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

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

Comedian Murdered

1991 Honda motorcycle
A photo of a 1991 Honda motorcycle

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

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

Black and white photo of Michael VadeBoncouer
Murder victim Michael Vadeboncoeur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

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