Cancer Researcher Murdered

Colleagues and friends of Dr Ernsting gather for a memorial where he died, photo by Caryn Lieberman
Colleagues and friends of Dr Ernsting gather for a memorial where he died, photo by Caryn Lieberman

On December 15, 2015, Dr. Mark Ernsting went for his regular nightly walk. It would be his last.

Ernsting, 39, was a well-respected cancer researcher who lived with is husband Robert Iseman on Carlton Street in downtown Toronto. His walk would take him around the nearby Ryerson University campus, where he was also an adjunct professor. Then he ran into his killer, Calvin Michael Nimoh, 22, a stranger to him. Ernsting was stabbed nine times, including five times in the head and face, during an attack on the public sidewalk, in front of 40 McGill Street. He was stabbed with such force, the blade broke off and remained lodged in his skull.

Photo of murder victim Dr. Mark Ernsting
Photo of murder victim Dr. Mark Ernsting

Nimoh was arrested an hour later and charged with second degree murder.

Police originally thought the attack as a robbery-gone-wrong, but there was evidence of forcible confinement during the attack, according to Toronto police Detective Paul Worden. This resulted in an automatic upgrade under the Canadian Criminal Code, to first-degree murder.

On the first day of the first trial, Nimoh tried to plead guilty to manslaughter, by the crown attorney Michael Cantlon rejected the deal. Nimoh then pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, with Cantlon claiming that the plea offer was proof there was no question as to who the killer was. The only question that remained- one that would affect the charge and the verdict – was why.

Ninety minutes before Ernsting’s death, Cantlon said Nimoh had attacked a 65-year-old woman and stabbed her four times before knocking her to the ground and kicking her. Nimoh then got into a fight with his girlfriend before attacking Ernsting.

Murderer Calvin Nimoh
Photo of murderer Calvin Nimoh

A witness testified she saw Nimoh standing over Ernsting, stabbing him. She yelled out, causing Nimoh to flee. Shortly after the start of the trial, false information was given to the jury despite cautions from the presiding judge that jurors not use social media and the internet during the trial. A publication ban prevents knowing who introduced the fake news.

A new jury was called, and a second trial begun. At this trial, which began just days later, Nimoh said he had become enraged when, after stabbing and kicking the senior, he found out his girlfriend was bisexual and became enraged.

Nimoh claimed Ernsting came on to him, with the comment “Want to have some fun?” The defence said Nimoh, “who was trying to work through about homosexuality in the context of his (own) sexual  abuse,” blacked out and could not remember his attack on Ernsting.

On June 8, 2018, more than two and a half years after the murder, the jury found Nimoh guilty of first-degree murder, and he was sentenced to an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Name: Mark Ernsting
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 15, 2015
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 40 McGill Street
Suspect Name: Calvin Michael Nimoh
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

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

Stabbed Sixty-Four Times

Black and white photo of murder victim David Madden
Black and white photo of Constables Stillwell and Ryta
Constables Stillwell and Ryta

Twenty-two-year-old David Madden was an X-ray technician at a chiropractic clinic who had moved into a new Scarborough apartment just three weeks before his death.

On March 19, 1988, Michael Edwin Linhart, 29, stabbed Madden 64 times including in the heart. His body was found by his roommate in their Prudential Drive apartment. Police said there was “lots of blood” in the apartment, and a knife which Madden had brought with him was found on scene.

Black and white photo of murder victim David Madden

Linhart left his bloodied clothes at the scene, and left wearing Madden’s clothes, and taking his wallet, some jewellery and a Jeep.

Linhart had stolen Madden’s 1986 Jeep and parked it in the parking garage at the Eaton Centre. Linhart was a hair stylist and part-time prostitute whom Madden had picked up on Grosvenor Street. He had a criminal history of robbery and assault.

Linhart’s roommate who also worked as a male prostitute, told police who was responsible for the murder, and where they could find him. Police arrested Linhart in his Sherbourne St. home and charged him with second-degree murder.

Linhart pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no change of parole for 12 years.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: David Madden
Age: 22
Gender: Male
Date of Death: March 19, 1988
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: Prudential Drive
Suspect Name: Michael Edwin Linhart
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years

15 Minutes To Murder

Headlines on the murder of Paul Lopes Monte De Ramos and subsequent trial
Headlines on the murder of Paul Lopez Monte De Ramos and subsequent trial

Paul Lopez Monte-de-Ramos, 38, was strangled to death and stabbed in the early morning hours of April 14, 1987, in a Sherbourne Street apartment. Previously, Monte-de-Ramos had lived with his killer.

James Douglas Brenn, 26, of no fixed address, was charged with first degree murder. Brenn pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the Crown refused the plea bargain. Crown prosecutor Sarah Welch said Brenn had planned the murder, and that Monte-de-Ramos’s death “was not a quick one.” She estimated it took Brenn 15 minutes to strangle Monte-de-Ramos, who bled from the mouth and nose during the struggle.

After manually strangling Monte-de-Ramos, Brenn wrapped a towel around his neck, dragged him to a sink and stabbed him 29 times in the chest and abdomen. Brenn fled the scene with Monte-de-Ramos’s credit cards and used them to make purchases.

Brenn confessed to his sister, and she called police about where they would find Monte-de-Ramos. Brenn told her Monte-de-Ramos was “a parasite who was living on borrowed time.” She told police they would find a note on the door. Police located a note which read “Be back May 3/87, Paul.” It had Brenn’s fingerprints on it.

Brenn was arrested at the bus depot as he was attempting to flee to Montreal.

During the trial, Brenn blamed Monte-de-Ramos for coming on to him. He said he was in a “homosexual panic” which caused him to strangle and stab Monte-de-Ramos. Psychiatrist Dr. Robert Hill said he believed Brenn was a psychopath who reacted violently and impulsively, and who showed no remorse for his crime. He said Brenn could kill again because “that’s what he wants to do.”

Prosecutor Sarah Welch said Brenn felt a sense of satisfaction and perhaps even sexual arousal, killing Monte-de-Ramos. He was found guilty of second-degree murder.

On November 17, 1988, Brenn was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Paul Lopez Monte-de-Ramos
Age: 38
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 14, 1987
Manner of Death: Strangled and stabbed
Location: 251 Sherbourne Street
Suspect Name: James Douglas Brenn
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years

Not Guilty Verdict

Accused Eric Swanson photo by Boris Spremo
Accused Eric Swanson photo by Boris Spremo

On August 6, 1986, Edwin Howard Kasdan was found dead by his parents, who had become concerned after not hearing from him on Wednesday morning: he met his parents for dinner every Wednesday night. He had died August 4.

Black and white photo of murder victim Edwin Kasdan

Kasdan, 55, was a real estate lawyer. He was found fully clothed on the living room floor of his  541 Blackthorne Avenue condominium. An autopsy showed he had been beaten with a blunt instrument and died from loss of blood and shock caused by multiple head injuries. There were no signs of a struggle.

On October 2, 1986, police announced the arrest of a 17-year-old who was charged with second-degree murder. The Young Offenders Act prevented the naming of the suspect in media. The youth was granted $500 bail in March 1987, before the trial, although the Crown did try to have the bail revoked. He would later be identified as Eric Swanson because he was tried in adult court.

Accused Eric Swanson photo by Frank Lennon
Accused Eric Swanson photo by Frank Lennon

Kasdan had been struck 24 times with a heavy glass ashtray. “The killing was an intentional, brutal and one-sided attack,” said assistant Crown attorney Kathryn Hawke.

Police said fingerprints matching Swanson were found in the kitchen. Blood was spattered through the bedroom and bathroom where Swanson had gone to clean up. A pair of jeans too small for Kasdan were found on the bed. Defence argued Swanson was disoriented after the murder, but the Crown argued that the clean-up indicated he was not.

Swanson admitted killing Kasdan. Swanson’s lawyer said Kasdan was “in search of prey” when he met Swanson. He said he was acting in self-defense. The Crown said Kasdan would not have presented a threat after the first few blows. After the first few blows, Swanson said he escaped the apartment but Kasdan chased him and pulled him back into the apartment.

Black and white photo of murder victim Edwin Kasdan

After the murder, Swanson was treated in hospital for injuries to his hands. He never regained full use of his hands.

On March 30, 1988, Swanson was found not-guilty by a jury after six hours of deliberation.

Black and white photo of murder victim Edwin Kasdan
Edwin Kasdan, University of Toronto

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Edwin Howard Kasdan
Age: 55
Gender: Male
Date of Death: August 4, 1986
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma
Location: 541 Blackthorne Ave
Suspect Name: Eric Swanson
Conviction & Sentence: Not guilty

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.

Murder, Intimidation and Murder Again

The Selby Hotel where John Martin met his killer
The Selby Hotel where John Martin met his killer

Thirty-three-year-old John Henry Martin was an unemployed hairdresser who, on the night of November 14, 1981, met a male prostitute at the Selby Hotel. Martin was later stabbed several times in his sixth-floor Jarvis St. apartment. He lived just a block away from police headquarters.

Police said Martin picked up the prostitute while his roommate, Ross Ball, 33, was away. His body was discovered by Ball when he returned. Martin was found on a blood-soaked couch with stab wounds to the chest and head. Police located a broken knife in the apartment.

Martin had refused to pay a male prostitute for sexual services. In retaliation, the prostitute complained to a friend that he’d been “ripped off by a trick.” He pointed Martin out to his friend, . Holness said “Maybe I should kill the goof.” After Martin’s death, it was reported Holness said he “had taken care of the man.”

Holness and his partner in crime stabbed Martin 25 times and hit him with a barbell. Parts of the knife remained in Martin’s skull.

Black and white photo of murder victim John Martin

On January 21, 1982, Holness was arrested at a Yonge Street hotel. Holness, 23, had no fixed address and also worked as a male prostitute. He was charged with first-degree murder.

On March 17, 1982, police arrested Gary Michael Hilton, 22, of no fixed address, as a co-accused.

Holness and Hilton were both found guilty of first-degree murder in December 1982 of the stabbing and beating death of Martin and were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Hilton’s sentenced was reduced to 12 years after he won an appeal against the conviction of first-degree murder; he was subsequently convicted of second-degree murder.

On February 21, 1985, Holness was killed in the Millhaven Penitentiary’s exercise yard while prisoners were returning to the prison building. He was 27 at the time.

Gary Michael Hilton, his co-accused in the Martin murder, was charged with first-degree murder. Hilton pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received a 2nd life term with eligibility for parole after 15 years.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: John Henry Martin
Age: 33
Gender: Male
Date of Death: November 14, 1981
Manner of Death: Stabbed and blunt force trauma
Location: Jarvis St.
Suspect Name: Edward Michael Holness and Gary Michael Hilton
Conviction & Sentence: Both convicted of first-degree murder and life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Hilton appealed, and was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years. Hilton later killed Holness.

Hammer and Electrical Cord

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

David Murphy, 61, was a freelance artist, killed June 28, 1981 in his own Brimley Acres senior’s apartment at 2950 Lawrence Avenue East. He was found dead with his skull smashed in and he had been robbed. He sustained more than 20 blows to the face and head. An electrical cord was knotted around his neck.

Google black and white photo of Brimley Acres
Brimley Acres

Pathologists believe strangulation via the electrical cord is what killed Murphy.

Murphy had met his killers in Allan Gardens and had unknowingly invited the would-be murderers to his home.

David Clarence Marshall Thompson, 32, and Lloyd Edward Wilson, 38, both of Kingston, were charged with second-degree murder. Thompson had escaped from prison where he was serving time for two robberies, when he committed the murder. Wilson had been released from prison just three weeks prior to the murder.

Black and white photo of murder victim David Murphy

Wilson had confessed in a five-page statement to police on November 19, almost a month after Thompson was arrested. A psychologist testified in court that Wilson had a “pathological dependency” on Thompson, and Wilson said he confessed only to get Thompson “off the hook”.

Madame Justice Janet Boland of the Ontario Supreme Court noted that neither Thompson nor Wilson showed any remorse. “I have considered the gruesome details of the grisly event. This was not a killing but an execution,” she said.

Wilson was sentenced to life for second-degree murder.

Thompson was also found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: David Murphy
Age: 61
Gender: Male
Date of Death: June 28, 1981
Manner of Death: Strangulation and blunt force trauma
Location: 2950 Lawrence Avenue East
Suspect Name: David Clarence Marshall Thompson and Lloyd Edward Wilson
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison

Homicidal ‘Drag Hooker’

35 Wynford Heights Crescent
35 Wynford Heights Crescent

Forty-two-year-old Marlon John McRae of 35 Wynford Heights Crescent was found March 1, 1981 lying in a pool of blood in the building’s underground parking garage. The attack was so savage, friends in the building had difficulty identifying him. He had lived there nine years. Even at the morgue, the building superintendent could not identify him.

Homicide detectives said McRae’s wallet was stolen and his apartment keys were missing. Police noted the apartment did not appear ransacked.

McRae, a chartered accountant and comptroller with MCA Records Canada, died from massive blood loss as a result of stab wounds to the neck and chest. No weapon was found at the scene. He had been stabbed in the driveway and then staggered into the underground garage. Police were on the lookout for his 1974 Mercury Cougar.

Black and white photo of murder victim Marlon McRae

McRae’s blood-splattered car was found just a day after his murder, parked outside the Catholic Children’s Aid Society at 26 Maitland Street. Police would determine later that it was parked across the street from where the killer’s ex-wife lived.

On September 20, police announced the arrest of Andrew Guy Ritchie, a twenty-three-year-old part-time laborer, in McRae’s death. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Ritchie had dressed as a “drag hooker,” strapped one knife to his leg and another to his hip, and went out looking for “homosexuals to slash up”. Ritchie and McRae met on Yonge St., and went back to McRae’s home. When Ritchie discovered there was no marijuana to smoke, McRae offered to take him back downtown. Ritchie stabbed McRae eight times in the upper torso as they were leaving the garage. McRae also had five defensive wounds to his hands. He was likely stabbed in the back first.

Ritchie had army training “in how to use knives and inflict pain,” the court was told.

On December 20, 1982, Ritchie was found guilty of second-degree murder by a jury which sought “an extraordinarily harsh sentence. The jury was “badly divided” on the matter of parole eligibility: two recommended the minimum 10 years while 10 recommended the maximum 25 years. The finding of first-degree murder would have required a mandatory 25 year parole eligibility. The judge called the finding of second-degree murder “charitable.”

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years. Ritchie was described as “psychopathic and highly likely to commit crimes of violence when he finds himself on the street,” said Justice John O’Driscoll, quoting from a psychiatric report before sentencing.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Marlon John McRae
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Date of Death: March 1, 1981
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 35 Wynford Heights Crescent
Suspect Name: Andrew Guy Ritchie
Conviction & Sentence: Second degree murder with no chance of parole for 18 years

No Clear Motive

Murder house at 45 Badgerow Avenue, Toronto

Thirty-six-year-old Diane (Brian or Bryan William) Edwards was not the only person attacked when someone broke into a house at 45 Badgerow Ave. at 4:30 in the morning on October 21, 1979. Micheline Ferland, 35, Rosemary Doohan, 30 and Casey Doohan, 6, were also beaten. Edwards was the only one who died.

Edwards, whom police described specifically as a transvestite (and who may have been scheduled for gender reassignment surgery a week later) was brutally attacked with a butcher knife and baseball bat. The bat was later found in an alley two doors away. The knife was found in the home.

“He was after Diane in particular,” said Ferland. He said he was going to kill “the gearbox,” she said. Gearbox is a derogatory name for a gay man. Ferland said she and Doohan tried to prevent the attack. “Three of us ended up in hospital and one of us is in the morgue.”

Michelle Ferland photo by Don Dutton, Toronto Star
Michelle Ferland photo by Don Dutton, Toronto Star

Edwards, who was asleep on the couch at the beginning of the attack, was stabbed in the heart and severely beaten with the baseball bat.

Gregory Thomas Cooper, 25, also known as Robert Douglas Anderson, was arrested shortly after the murder, and charged with second-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.

Police officer guards door of murder house- Photo by Jim Wilkes, Toronto Star
Police officer guards door of murder house- Photo by Jim Wilkes, Toronto Star

At trial, psychiatrist R. Wood Hill testified that Cooper experienced a “command hallucination” telling him to kill, but there was never a clear motive for the murder. After the initial attack, Cooper drank a beer and attacked Edwards again, who was still alive. He then slashed Edwards’ throat and left. Cooper had consumed about 20 bottles of beer prior to the killing.

On May 27, 1980, Cooper was found not guilty by reason of insanity on all charges and Justice John Osler sentenced him to be confined indefinitely at a maximum security hospital. His sentence will be reviewed annually.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Diane (Brian or Bryan William) Edwards
Age: 36
Gender: Female
Date of Death: October 21, 1979
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma, stabbed
Location: 45 Badgerow Ave
Suspect Name: Gregory Thomas Cooper also known as Robert Douglas Anderson
Conviction & Sentence: Not guilty by reason of insanity, confined indefinitely at a maximum security hospital, sentence reviewed annually

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

Stomped To Death

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

Neil Robert Wilkinson, 35, was found beaten, stabbed and asphyxiated in his Charles St. East apartment on December 15, 1977. Wilkinson “was known to hang out at the Parkside and St. Charles” taverns. Wilkinson left the Parkside on December 9 just after 1 a.m. with two friends.

He was found nude on his bed, dead, after he failed to show up to work at the Royal Bank for four days. Wilkinson died from asphyxiating on his own blood. His killer was arrested the next month.

Twenty-four-year-old James Allan Walker of no fixed address was arrested on January 30, 1978, in the Parkside Tavern and charged with first-degree murder. Walker pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the Crown rejected the offer. Justice Donald Morand ordered the trial by jury to proceed.

Photo of murder victim Neil Wilkinson
Photo of murder victim Neil Wilkinson

After alcohol and marijuana, Wilkinson started to talk about sexual fantasies including young children, and that made Walker enraged. A witness testified in court that Wilkinson was interested in bondage. Walker “kicked and stomped” Wilkinson to death and then showered before leaving. Walker’s feet were injured as a result of stomping on Wilkinson’s face. He could not explain why he was also naked, saying “I don’t know… Sorry, I can’t think of an answer.” He later testified that he took his clothes off to stop Wilkinson from taking them off.

Walker was found guilty of second-degree and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 12 years.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Neil Robert Wilkinson
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 15, 1977
Manner of Death: Asphyxiation
Location: Charles St. East
Suspect Name: James Allan Walker
Conviction & Sentence: second-degree and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 12 years