Bruce McArthur pleads guilty to 8 counts of first-degree murder
Paul F. Schubert
Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty this morning to eight counts of first-degree murder for the horrific deaths of eight men with connections to Toronto’s Gay Village.
McArthur, a 67-year-old landscaper who wasn’t expected to go on trial until January 2020, registered surprise guilty pleas in a packed courtroom on University Avenue.
Mcarthur is asked to plead to each charge one by one.
Mcarthur quietly, but clearly says “guilty”, to each one, as family and friends of the victims look on from the gallery.
— Momin Qureshi (@Momin680NEWS) January 29, 2019
McArthur is now Toronto’s most notorious serial killer. His victims went missing between 2010 and 2017.
Toronto Police Services have said that seven of the victims’ remains were found in planters at a residential property on Mallory Crescent in Leaside where McArthur had worked. The eighth victim’s remains were found in a nearby ravine.
Timeline: The disappearances and the investigation
In court, the Crown read aloud a brief statement of facts. He said the crimes were sex-related. The men were murdered while they were confined, and then they were dismembered.
The Crown confirmed that McArthur placed the remains in planters and in a ravine behind the Mallory Crescent home.
The Crown also said some of the victims’ property and jewellery was found in McArthur’s apartment.
Full details of the crimes will be made public during the sentencing hearing next week. Victims’ families will be given the option to file victim impact statements before the sentencing hearing which begins on Feb. 4.
“Today Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to murdering eight innocent men. It is my hope that he will be put away for these heinous crimes and never again know freedom,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement.
“I’m hoping it’s closure for a lot of people. I’m hoping it’s starting that process towards closure. We unfortunately can never bring these men back, but I’m hoping we can start bringing some closure to the families and the communities,” Det. David Dickinson said outside the courthouse.
McArthur was a self-employed landscaper. He was previously married with two children before coming out as gay. He lived in Oshawa before moving to Toronto in the late 1990s.
Prior to 2010, he had only one major encounter with the law when he assaulted – without provocation – a male sex worker in 2001.
In 2010, Skandaraj Navaratnam – the first of McArthur’s eight victims – had gone missing. However, it wasn’t until the 2017 disappearances of the seventh and eighth victims – Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman – that McArthur became a suspect.
He was eventually arrested and charged in 2018.
“Our city deserves two things, justice and answers,” Tory said. “I know that the public continues to have many questions related to the case, and so do I.”