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Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur pleads guilty

Last Updated Jan 29, 2019 at 10:55 am PDT

Bruce McArthur brought into court for his arraignment at College Park, College Park, Oct. 22, 2018. Sketch: Pam Davies
Summary

According to agreed statement of facts, McArthur kept several of victims' items; notebook, jewellery found in apartment

TORONTO (NEWS 1130) –  Bruce McArthur has pleaded guilty to all eight counts of first-degree murder.

All eight of his victims went missing from Toronto’s gay village between 2010 and 2017.

Police have said they recovered the remains of seven of the men in large planters at a home where McArthur worked as a landscaper. The remains of an eighth man were found in a nearby ravine.

McArthur appeared in court Tuesday in handcuffs wearing a black sweater, collared shirt, and blue jeans.

He pleaded guilty to each charge as it was read out loud in court.

McArthur, a 67-year-old self-employed landscaper, was arrested in January 2018.

Police eventually charged him with first-degree murder in the deaths of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.

Toronto Homicide Detective David Dickinson says the guilty pleas will spare the families of his victims the trauma of a trial.

“I’m hoping its closure for a lot of people, I’m hoping it’s starting that process towards closure,” Dickinson said. “We, unfortunately, can never bring these men back but I’m hoping we can start bringing some closure to the families and the communities.”

McArthur kept victims’ jewellery, notebook

According to the agreed statement of facts, McArthur kept several of the victims’ items, including jewellery from Dean Lisowick and a notebook from Selim Esen. Both items were found in his apartment.

The Crown also said DNA of the victims was found in McArthur’s van and in his apartment.

 

The victims went missing from Toronto’s gay village between 2010 and 2017. The city’s LGBTQ community had long said a killer was preying on men who had vanished from the area.

Police said they recovered the remains of seven men in large planters at a residential property on Mallory Crescent in Leaside where McArthur worked, while the remains of an eighth man were found in a nearby ravine.

Karen Fraser, who lives on Mallory Crescent where the remains were discovered, was also present at the hearing on Tuesday and told reporters there were two sides to McArthur.

“He was the best friend, neighbour, relative, that anyone could want, that was Bruce A; Bruce B, who was that? I don’t know,” she said.

WATCH: Mallory Crescent homeowner reacts to Bruce McArthur’s guilty plea

 

A sentencing hearing in which victim impact statements will be read has been scheduled for next Monday. Three days have been set aside for the hearing.

First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

RELATED: Timeline in the case of Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur

Police spent months combing the property and also sent cadaver dogs to more than 100 properties linked to McArthur.

Forensic officers also scoured McArthur’s apartment for four months, moving centimetre by centimetre through the residence with the belief it was an alleged murder scene. They seized 1,800 exhibits and snapped more than 18,000 photographs of the scene.

Lead detective Insp. Hank Idsinga has said the McArthur investigation marked the largest forensic examination in the force’s history.

The force’s cold case squad is currently investigating a series of homicides in the 1970s related to men with ties to the gay village, but Idsinga has said they’ve found nothing to link those to McArthur.