Dayton Daily News
Killer of 8 gay men given life in prison
No motivation revealed for actions of Bruce McArthur.
Bruce OTTAWA, ONTARIO — McArthur, who pleaded guilty to eight murders that brought fear to Toronto’s gay community, was sentenced Friday to life with no chance of parole for 25 years.
But as his court case came to a close, the motivation of McArthur, a 67-year-old landscaper, remained unknown.
In Canada, a first-degree murder conviction brings an automatic sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. The only question before Justice John McMahon of the Ontario Superior of Court of Justice was whether to invoke a relatively recent law that extends the period for a parole hearing by allowing consecutive sentences.
McMahon said in court Friday that if McArthur had been younger the judge would have accepted prosecutors’ recommendation to extend the period before a parole hearing to 50 years. But he added that even if McArthur sought parole at 91, the chances of his receiving it would be “very remote.”
The decision Friday followed hearings earlier this week in which prosecutors laid out details about the crimes committed by McArthur, who dismembered his victims and buried their remains in a planter belonging to one of his clients, as well as in a ravine behind the client’s house.
Because many of the facts presented at the hearing were so lurid, prosecutors cautioned people against remaining in court to hear them. At the outset, prosecutors acknowledged authorities had brushed off concerns from gay residents that they were being stalked by a serial killer.
“For years members of the LGBTQ community in Toronto believed they were being targeted by a killer,” Michael Cantlon, a prosecutor, told the court. “They were right.”
McArthur’s string of murders has prompted an inquiry by a retired judge into how the Toronto police handle missing persons cases and whether investigations are influenced by the sexuality or race of those vanished.
Investigators found computer folders for his eight victims containing photographs of each of them. A ninth folder contained images of a man the police found when they came to arrest McArthur in January 2018. He was found bound to a bed with a bag over his head but otherwise unharmed.