On Tuesday January 29, Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first degree murder, admitting in a Toronto court to the murders of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Soroush Mahmaudi, Dean Lisowick, Majeed Kayhan, Skanda Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam.
McArthur, a 67-year-old Canadian landscaper, who killed gay men and buried their remains in plant pots, said in an agreed statement that he had planned all of the murders, reported Toronto Police Service News.
The case is one marred in criticism, when police rejected the ideas that a serial killer targeting gay men was on the prowl in Toronto. The police also came under fire and was accused of racism for not being more active in the investigation because many victims were refugees from Afghanistan, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Iran.
The authorities took a special interest in McArthur after he was involved in the spate of disappearances in September 2017. On 18 January 2018, officers burst into his residence and found a potential victim bound to his bed, apparently in imminent danger.
The victims’ belongings were discovered in McArthur’s home, as well as a bag with duct tape, a surgical glove, zip ties, syringes and a black bungee cord. DNA of victims was also found in McArthur’s van and clothing.
More disturbingly, the police found the remains of eight individuals in pots used by McArthur in his landscaping business.
“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,” said Haran Vijayanathan, the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention executive director.”
“Today, there is a sense of relief but also a sense of confusion as to why,” he added.
The court heard that six of the eight murders were sexual in nature.
Detective David Dickinson, the lead investigator, said that McArthur’s guilty plea was “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,” he added.
McArthur returned to court on Monday February 4 for a sentencing hearing where he was handed a life sentence with no chance of parole.
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