Toronto police chief defends handling of Bruce McArthur investigation after sentencing

Serial killer Bruce McArthur sentenced to life in prison

Serial killer Bruce McArthur's punishment for murdering eight men is exactly the same as if he'd killed just one: life without eligibility for parole for 25 years.

Last year McArthur waved his right to a preliminary hearing and last week he pleaded guilty to all eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.

McArthur lured men in Toronto's Gay Village, and later staged photos with some of the corpses, where he would dress them up in fur coats and put cigars in their mouths.

Last week, McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder.

The Crown requested that the judge sentence McArthur, a landscaper and former mall Santa Claus, to a 50-year parole ineligibility period due to the heinous nature of his crimes, but his request was ultimately denied.

McArthur will get his first chance of parole at the age of 91, but "the practical reality is that Mr. McArthur's release on parole is highly unlikely", his attorney, James Miglin, was quoted by The Globe and Mail as saying. Most of the victims, as well as McArthur himself, had deep ties to Toronto's Gay Village neighbourhood.

Top row (left to right) are Selim Esen, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick and Abdulbasir Faizi.

Justice McMahon called the crimes "pure evil".

Two of the men were periodically homeless and struggled with addiction; one was a refugee who was about to be deported; several were married men, who had not revealed their sexuality to their families. All went missing between 2010 and 2017. Kyle Rae, Toronto's first openly gay city councillor, recalled seeing him around.

Others relatives expressed rage at McArthur. He was not reported missing.

Since learning of his murder, she says she suffers from PTSD and has been unable to work.

"My pain and suffering will always be there as long as I live", she wrote.

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"I have been having awful nightmares every night and I frequently wake up sweating and crying".

"It is my hope that he will never again know freedom and that this sentence begins the hard journey of delivering justice to the victims of these crimes, their friends and families, our LGBTQ community, and our entire city", Tory said.

But prosecutors offered no insights into what drove McArthur, a father of two who left his wife in 2000, to become a serial killer.

He also took the time to commend the police investigation that brought McArthur to justice, a pointed statement at a time that the police department is under scrutiny for how it handled the early stages of the investigations into some of the victims.

When McArthur admitted guilt, lead investigator Det.

The eight victims of gay serial killer Bruce McArthur.

On the day McArthur was arrested, January 18, 2018, police surveilling McArthur saw a man, identified in the agreed statement of facts as "John", meet up with McArthur and enter his apartment.

There is now an independent review of how police treat missing persons cases, after outcry over how McArthur was able to kill undetected for seven years.

Court heard that many of them were immigrants and of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent.

Many in the LGBTQ community say it's a slap in the face, a failure to send a clear signal that their lives matter.

Currently, there is a probe underway into how Toronto police handle missing persons cases, including those connected to the McArthur probe.

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