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February 18, 2019

Bruce McArthur, Canadian serial killer who dismembered men in gay village, gets life sentence

February 8, 2019
In this artist’s sketch, serial killer Bruce McArthur, center, attends his sentencing hearing in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. (Alexandra Newbould/The Canadian Press via AP)

A Canadian judge handed down a sentence for serial killer Bruce McArthur on Friday, condemning him to life in prison with no chance for parole for 25 years.

McArthur pleaded guilty last week to eight counts of first-degree murder. The 67-year-old former landscaper sexually assaulted, killed and dismembered men he met in Toronto’s Gay Village district over seven years.

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Justice John McMahon called McArthur a sexual predator who killed for his own “warped sick gratification” and said the victims suffered slow and painful deaths. He called their dismemberments pure evil, but said the guilty plea spared a jury four months of graphic and gruesome evidence that would have likely required counseling after.

McMahon said that even if McArthur lives to 91, the chances of him getting parole are remote at best. Prosecutor Craig Harper had asked for a parole ineligibility period of 50 years, when McArthur would have been 116. The judge said that would’ve only been symbolic.

“All or most of the victims were vulnerable individuals who were lured to their death,” McMahon said. “The accused exploited his victims’ vulnerabilities, whether they involved immigration concerns, mental health challenges, or people living a secretive double life.”

The victims fit a pattern: Most were of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and lived on the margins of Canadian society. Their disappearances attracted little attention.

One victim hid the fact that he was gay from his Muslim family. Another was a recent immigrant with a drug problem. A third was a refugee who was ordered deported. And still another victim was homeless, smoked crack cocaine and worked as a prostitute.

Many of Toronto’s LGBQT community said for years a serial killer was at work.

McArthur has been in prison since January 2018 when investigators discovered dismembered remains in planters at home he used as storage for his business. He also staged photos of some of his victims after they died, posing corpses in fur coats and putting cigars in their mouths. McArthur would access some of the photos long after the killings.

McArthur pleaded guilty to killing Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.

The prosecution said that a frequent site of the killings was McArthur’s bedroom and that he repeatedly strangled his victims either with his hands or with rope and a metal bar.

The killings took place from 2010 to 2017.

Criminal experts say it is unusual for someone to become a serial killer later in life, but the prosecution said there is no evidence of earlier murders.

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