TORONTO >> Police found many photographs of the victims of serial killer Bruce McArthur on his electronic devices, a prosecutor said today as a sentencing hearing began for a former landscaper who preyed upon men from Toronto’s Gay Village.
Prosecutor Michael Cantlon earlier warned people attending the hearing that they could hear details so explicit they could affect health and wellbeing and asked them to think twice about whether they wanted to be present.
McArthur pleaded guilty on Jan. 29 to eight counts of first-degree murder. He sexually assaulted, killed and dismembered men he met in Toronto’s Gay Village district over seven years. He faces a potential sentence of life in prison with no chance for parole for 25 years or more.
Cantlon didn’t display the images during the session, but said McArthur staged some after the men were dead: Two showed corpses with cigars in their mouths. It wasn’t immediately clear if McArthur had photos of all eight victims.
Police narrowed a list of suspects for missing men from Toronto’s Gay Village after seeing surveillance video of the last victim, Andrew Kinsman, enter a red Dodge Caravan in 2017. They later linked that vehicle to McArthur and found Kinsman’s blood and semen in it.
Photos in McArthur’s devices showed he had known Kinsman for years.
Cantlon has said the cases ranging from 2010 to 2017 involved sexual assault or forcible confinement and said the bodies were hidden and dismembered. Several of the victims were strangled.
McArthur, now 67, moved to the Toronto area around 2000 and previously lived in a suburb where he was married, raised two children and worked as a traveling salesman of underwear and socks.
His landscaping business was small, but he periodically hired workers, including a 40-year-old man who disappeared in 2010.
The victims fit a pattern: Most were of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and lived on the margins of Canadian society. Their disappearances attracting little attention.
One victim hid the fact that he was gay from his Muslim family. Another was a recent immigrant with a drug problem. Another alleged victim was homeless, smoked crack cocaine and worked as a prostitute.
But then Kinsman vanished. The 49-year-old LGBQT activist and former bartender in Toronto had many friends. When he suddenly went missing the day after Toronto’s gay pride parade, his friends noticed quickly, and so did the police, who set up a task force to look into disappearances in the Gay Village.
McArthur pleaded guilty to killing Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.