Serial killer Bruce McArthur has pleaded guilty to eight counts of First Degree murder.
McArthur admitted to the murders of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Soroush Mahmaudi, Dean Lisowick, Majeed Kayhan, Skanda Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam.
Through a brief agreed statement of facts in court on January 29, it was revealed that McArthur was deliberate in the planning of the murders. A total of six of the eight murders were sexual in nature, involving ligature and confinement and some of the victims’ bodies were staged after they were killed.
Crown Attorney Michael Cantlon said police found a bracelet during a search of McArthur’s bedroom. They also found a duffel bag with duct tape, a surgical glove, zip ties, syringes and a black bungee cord. DNA of victims was also found in his van and clothing.
It was also disclosed that he kept a notebook belonging to Esen and Lisowick’s jewelry, both of which were recovered during the investigation.
Haran Vijayanathan, the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention executive director, said the guilty plea will result in some closure for the victims’ families.
“I have been in touch with most of them,” he said. “It is really tough because sitting there and listening to the families sort of explain the fact that they don’t know what is going on or they don’t seem to understand fully what is happening and the fact that their loved one is gone in such a horrific way was the tough part. Today, there is a sense of relief but also a sense of confusion as to why.”
Det. David Dickinson, the lead investigator, recognized and acknowledged the family and friends of the victims in the case.
“It has been a long and traumatic process and many made the difficult decision to attend in person today,” he said. “Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the community as a whole. We would not be here if not for the assistance provided during this investigation by all of them.”
Dickinson said he and the investigative team are pleased that McArthur pleaded guilty.
“It has spared the community and those who knew the victims a lengthy trial,” he added. “I believe that this is the best possible outcome for the families and the community. This process is not over as we will be back next month to move forward with submissions for sentencing.”
Insp. Hank Idsinga, the head of the Toronto Police Homicide unit, said the guilty plea is the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by investigators.
“Many members of Project Prism and Houston are here today and I thank them for their perseverance,” he said. “There was also some incredible work completed in the past year by the team of Crown Attorneys assigned to the case and we are very grateful. I would also like to thank all members of the Service who played a role, no matter how big or small, to help us to get to this point of the process.”
Project Houston was formed to investigate the disappearance of three men known to frequent Toronto’s Gay Village between 2010 and 2012. They were Navaratnam, Kayhan, and Faizi.
Project Prism was established to probe the disappearances of Kinsman and Esen.
Dickinson came in for high praise from Idsinga.
“His work during Project Prism and his work preparing the case for court has been outstanding,” Idsinga added.
McArthur, 67, will be back in court on February 4 for a sentencing hearing.