Bruce McArthur case: Court to hear details of murders, victim impact statements

Bruce McArthur is set to appear in a Toronto courtroom Monday morning as a sentencing hearing gets underway for the man who pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder last week.

Over the course of multiple days, Justice John McMahon will hear an agreed statement of facts — a submission outlining evidence details of the murders — and victim impact statements from family members.

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

Most of the murders were described in court documents as “sexual in nature,” and there were many instances cited that involved staging as well as evidence of ligatures being used.

The court heard that McArthur, a 67-year-old self-employed gardener, dismembered his victims’ bodies at a home on Mallory Crescent in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood where he kept his gardening materials in “an effort to avoid detection.” Remains were found in planters at the property and at the side of the ravine behind the home.

In McArthur’s bedroom, documents said officers found a bag with duct tape, a surgical glove, rope, zip ties, a bungee cord and syringes as well as DNA belonging to multiple victims inside McArthur’s van. The court also heard that McArthur kept items belonging to some of his victims.

In 2010, Navaratnam and Faizi — both of whom were last seen in Toronto’s Church and Wellesley Village — were reported missing, while Kayhan was reported missing in 2012. All three men died close to when they were reported missing.

Shortly after Kayhan’s disappearance, Toronto police launched Project Houston to investigate the disappearance of men from the village. Police ended Project Houston in 2014, saying the evidence at the time didn’t result in a criminal suspect.

Mahmudi, who was reported missing in August 2015, died that same month. Lisowick and Kanagaratnam — neither of whom were reported missing — died in 2016.

Global News learned through a police source that McArthur was arrested in 2016 in connection with an alleged sexual assault. He was interviewed by police and later released without charges.

On Friday, Global News learned that 32 Division Det. Paul Gauthier was charged with neglect of duty and insubordination related to the 2016 incident. Gauthier’s lawyer said the decision to release McArthur was made in consultation with Gauthier’s superior and “based on the information available at the time.”

Esen and Kinsman died in 2017, prompting Toronto police to launch Project Prism in August of that year to investigate their disappearances. Both were last seen in downtown Toronto. In September 2017, McArthur was identified by investigators assigned to Project Prism as “someone to be included or excluded as being involved in the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman.”

Late in 2017, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders denied there was evidence of a serial killer in the city. He also announced a review of practices surrounding missing persons investigations.

McArthur was arrested on Jan. 18, 2018 and charged with first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Esen and Kinsman. Investigators uncovered evidence the day before suggesting that McArthur was responsible for their deaths along with the deaths of other victims.

On Jan. 29, 2018, McArthur was charged in connection with the deaths of Mahmudi, Kayhan and Lisowick. Less than a month later, he was charged with Navaratnam’s death. On April 11 and 16, McArthur was charged with Faizi and Kanagaratnam’s deaths, respectively.

—With files from the Canadian Press

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