Police Consider Cold Cases in McArthur Murders

Alleged gay serial killer Bruce McArthur

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer

Alleged Convicted gay Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur has, as of April 2018, been charged with the deaths of eight men, most of whom are gay/LGBT+. Sgt. Detective Hank Idsinga has said police are reviewing cold case murder files dating back to the 1970s where gay men were slain in the downtown core or after leaving gay bars.

Police are not specifically naming whose cases they are checking for fingerprints, DNA and other forensic evidence, but do say that with new technology, old evidence once deemed not useful may now yield results. Here are the names, in alphabetical order, of cold cases listed on Murder Village that the police may be considering. Some of the names below don’t meet the profile, and it’s possible that they are considering names of victims not listed here.

  1. David Buller, 2001: A visual studies university professor stabbed in his office, whose computerized bondage artwork was printed just before his murder
  2. Thomas Cahill, 1983: A high school art teacher stabbed in his home after meeting one or more people at a bar
  3. Larry Callahan, 2006: An older man on disability, he was beaten to death in his home
  4. Dennis Colby, 1995: A heavy drinker known for finding other gay men for sex on phone lines (before the internet and dating apps!) who was isolated and lonely
  5. Cassandra Do, 2003: A sex worker sexually assaulted and murdered in her bathtub. Police suspect a black man named “Victor” is responsible
  6. Fred Fontaine, 1975: Beaten to death in the bathroom of the St. Charles Tavern
  7. Bernard Guay, 1977: Killed in Allen Gardens during a mugging, police are looking for 3 suspects
  8. Richard Hovey, 1967 and Eric Jones, 1967: Slain teenagers whom police believe were killed by James Henry (Greenidge) but they never laid charges
  9. James Kennedy, 1976: Found beaten and strangled with a towel wrapped around his neck, last seen at the St. Charles Tavern
  10. Brian Latocki, 1977: An obvious possibility, he was tortured, stabbed and strangled in his bed
  11. Sandy LeBlanc, 1978: Owner of a popular gay bar, he was stabbed more than 100 times
  12. Ross Magill, 2008: Stabbed multiple times, police believe he let his attacker into his home
  13. Nirmal Sawle Ramnanan, 1982: Bound to a chair and stabbed multiple times, police said there were no signs of forced entry
  14. William Robinson, 1978: Found “horribly mutilated” in his home after meeting someone at the St. Charles Tavern
  15. Bruno Seidel, 1967: A quiet, mysterious man stabbed multiple times in his home
  16. James Taylor, 1976: Beaten to death in his home with a baseball bat, police say a pickup truck was seen outside his home at the time of the murder
  17. Harold Walkley, 1975: Walkely was last seen at the gay bar Quest, but reportedly left alone. He was found naked on his bed, stabbed to death

Toronto Gay Serial Killer Bruce McArthur

Alleged gay serial killer Bruce McArthur

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer

Murder Village is not a newspaper, we don’t report on crimes as they happen. The discovery and arrest of gay, Toronto-based serial killer Bruce McArthur is being covered in depth in various media (you can search links on Google, Duck Duck Go and NewsLookUp, among many others). Our site is dedicated to presenting information in a respectful way, and providing accurate information. Rarely do you get the most accurate information about a crime until a trial.

Our posts are back-dated to allow visitors to view murders in the Gay Village chronologically. We have a Bruce McArthur tag already set up, and his two four six seven eight alleged victims listed

 

Disappeared Then Dead – Victim 8

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

Andrew Kinsman, 49, disappeared from the area of Parliament and Winchester Streets , just outside the Toronto Gay Village, on June 26, 2017. He disappeared just 10 weeks after Selim Esen, triggering fear of a serial killer operating in the Village.

During a press conference, friend Ted Healey said “I’ve never known Andrew to just pick up and disappear like this… He wouldn’t not tell his housemates and his neighbours that he was leaving. He had a cat. He loved that cat [Oom] very much. He had responsibilities around the house that he lived in.”

Kinsman was well-known in the local community for his advocacy work, as a staff member of Toronto HIV/AIDS Network, and as a long-time volunteer at People With AIDS (PWA).

The 519 Church St. Community Centre held a town hall meeting for concerned citizens on August 1 to discuss these and other missing people from the community. At that meeting, Toronto Police Supt. Tony Riviere, the unit commander for 51 Division, said there’s no evidence at this point to “substantiate any criminality” or “to tell us [Kinsman and Selim Esen] are not living.” There was some talk that the disappearances of Esen and Kinsman were linked to men reported missing in 2010 to 2012, but police did not officially connect the two disappearances.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Andrew Kinsman

The police set up Project Prism, an 8-person task force to investigate the disappearances of Esen and Kisman. At the time, there was no evidence of a serial killer, no evidence the murders were linked and in fact no evidence of murder at all.

Kinsman’s family and extensive circle of friends held rallies, conducted ground searches and even interviewed people in the area, in an effort to assist police. They set up a website and ensured his “missing posters” were spread across the Village.

On January 18, 2018, police announced they had made an arrest in Kinsman’s murder. Bruce McArthur, 66, of Toronto, was arrested on Thursday morning after uncovering new evidence on Wednesday. Police had been investigating McArthur for about two months, but only found enough evidence for an arrest on Wednesday.

McArthur is a self-employed landscaper for Artistic Design who had previously had a sexual relationship with Kinsman. Investigators searched four properties in Toronto and one in Madoc, Ont., about 220 kilometres away, that were connected to McArthur. McArthur lived in Madoc

He has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder (Kinsman and Esen). Police have evidence there are other bodies. In 2012, police set up Project Houston, to investigate three missing men. “They’re all linked by geography (Church and Wellesley area); to a certain extent they’re all linked by lifestyle,” said Toronto police Det. Sgt. Michael Richmond, adding Navaratnam, Faizi and Kayhan are all also of “Southeast Asian origin.”

Project Houston failed to determine what happened to Navaratnam, Faizi and Kayhan at that time.

Kinsman’s body has not been found as of January 18, 2018. However, the police investigation is ongoing.

As of March 2018, McArthur, 66, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of eight men.

Police have conducted extensive forensic searches and found the dismembered, skeletal remains of three unidentified people in planters at 53 Mallory Crescent, where an older couple allowed McArthur to keep some of his landscaping equipment. Police are using fingerprints, dental records and DNA analysis to identify the remains.

Police report that McArthur is not cooperating with the investigation, and that it may take months or even years to complete, as they will be investigating missing persons reports over a period of decades. McArthur is currently on suicide watch.

Various organizations have criticized the police for their handling of the case, suggesting that had the first three men identified in Project Houston been white, the alleged killer may have been caught earlier. Police Chief Mark Saunders said in an interview that if people who knew McArthur had come forward during Project Houston with the information they came forward with during Project Prism and after McArthur’s arrest, the alleged killer may have been caught earlier.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


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Vital Statistics

Name: Andrew Kinsman
Age: 49
Gender: Male
Date of Death: June 26, 2017 (estimate)
Manner of Death: unknown at this time
Location: unknown at this time
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Missing Then Murdered – Victim 7

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

On April 14, 2017, Selim Esen, 44, disappeared in the area of Bloor St. East and Ted Rogers Way, on the outskirts of the Toronto Gay Village. His disappearance would be tied 10 weeks later to that of Andrew Kinsman. Selim Esen, who arrived from Turkey just a few years before his murder.

Police said both men were active on social media dating apps, and concern grew in the gay community of a serial killer.

On January 18, 2018, police announced they had made an arrest in Esen’s murder. Bruce McArthur, 66, of Toronto, was arrested on Thursday morning after uncovering new evidence on Wednesday. Police had been investigating McArthur for about two months, but only found enough evidence for an arrest recently.

He has been charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. Police have evidence there are other bodies.

Police have conducted extensive forensic searches and found the dismembered, skeletal remains of three unidentified people in planters at 53 Mallory Crescent, where an older couple allowed McArthur to keep some of his landscaping equipment. Police are using fingerprints, dental records and DNA analysis to identify the remains.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


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Vital Statistics

Name: Selim Esen
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 14, 2017 (estimate)
Manner of Death: unknown at this time
Location: unknown at this time
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Never Reported Missing – Victim 6

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

Dean Lisowick had a tough life. Struggling with homelessness and drug addiction, the 47-year-old would rely on panhandling, digging through garbage to find booze bottles to return for cash, and prostitution. Sometimes the local bars would hire him to clean floors or stock shelves. He would stay in shelters around the downtown core, and sometimes with friends.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Dean Lisowick

Because of his lifestyle, although he had friends and was a fixture in the Gay Village, Lisowick was never reported missing. Police believe he disappeared some time between April 2016 to July 2017, although people remember seeing him on April 21, 2016.

As of March 2018, Bruce McArthur, 66, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of eight men including Lisowick. Police have conducted extensive forensic searches and found the dismembered, skeletal remains of three unidentified people in planters at 53 Mallory Crescent, where an older couple allowed McArthur to keep some of his landscaping equipment. Police are using fingerprints, dental records and DNA analysis to identify the remains.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


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Vital Statistics

Name: Dean “Laser” Lisowick
Age: 47
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 21, 2016 (estimate)
Manner of Death: unknown at this time
Location: unknown at this time
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Victim was Sri Lankan Refugee – Victim 5

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

Toronto police had a photograph of a dead man’s face, and parts of his body, before they had his name. Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur, who is already facing seven counts of first-degree murder, is rumoured to have taken photographs of his victims in various poses up to and including the “death pose”. Parts of the man were found in planters, along with body parts of other victims, at 53 Mallory Crescent where McArthur, a landscaper, was storing equipment.

On March 5, and again on April 9, 2018 police released a “cleaned up” version of one of the dead men’s faces, in the hopes that someone in the community could identify him.

LGBTQ community leader Nicki Ward assisted police by using her graphic design skills and Photoshop to create a photograph that was more realistic and “alive”, based on the one police had issued, in the hopes that it would assist in the dead man’s identification.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam

On April 12, police announced they had confirmed the mystery man’s identity with the help of an unnamed international agency. Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, had never been reported as missing by his Sri Lankan family because as a refugee claimant, his family thought he had purposefully disappeared when his refugee claim was denied. Kanagaratnam was one allegedly of many of McArthur’s victims who are of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent, and are from vulnerable communities.

Kanagaratnam was one of almost 500 Sri Lankan asylum seekers on the MV Sun Sea who in 2010 claimed refugee status in Canada based on the ongoing fight between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil fighters called the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group. However, many of the men who came to British Columbia via cargo ship were suspected of being terrorists, and detained. Everyone including Kanagaratnam was detained while their identifications were verified. A poll at the time indicated about 60% of Canadians wanted the refugees sent back to Sri Lanka.

Kanagaratnam stopped contacting his family in late August 2015, and police believe it was between September 3 and December 14, 2015 that McArthur killed Kanagaratnam. His family never reported him missing to either Sri Lankan or Toronto authorities for fear it would result in his deportation, however they did use Facebook to try to reach out to him.

Unlike McArthur’s other victims, as of April 2018, police have no direct link from Kanagaratnam to the Gay Village and is not known at this time to be LGBT+. Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga, who is overseeing the McArthur investigation, raised concerns that Kanagaratnam does not fit the profile currently known about the victims. “This does create basically a wide open net,” he said.

The National Post newspaper reported on April 16 that, “according to source close to the investigation, [McArthur]changed his pattern when it came to targeting potential victims after being interviewed as a witness in the disappearance of Skandaraj Navaratnam… [and he] began to target men whom he had no links to and who fewer people would notice missing.”

However, the Toronto Star reported on April 20 that “Some members of the Tamil community say he may have been living on the streets surrounding the Church and Wellesley community. There is also speculation that Kanagaratnam could have encountered McArthur through one of his odd jobs, possibly a landscaping gig.”

Information regarding the relationship of Kanagaratnam and McArthur will be sorted out as the trial continues.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam
Age: 37
Gender: Male
Date of Death: Between Sep 3 and Dec 14, 2015
Manner of Death: unknown
Location: unknown
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Mysterious Man Murdered – Victim 4

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

Soroush Mahmudi, 50, was married to a woman and lived in the suburb of Scarborough with his stepson. When he went missing in August 2015, his wife never imagined it would take two years before she would learn a horrible truth.

Described by his wife as a great guy with a good heart, Mahmudi, originally from Iran, met his wife in Canada and had been together for 12 years before he disappeared.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Soroush Mahmudi
Homicide victim Soroush Mahmudi

Police are not yet clear on how Mahmudi met his killer, Bruce McArthur.

As of March 2018, McArthur, 66, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of eight men.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Soroush Mahmudi
Age: 50
Gender: Male
Date of Death: August 12, 2015 (estimate)
Manner of Death: unknown at this time
Location: unknown at this time
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Serial Killer Chose Man With Double Life – Victim 3

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Abdulbasir Faizi and Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam were all targets of Project Houston, a task force set up in November 2012 to investigate their disappearances. Kayhan and Navaratnam were also alleged targets of gay Toronto alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur. Project Houston did not find any evidence that the men were murdered, and therefore McArthur was never a suspect.

Kayhan, 58, was last seen on October 14, 2012 near Yonge and Alexander Streets and was reported missing by his son ten days later.

Kayhan’s double life was part of the difficulty police had in tracking his whereabouts. It was reported in media that Kayhan lived with a man part-time in the Gay Village, at the City Park Cooperative at 484 Church St.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan

In 2017, the police set up a new task force, Project Prism, to find these three missing men, and others. On January 29, 2018, police announced that McArthur was facing charges of first-degree murder against Kayhan.

As of March 2018, McArthur, 66, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of  eight men.  McArthur is currently on suicide watch.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan
Age: 58
Gender: Male
Date of Death: October 14, 2012 (estimate)
Manner of Death: unknown at this time
Location: unknown at this time
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Wife Reported Him Missing – Victim 2

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

On December 29, 2010, Abdulbasir Faizi, 42, disappeared. On April 11, 2018, Toronto police announced they charged alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur with his murder.

Faizi was a married immigrant from Afghanistan, with a wife and two daughters. He was last seen leaving his work at a Mississauga printing company around 7 p.m. on the evening of December 28, 2010. He was driving his 2002 Nissan Sentra. He was last seen in the area of Church and Wellesley Streets, in the heart of the Village, that evening. His wife reported Faizi missing to Peel police (who oversee the city of Mississauga) the next day.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Abdulbasir Faizi

Police informed Faizi’s wife, Kareema Faizi, about his double life and numerous affairs with men, and she filed divorce papers against him. Ms. Faizi wrote in the divorce papers that she visited the Gay Village a number of times in an attempt to locate him, but police had suggested he had abandoned his family and did not want to be found.

It wasn’t until McArthur was arrested and his apartment and work locations searched that police were able to confirm that Faizi was a victim of homicide. Subsequent to McArthur’s arrest, police have been heavily criticized for failing to connect the murders to McArthur sooner than they had. The Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention sent an open letter to police in January 2018 calling for a review of the police resources put into the search for these racialized men.

Toronto police said they believe Faizi was killed “on or about” December 29, 2010. His car was found seven days later on Moore Avenue, just a short drive from St. Claire Avenue and Mount Pleasant Road where McArthur worked as a landscaper. His body or a portion thereof was located in planters with other men’s body parts, and was identified in April 2018. He was identified using DNA.

Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga, who is heading up the current investigation into allegations involving McArthur, said police believe Faizi and McArthur knew each other prior to Faizi’s disappearance.

Police are continuing their search, hoping to investigate a further 75 properties associated with McArthur where remains may be found. They are waiting for the ground to thaw before bringing in cadaver dogs and digging equipment. Police are also looking into numerous unsolved murder cases of gay men in the 1970s, which are documented here on Murder Village.

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Abdulbasir Faizi
Age: 42
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 29, 2010 (estimate)
Manner of Death: unknown at this time
Location: unknown at this time
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence: Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Long Time Relationship Led To Murder – Victim 1

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victims of a serial killer
Photos of murder victims Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faisi, Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Kisowick, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman

Zipperz was a bar at the edge of the Gay Village, operating for 16 years at the corner of Carlton and Church Streets. Known for its piano players and retro dance feel, it attracted an older crowd. That’s where police believe Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam, 40, met his killer.

Navaratnam was last seen in the early morning hours of September 10, 2010, leaving Zipperz, leaving with a man. He is an alleged victim of Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur.

Navaratnam originally met McArthur in 1999 and they were “romantically involved” after Navaratnam worked for his killer as a landscaper. They continued dating, non-monogamously, until at least 2008, and their Facebook profiles are still linked.

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam
homicide victim Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam

Media reported that Navaratnam was attracted to older men, and he was the only one of the three Project Houston subjects who did not appear to live a double life, although his family never told his 80-year-old Sri Lankan mother that he was gay.

As of March 2018, McArthur, 66, has been charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of  eight men.

 

February 2019 Update: Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to 8 counts of murder, for:

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Please see our post on What is a “Life Sentence” in Canada for an explanation on the complexity of murder sentences in Canada.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Date of Death: September 10, 2010 (estimate)
Manner of Death: unknown at this time
Location: unknown at this time
Suspect Name: Bruce McArthur
Conviction & Sentence:  Life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years

Sex Worker Strangled

Black and white photo of murder victim Cassandra Do
Murder victim Cassandra Do

On August 25, 2003, Cassandro Do, 32, was found in her bathtub sexually assaulted and murdered in her 60 Glouster Street apartment by police who were responding to a call. An autopsy showed she was manually strangled. She had been scheduled to meet a client that day.

Do, a preoperative transsexual who had once worked as a nurse, was saving money for her operation, and working as a prostitute in the Gay Village. Do, who also went by the name Tula, solicited clients on her website and ads in the back of weekly Toronto newspapers.

Do’s death occurred within days of two other women’s deaths, prompting concerns from citizens and the media. Police said there was no connection, and had not at that time confirmed how one woman, a drug addict found in Parkdale, had died.

Black and white photo of murder victim Cassandra Do

On October 4, 2003, police issued a description of the suspect in Do’s killing: a black, muscular man, aged 30 to 40, 6′ 5″, about 230 pounds, wearing wire-rimmed glasses. He went by the name “Victor”. They warned all sex trade workers to be extra vigilant. DNA tests linked the assailant to the sexual assault of a prostitute in 1997, and that is where police drew their description of Do’s murderer from.

After the suspect description was released, four prostitutes contacted police to say they were beaten and sexually assaulted by a man who fit the description. On October 15, police reported the murder of another prostitute. She was from Vietnam, although her escort ads said she was from China. Do may have been the victim of a serial killer.

Police have not yet solved Do’s murder.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Cassandra “Tula” Do
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Date of Death: August 25, 2003
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: 60 Glouster Street
Suspect Name: Victor

Strangled on Tyndall

Victims and suspected victims of Toronto serial killer Peter MacDonald
Victims and suspected victims of Toronto serial killer Peter MacDonald

The body of sixty-three-year-old James “Jimmy” Thomas Campbell was found in a Parkdale apartment on April 29, 2000. Known to frequent area bars including the Gladstone Hotel (pictured below) and the Dufferin Gate, police said Campbell was strangled by his killer in the 99 Tyndall Ave. apartment. They had met in a park, went back to the apartment and had sex.

It took police 14 months and a DNA break to find his killer.

Peter Dale MacDonald Toronto serial killer
Peter Dale MacDonald Toronto serial killer

Peter Dale MacDonald, 42 at the time of the murder, was charged in the unrelated death of prostitute Michelle Charette in 2000, in Windsor, ON. DNA evidence was collected and cleared him of that murder (MacDonald would be re-charged with Charette’s murder and pleaded guilty to manslaughter in her case on February 23, 2012).

Gladstone Hotel, Toronto
Gladstone Hotel, Toronto

MacDonald’s DNA was cross-referenced, and it implicated him in Campbell’s then-unsolved murder.

The suspected serial killer was found guilty on June 26, 2001, of second-degree murder in Campbell’s death. MacDonald strangled Campbell for squeezing his testicles.

MacDonald was later charged for the murders of Julieanne Middleton, 23, Virginia Coote, 33 and Darlene MacNeill, 35, who were found dead near Sunnyside Beach between 1994 and 1997. Those charges were later dropped.

MacDonald was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with a chance of parole in 15 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: James “Jimmy” Thomas Campbell
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Date of Death: April 29, 2000
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: 99 Tyndall Ave.
Suspect Name: Peter Dale MacDonald
Conviction & Sentence: Second-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years

Spree Killer’s Last Victim

Wilkinson murder - laneway photo by Moira Welsh
Police investigation in laneway, photo by Moira Welsh

Thirty-one-year-old Deanna (Thomas) Wilkinson was the last victim of spree killer Marcello Palma, who killed three prostitutes within just a few hours on Victoria Day weekend, May 20, 1996.

Wilkinson was also a songstress who had performed at various venues, and was a poetess and short story writer. The Sex Workers Alliance of Toronto held a 150-person vigil in Allan Gardens on behalf of all victims.

Wilkinson was shot with a .357 Sturm Ruger owned by Palma, just minutes after he murdered 19-year-old Shawn Keegan on the same street. Palma had murdered Brenda Ludgate, 25, about two hours previously. Palma used Supreme Expanding Talon hollow point bullets, which inflict more damage than a regular bullet.

Marcello Palma -photo by AndrewStawicki. Brenda Ludgate, first victim, inset
Marcello Palma -photo by AndrewStawicki. Brenda Ludgate, first victim, inset

Palma had become enraged earlier in the day and had damaged cars and his office just hours before starting his spree. Palma legally owned six guns. His wife would later testify that he struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts and that even though she called his psychiatrist out of concern, she was told Palma had “not much wrong” with him. He had been seeking psychiatric help for at least five years.

Palma had admitted to a psychiatrist that he wanted to kill street people, whom he called “scum.” He was familiar with Homewood Avenue, then a well-known strip for finding trans prostitutes referred to as “Transvestite Alley”. After killing Keegan, Palma walked up Homewood Avenue, and found Wilkinson. The combination of Victoria Day fireworks and a thunderstorm may have covered the noise of the gunshots that killed Keegan.

Wilkinson was not found until 9am the next morning, shot in the head. Palma remained in Toronto for about a week before fleeing to Halifax, where police tracked him through the use of a credit card.

Marcello Palma -photo by David Cooper
Marcello Palma -photo by David Cooper

In court, heard before a judge only, Palma’s claim of insanity was denied. On April 20, 2001, Palma was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Deanna Wilkinson (aka Thomas Wilkinson)
Age: 31
Gender: Female
Date of Death: May 20, 1996
Manner of Death: Shot
Location: Homewood Avenue
Suspect Name: Marcello Palma
Conviction & Sentence: First-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years

Spree Killer Victim Dead At 19

Black and white photo of murder victim Shawn Keegan at a BBQ by Peter Power
Murder victim Shawn Keegan (wearing cap) at a BBQ, photo by Peter Power

Shawn Keegan was just 19 years old when they was murdered by Toronto spree killer Marcello Palma. Keegan, described as a “transvestite prostitute”, was killed with the same gun as “female prostitute” Brenda Ludgate, 25, and “transsexual prostitute” Deanna (Thomas) Wilkinson, 31, within about three hours, on May 20, 1996.

Keegan had lived for some time with a dozen other squatters in a vacant building, but had been evicted about 2 weeks earlier.

Black and white photo of murder victim Shawn Keegan

Palma, 33, a married man with a child, was arrested in Halifax about two weeks after spree. He admitted killing all three people, but claimed he was not criminally responsible at the time.

On the day of the spree, Palma became irate, trashed his business office and took a hammer to the cars of co-workers. He also played golf with friends (but left angry) and visited his parents.

Keegan, who was dressed as a woman at the time of their death, was pushed down some stairs and shot in the head. Realizing Keegan was not dead, Palma shot again. Residents of the apartment building notified security, who found Keegan still alive. However, they died shortly thereafter.

Marcello Palma -photo by David Cooper
Marcello Palma -photo by David Cooper

Palma then went on to kill Wilkinson very shortly afterwards. Palma remained in Toronto for about a week before fleeing to Halifax, where police tracked him through the use of a credit card.

Toronto homicide Det. Sgt. Jim McDermott called Palma a “spree killer and a serial killer.” In court, heard before a judge only, Palma’s claim of insanity was denied. On April 20, 2001, Palma was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.

Marcello Palma's truck. photo by Paul Irish
Marcello Palma’s truck. Photo by Paul Irish

Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Shawn “Junior” Keegan
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Date of Death: May 20, 1996
Manner of Death: Shot
Location: Homewood Avenue
Suspect Name: Marcello Palma
Conviction & Sentence: First-degree murder, life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years

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