Robbed And Beaten To Death

The Barn and Stables in Toronto, where Colin Nicholson met his killer
The Barn and Stables in Toronto, where Colin Nicholson met his killer

Colin Nicholson, 41, was found robbed and beaten on August 27, 1978, and died of severe head injuries on September 4.

Police reported that Nicholson and his roommate Albert Homer Durnan, 56, met two men at the Stables, at 418 Church St., and brought them back for drinks to their 26 St. Joseph Street apartment. A third man joined them later.

At about 1:30am, Nicholson and Durnan were attacked with a heavy iron skillet. Durnan was also robbed during the attack. The thieves stole cash, clothing, silverware and liquor before fleeing. Nicholson and Durnan both regained consciousness and contacted police. Durnan was treated and released.

Charged were Brian Robert Pasher of Tichester Road, Kerry Pierre Gallant of Lawrence Avenue West and John Stephen Sharkey Jr. of Broadoaks Drive.

Sharkey was 19 years old, and was sentenced to seven years in prison for manslaughter.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Colin Nicholson
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Date of Death: September 4, 1978
Manner of Death: Blunt Force Trauma
Location: 26 St. Joseph Street
Suspect Name: Brian Robert Pasher, Kerry Pierre Gallant and John Stephen Sharkey Jr.
Conviction & Sentence:  Sharkey Jr. was sentenced to seven years in prison for manslaughter. Pasher and Gallant are currently 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

Tied and Tortured

Grave marker for murder victim Brian Dana Latocki
Grave marker for murder victim Brian Dana Latocki

Brian Dana Latocki was 24 years old when he was murdered. On January 25, 1977, a still-unknown assailant stabbed Latocki in his home at 141 Erskine Avenue. Police said he was believed to be the “victim of a homosexual assault” after his nude body was found tied to his bed. He had been tortured, stabbed and strangled. There were knife wounds in the back and chest, but no knife was found on scene.

Photo of murder victim Brian Latocki
Photo of murder victim Brian Latocki

At about 9:40 a.m., police received a call to the residence, where they found him inside an apartment. Some items were stolen from the home, and the murderer took extreme care to remove his fingerprints from the scene.

By the end of 1977, Latocki and other gay men – Neil Wilkinson, Harold Walkley, Bernard Guay, James Stewart Kennedy and James Douglas Taylor – were dead within a two year period (1975-1977), and police were concerned about a serial killer stalking the gay community.

Police sketch of the suspect in Brian Latocki's murder
Police sketch of the suspect in Brian Latocki’s murder

Police Inspector George Sellars said he had not proved all the murders were related, but Latocki, like many of the other victims, “frequented Yonge St. homosexual bars” and had hitchhiked home from the St. Charles Tavern the night before.

In November 1978, Latocki was included in the list of 14 gay men murdered in 3 and a half years in Toronto.

 

Photo of murder victim Brian Latocki
Photo of murder victim Brian Latocki

Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Brian Dana Latocki
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Date of Death: January 25, 1977
Manner of Death: Blunt force trauma, strangulation, stabbed
Location: 141 Erskine Avenue
Suspect Name: unknown

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

Murdered in Markham

Robert Mortimore grave marker - Eckardt Cemetery Markham, Ontario
Robert Mortimore grave marker – Eckardt Cemetery Markham, Ontario

The summer of ’67 was anything but love for seventeen-year-old Robert Wayne Mortimore of Glouster Street in the Gay Village. That was year he was murdered and his body dumped in a field northeast of Markham. He was found July 17, 1967.

Mortimore’s brother had reported him missing a week earlier. His naked body was found in a field three kilometres northeast of Markham. He had been stabbed. Identification was made through fingerprints they had recently obtained after a break and enter conviction against Mortimore.

Mugshot photo of murder victim Robert Mortimore
Mugshot photo of murder victim Robert Mortimore

Mortimore was last seen alive on July 7 in the Glouster Street rooming house he shared with his brother, Reginald. An autopsy did not immediately reveal his cause of death, but it “might well be a murder.” Police said they were aware “that Mortimore supplemented his earnings by homosexual activities.”

Mortimore was one of three young men who went missing from the areas in and around Toronto’s Gay Village, although it was not known as The Village in 1967. They all turned up dead in similar circumstances.

The other young men were Eric Jones and Richard “Dickie” Hovey, but neither of those teenagers was identified for 40 years.

In August 1967, just 11 days after finding Mortimore’s body, James Henry Greenidge, later known as James Henry, was charged with capital murder. He was in a Barrie jail on the charge of the attempted murder of William Howell, 21. Henry was 28 at the time. It took Henry until January 28, 1968, to secure a legal aid lawyer.

Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge
Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge

Mortimore got into Henry’s car and was taken to a gravel road, where he asked for $20.

“He said it would cost me money and I sneered at him. He made a slice at me with a small penknife. I slapped him. I got out and started punching him. I grabbed the knife and poked him with it a couple of times. I didn’t take the kid out with the intention of doing him in. It was not premeditated,” Henry told the court.

On June 25, 1968, Henry, who was already serving 10 years for the attempted murder of Howell, was sentenced to a consecutive seven year sentence for manslaughter in the death of Mortimore after pleading guilty. The jury did not leave the jury box before rendering their acceptance of the plea of the lesser charge.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Robert Wayne Mortimore
Age: 17
Gender: Male
Date of Death: July, 1967
Manner of Death: Stabbed, Blunt Force Trauma
Location: near Markham
Suspect Name: James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry
Conviction & Sentence: Manslaughter, 7 years

Slain at Seventeen

Recreations of Dickey Hovey and Eric Jones by police
Recreations of Dickey Hovey and Eric Jones by police

In 1967, seventeen-year-old Richard “Dickey” James Hovey disappeared. In 1968, his remains were discovered. However, he remained unidentified for almost 40 years until the Ontario Provincial Police worked with coroner Kathy Gruspier and Constable Rachel Zuidervliet to create a model of his face from his skull. The Resolve Initiative did its job.

Police announce identification of Dickey Hovey
Police announce identification of Dickey Hovey

In 1966, Hovey had hitchhiked from his home in Fredericton, New Brunswick to arrive with his guitar in Yorkville, just outside the Village, where artists, bohemians and people of all sexualities joined together. He and his guitar, purchased from Sears, played gigs around the area, including the Mynah Bird Club at the corner of Yorkville and Hazelton. A year later he was struggling to survive and may have turned to prostitution for money.

Photo of murder victim Dickey Hovey and his guitar
Photo of murder victim Dickey Hovey and his guitar

Hovey was one of three young men who went missing from the areas in and around Toronto’s Gay Village, although it was not known as The Village in 1967. They all turned up dead in similar circumstances. Hovey was last seen being picked up by a “muscular black man” driving a white Corvair in the Bay and College Streets area.

The other young men were Robert Mortimore and Eric Jones.

Hovey’s decomposed remains were found in a hedgerow in a field on the 17th Sideroad of New Tecumseth, between the 2nd and 3rd Lines near Schomberg on May 15, 1968. He was naked and there was evidence that his hands had been bound with a shoelace.

The man believed to be responsible, although not tried, was James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry. Henry, who appears to still be alive, is serving a life sentence, for murdering a prostitute, in Mountain Prison, in British Columbia.

Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge
Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Richard James “Dickie” Hovey
Age: 17
Gender: Male
Date of Death: summer 1967
Manner of Death: undetermined
Location: 17th Sideroad of New Tecumseth
Suspect Name: James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry

Outrageous Acquittal

Gabriel Brunet's apartment building at 100 Maitland Street
Gabriel Brunet’s apartment building at 100 Maitland Street

On June 25, 1967, thirty-year-old Gabriel Brunet, a bartender, was murdered in his 100 Maitland Street home after being stabbed 50 times. Although his screams resonated throughout the building, no one went to his aid or called police.

Brunet’s nude body was found by his roommate, Rene Cote, 34, about 45 minutes after the attack, which police determined was around midnight. His was the 5th slaying in Toronto in three weeks. Brunet’s cat, which witnessed the assault, was captured and taken to a local animal shelter.

Gabriel Brunet's distressed cat by John McNeill, Globe and Mail
Gabriel Brunet’s distressed cat by John McNeill, Globe and Mail

A Toronto Star editorial, written June 27, 1967, said, “There is something appalling about such callous indifference to the torture and death of a fellow human being. It is also something relatively new… If this kind of indifference is the price of big city living it is too high a price – and indeed in the long run a fatal one. ”

Police reported the arrest of Dennis Henry Robertson, 23, on July 10. He was found in Calgary and was arrested by police there on another charge after walking into the police station to admit breaking into three homes. Calgary police thought he resembled the sketch issued by Toronto police, and they contacted their counterparts.

Toronto police interviewed Robertson. In his original police confession, Robertson said he asked Brunet for a bed, and then killed him “because he wouldn’t leave me alone.”

His trial for capital murder began on October 20, 1967, but the charge was reduced to non-capital murder by October 25. Robertson said that although he originally admitted killing Brunet to police, it was only because he was tired.

In court, Robertson admitted knowing Brunet and said he had been at the apartment on at least two previous occasions, but denied the murder, saying he was with a man and two women at the time of Brunet’s death.

On December 6, 1967, after nine hours of deliberation, the jury could not reach a verdict. The case was dismissed, and Robertson was tried again in February, 1968.

On February 10, 1968, Robertson was acquitted at his second trial because “he wasn’t cautioned properly by police before making a statement.” Mr. Justice Abraham Lieff of the Ontario Supreme Court directed the jury to acquit Robertson because Justice Lieff threw out the police confession, which formed the basis of the prosecution.

Justice Lieff did not blame the police for the way they took the statement, but said that, when Toronto homicide detectives arrived in Calgary to question him, they should have warned him to disregard his statements to Calgary police, and begin again.

As a result, Robertson was freed. Toronto Police consider the case closed.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

VITAL STATISTICS

Name: Gabriel Brunet
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Date of Death: June 25, 1967
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: 100 Maitland St.
Suspect Name: Dennis Henry Robertson
Conviction & Sentence: Acquitted upon instruction of the Justice

Identified 42 Years Later

Eric Jones' grave marker - St. David Municipal Cemetery Noelville, Sudbury, Ontario
Eric Jones’ grave marker – St. David Municipal Cemetery Noelville, Ontario

The body of a young man was found by a passing motorist – who had spotted a partridge and got out of his car to hunt it – on December 17, 1967, in a wooded area near Balsam Lake Provincial Park, near Coboconk. The victim was wearing one white tennis show. He remained unidentified for 42 years, even though he had the unusual feature of an extra rib on the right side.

Decades after he was found, the Ontario Provincial Police created a model of his face from his skull. The model was featured on a W5 television special about unsolved crimes, and one of dead man’s sisters was watching. She called police the next morning. On March 9, 2009, police announced they identified the remains as Eric Jones, 18 at the time of his death.

Recreations of Dickey Hovey and Eric Jones by police
Recreations of Richard Hovey and Eric Jones by police

Jones moved out on his own in May 1967 after moving to Toronto to live with an aunt. He was reported missing by his family, but was mistakenly taken off the missing persons list in the 1970s due to confusion over whether it was he or his brother named in the file.

Photo of murder victim Eric Jones
Photo of murder victim Eric Jones

Jones was one of three young men who went missing from the areas in and around Toronto’s Gay Village, although it was not known as The Village in 1967. They all turned up dead in similar circumstances.

The other young men were Robert Mortimore and Richard “Dickie” Hovey.

Map showing bodies found of William Howell (survivor), Robert Mortimore, Eric Jones and Richard Hovey - From the Toronto Star
Map showing bodies found of William Howell (survivor), Robert Mortimore, Eric Jones and Richard Hovey – From the Toronto Star

When Jones was found there was no clothing present except white tennis shoes, size 7, made in Czechoslovakia, one of which Jones was wearing. An eleven-foot length of twine was found with the skeleton. This piece of twine had a knotted loop immediately adjacent to the hand and wrist bones.

Police immediately suspected James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry. Henry, who appears to still be alive, is serving a life sentence, for murdering a prostitute, in Mountain Prison, in British Columbia. Henry is also considered the likely suspect in a similar murder in 1980 when he was out of prison. Although Henry has been questioned by police, the investigation into the murder of Eric Jones has not been closed and a reward of $50,000 remains outstanding.

Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge
Mugshot photo of murderer James Henry Greenidge

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Eric Jones
Age: 18
Gender: Male
Date of Death: summer 1967
Manner of Death: undetermined
Location: near Balsam Lake Provincial Park
Suspect Name: James Henry Greenidge, aka James Henry
Conviction and Sentence: not pursued by police

Murder Then The Beach

Murder victim Ronald Grigor and his killer Glen John Seip

On July 16, 1963, Ronald John Grigor, a 30-year-old bank account, met and was murdered by Glen John Seip, just 15 at the time. Grigor was found dead in his Shelborne Ave. apartment two days later by police.

Grigor had taken Seip home and was murdered for his “homosexual advances,” according to Seip’s defense, which made Seip “crazy with fear”. Seip was in court described as “an old hand at homosexuality”.

Grigor’s murderer then stole his convertible, some clothing and headed with two female and one male friend to Kitchener and Wasaga Beach for two days of fun in the sand. Grigor’s friends would later testify that “Seip paid for gasoline with credit cards and for food with money he said he got ‘from a queer.'”

On November 29, 1963, Seip was found not guilty of “capital” murder, instead being found guilty of non-capital murder, after striking Grigor with a 2-foot wrench, 20 times. It was reported that Seip cried when he was sentenced to life in prison.

A finding of guilty of capital murder would have meant the death penalty for Seip. On July 14, 1976, Canada eliminated the death penalty.


Murder Village Map

 

 

vital statistics

Name: Ronald John Grigor
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Date of Death: July 16, 1963
Manner of Death: Blunt Force Trauma
Location: Shelborne Avenue
Suspect Name: Glen John Seip
Conviction & Sentence: Non-capital murder, life in prison

Kew Beach Cruelty

Kew Beach photo by Toronto Daily Star
Kew Beach photo by Toronto Daily Star

Leslie William Gordon (Jack) Hern was a 36-year-old waiter who worked as a steward on CN trains in the “flashy railway dining car”. On the night of July 27, 1949, Hern met Harvey Southerby, who called himself Louis Martinello when they met. He also called himself Martinello when he was arrested and charged with Hern’s murder.

Southerby, a 21-year-old man jobless from Windsor, met Hern in a Bay Street hotel tavern when they spent some time drinking together. The older man offered him a ride. Forty-seven-year-old Joseph John Osborne said he was with Hern that night at the tavern and witnessed Hern offer the ride to Southerby, who was seated at a nearby table. He said the men left shortly afterward in Hern’s car. Defense Counsel C.L. Dubin asked Osborne if Hern had “a reputation for picking up young men and taking them home?”

Osborne answered, “I have heard that he had that reputation.” When asked why he did not accept a ride from Hern, he said, “I’m getting old – I don’t stay out so late anymore.”

Murderer Harvey Southerby
Murderer Harvey Southerby

Mrs. Llewellyn Hern said her son was friendly and generous. She and cousin Lulu MacMillan said he had been warned that acting like a millionaire and being too generous could be dangerous. Both women said he frequently picked up men he had never met before and drove them around in his “sleek, expensive car.” Sometimes he would bring them to his parent’s home for the night or weekend.

On the weekend before his death, MacMillan said Hern had brought a young man home and they had spent a couple of days together driving around in Hern’s car, and at the Hern home. Mrs. Hern said her son’s companions were usually “up and away” before she saw them, but on occasion when she did see them, the men looked to her like “undesirable companions” for her son.

Southerby took up Hern on his offer of a ride and after the two headed out to Kew Beach, the men got friendlier when they went for a walk by Lake Ontario. Hern’s brutally beaten, pantless body would be found with a spike driven through his head. Despite his fancy clothes and expensive watch, he had only $50 on him when he was killed.

Pathologist Dr. W. Burry said Hern’s left eye was closed and his left cheek bone broken. “The blows caused a cerebral hemorrhage which caused his death.” There were numerous cuts “not caused by a fall,” and four teeth were knocked out of Hern’s plate.

Hern’s body was shoved under a boardwalk on Kew Beach, and found early the next morning by three beach goers. Montrealer Ralph Cragg, one of the men who found Hern, told the court he was out with two friends when they began looking for a place to escape the heat at 2 a.m. Just as they saw the body, he said Southerby came out of the darkness and told them “That’s my friend… he’s drunk.” Thinking they were leaving Hern to sleep off the alcohol, the three friends walked away and slept the night nearby at the foot of Kenilworth Avenue.

Sunrise was at 6:01 that morning, and it was Cragg who returned shortly after to the same spot. Hern was shoved beneath the boardwalk and Cragg ran immediately to call police.

Murderer Harvey Southerby - photo by Central Press Canadian
Murderer Harvey Southerby – photo by Central Press Canadian

Police found Southerby at a different Bay Street tavern just two days later sitting with Hern’s friend Osborne. He was placed in a police identification lineup for Cragg and his visiting friends, Marion and her brother, Herbert Nelson.

Police officials said the motive was robbery, and declined to comment on “other angles” they were working on.

On November 3, 1949, Southerby was sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter. “You are extremely fortunate the jury did not convict you for murder as charged,” Justice Schroeder told him before passing sentence. “Your attack on Hern was brutal and could not be justified. But I must deal on the basis of the jury’s verdict.”

“This was not your first crime, but the others were comparatively minor. You have come from a good home, you have a kind and good father and mother, but you did not submit to their control,” Justice Schroeder said. “There is less excuse for you than for many boys who have maladjusted homes. You have given away to your own selfish whims and embarked on a life of crime. I think you are not beyond redemption.”


Murder Village Map

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Leslie William Gordon (Jack) Hern
Age: 36
Gender: Male
Date of Death: July 27, 1949
Manner of Death: Blunt force
Location: Kew Beach
Suspect Name: Harvey Southerby aka Louis Martinello
Conviction & Sentence: manslaughter, 10 years