Trans Advocate Murdered

Julie Berman, Toronto trans activist murdered in her home
Julie Berman, murder victim

Julie Berman was an internationally known trans rights activist living in Toronto. Fifty-one-year-old Berman was found in her Brunswick Avenue and Harbord Street area home on Sunday, December 22, 2019. Police had been called to the scene, where they found her suffering from “significant” face and head injuries. She was pronounced dead in hospital.

Berman had been attacked by 29-year-old Colin Harnack, also of Toronto. He was arrested at the scene. Toronto police have charged him with second-degree murder. Berman had invited Harnack into her home, when he attacked her. Harnack is not a known member of the Gay community in Toronto. It appears the two met that day.

Community response to the news of Berman’s murder was quick. Pride Toronto tweeted out the news. Susan Gupta, an organizer with The 519, a community centre located in the heart of the Gay Village where Berman volunteered, said “We’re remembering her with respect and dignity.”

Berman had previously served on The 519’s organizing committee for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an international day memorializing transgender people murdered in transphobic attacks. Over her 30 years working with the 519, Berman was active as an advocate and educational worker.

Her death was recognized not only in Toronto, but throughout North America, with articles from CNN, People and The Advocate.

Harnack’s social media accounts indicate he was left-wing, and supportive of trans and queer rights. He was critical of colonialism in many posts.

Police have not released a motive, and generally are not commenting about the case has not been before the courts.


Murder Village Map

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Julie Berman
Age: 51
Gender: Female
Date of Death: December 22, 2019
Manner of Death: Blunt Force
Location: Brunswick Avenue and Harbord Street area
Suspect Name: Colin Harnack
Conviction & Sentence: ongoing

Stabbing Ends Burgeoning Career

Jeffrey "Jay Tripper" Parker, murder victim, with his dog
Jeffrey “Jay Tripper” Parker, murder victim, with his dog

Jeffrey Parker was known among friends as Jay Tripper. He was a “creative gun/illustrator/graphic designer/activist bringing back colourful psychedelic vibes from the sixties and beyond!” Tripper ran a graphic design and events business called Field Trip Designs & Psymbiotiq. Friend Tim Ellis said “He was building a space for people to come together and have a community. To know him was to love him.”

Tripper was planning to move to Montreal on December 8, 2017, but did not live long enough to make it. The 35-year-old was murdered at 4p.m. on December 7, one day before he was slated to leave. He was stabbed during an attack in his home on George Street, near Allan Gardens, and died at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Twenty-two-year-old Tyler Reynolds knew Tripper, and had been invited into his home. During a disagreement, Reynolds stabbed Tripper. Reynolds was quickly located at a nearby Harvey’s restaurant. The fast food joint is known in the area as “Hooker Harvey’s” because of its location on a stretch of Jarvis Street known for prostitution. Reynolds suffered minor injuries. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.

Jeffrey "Jay Tripper" Parker, murder victim, with his dog
Jeffrey “Jay Tripper” Parker, murder victim, with his dog

A memorial for Tripper was set for December 14, 2018, and more than 250 people went. Tripper was “a larger than life presence” whose kindness and thoughtfulness would not be forgotten. He “left his own impressive mark on the live and electronic music scene. He was the Poster Boy of Poster Boys. He marched to his own drummer, had a wicked sense of humour and a heart of pure gold.” Instead of flowers, the family asked that people donate to Covenant House or Sick Kids Hospital. They wanted people to “lend a hand to someone in need,” keeping Tripper’s memory alive.

Tripper’s partner, Kevin Flynn, was devastated by the murder, as were friends and family. “When I was 21, I had cancer and Jay threw a party for me. Almost 500 people showed up. It was really a defining moment in my life,” Daniel, a former roommate of Parker’s, told CTV News. “It was very, very difficult, very unexpected,” Daniel said. “He’s not the kind of person that would get into a conflict that escalated.”

Jeffrey "Jay Tripper" Parker, murder victim
Jeffrey “Jay Tripper” Parker, murder victim

Reynold’s first court appearance was December 13, 2018. He was remanded in custody. A trial date has not been set. To protect the integrity of the case, there is limited public information on the murder.

 


Murder Village Map

 

 

Vital Statistics

Name: Jeffrey “Jay Tripper” Parker
Age: 35
Gender: Male
Date of Death: December 7, 2018
Manner of Death: Stabbed
Location: George Street near Gerrard Street
Suspect Name: Tyler Reynolds
Conviction & Sentence: not yet at trial

A Mother’s Heartbreak

Black and white photo of Toronto homicide victim Tess Richey
Murder victim Tess Richey

Tess Richey, 22, was out celebrating on November 24, 2017, with friend Ryley Simard at Crews & Tangos, a Gay Village drag bar, although Richey is not LGBTQ+. They left the bar at approximately 1:30am, heading north toward Dundonald Street where they hung out with a friend of Richey’s on her front porch. With them was an unidentified man.

Just before 4am, Simard’s boyfriend texted her and asked when she would be coming home. Simard left Richey, who had ordered an Uber car, in their company and headed south to Carlton Street to take a TTC streetcar home. Simard would never see Richey alive again.

Although the family reported her missing to Toronto Police, it would be her mother and a friend, who travelled from North Bay to look for her, who would find Richey’s body just metres from where she was last seen. Tess Richey was found at the bottom of a small exterior stairwell on November 29, 2017.

Richey was seen in the company of an unknown male, and nearby business security cameras caught him on tape. Although Police have released his image, he has not been located.

Police originally considered her death accidental, but a December 1 autopsy revealed she had died of neck compression. Friends and family were heavily critical of the handling of the missing persons report by police.

The story garnered international attention. The community created a memorial near where her body was found, which acted not only as a place to express their condolences but also their fears about the neighbourhood.

On February 5, 2018, police announced the arrest of 21-year-old Kalen Schlatter. He was charged with second-degree murder in relation to the death of Richey. A trial is pending.

Below is a 24-minute YouTube video Tess Richey made in 2014.


Murder Village Map

 Vital statistics

Name: Tess Richey
Age: 22
Gender: Female
Date of Death: November 25, 2017
Manner of Death: Strangulation
Location: 582 Church Street
Suspect Name:  Kalen Schlatter
Conviction & Sentence: pending