster knew the card-user was not necessarily the killer.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Harold Walkley
Age: 51
Gender: Male
Date of Death: February 18, 1975
Manner of Death: Stabbing
Location: 286 Borden St.
Suspect Name: none

Mysterious Life, Mysterious Death

103 Hamilton Street Toronto, where Bruno Seidel was murdered, from Google Maps
103 Hamilton Street Toronto, where Bruno Seidel was murdered, from Google Maps

Bruno Max Seidel led a quiet, mysterious life and died a mysterious, unsolved death. Police were called to a rooming house at 103 Hamilton St., where they found Seidel with three stab wounds in his chest. They originally through the wounds were self-inflicted, until they found two more stab wounds in his back. Seidel, 57, was slain January 22, 1967. He was found the next day by another roomer.

The knife used had an eight-inch blade and was one and a half inches wide. However it was not found. Police conducted a search to find a young man seen running from the house the night before Seidel’s body was found. A $2,000 reward was offered.

Photo of murder victim Bruno Seidel
Photo of murder victim Bruno Seidel

Interpol reported he had two outstanding prosecutions in Germany when he left; both involved homosexuality.

On May 4, 1967, police charged Russell Bursey, 18, with three counts of fraud related to using Seidel’s identification to buy a car, try to write cheques and buy clothing. He was found driving Seidel’s car. He leaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 days.

Seidel’s murder remains outstanding.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Bruno Max Seidel
Age: 57
Gender: Male
Date of Death: January 22, 1967
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 103 Hamilton St.
Suspect Name: none