McArthur sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for 25 years
Codi Wilson, CP24.com
Published Friday, February 8, 2019 5:38AM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 8, 2019 11:07PM EST
Serial killer Bruce McArthur, who was handed a mandatory life sentence on Friday for brutally murdering eight men between 2010 and 2017, will be eligible to apply for parole at the age of 91.
The ruling was made by Justice John McMahon on the final day of sentencing for the 67-year-old former landscaper, who pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder last week.
The offence of first-degree murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole for 25 years, but a law enacted in 2011 now allows judges to use their discretion to sentence multiple murderers to additional periods of parole ineligibility.
The Crown requested that the judge sentence McArthur to a 50-year parole ineligibility period due to the heinous nature of his crimes but his request was ultimately denied.
McMahon, who read out his decision for sentencing in court on Friday morning, said McArthur’s choice to waive a preliminary inquiry and plead guilty to his crimes was one of the primary factors in deciding not to sentence McArthur to consecutive parole ineligibilities.
“An early guilty plea must be considered a mitigating factor when addressing a fair and fit sentence,” he said.
“I am absolutely convinced that should this matter have proceeded to trial, because of the graphic nature of much of the evidence, it would have a terrible impact on the family and friends, and the community.”
His age was also a factor in deciding when McArthur should be eligible to apply for parole.
McArthur will be 91 years old before he can even apply for parole, an application, McMahon said, that would likely be denied.
The judge also noted that most men do not live to the age of 91.
“If the accused either had a trial or would have been younger, I would have had no hesitation in imposing consecutive parole ineligibility terms to protect the public and address general deterrence, retribution and denunciation,” he said.
McArthur would have continued killing, judge says
McArthur's victims were Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.
In his decision, McMahon said McArthur “lured the men to their deaths” likely on the promise of consensual sexual activity.
“The accused exploited his victims’ vulnerabilities, whether they involved immigration concerns, mental health challenges, or people living a secretive double life. He also exploited others through a belief he was their friend,” McMahon said.
He said the men suffered a “slow and painful death” for the “sexual gratification” of McArthur.
“He staged six of his victims in perverse and degrading fashions, and then photographed them. The victims’ bodies were manipulated, positioned with ligatures around their necks, and dressed with fur clothing and cigars in some of their mouths,” McMahon said.
“His digital file folder for each victim allowed the accused to keep, revisit, and enjoy the brutality of his killings. Some of his victims never even got a name for the file, and were simply referred to as #4 or #5.”
McMahon added that the “greatest post mortem indignity” was that McArthur “systematically cut up in pieces and buried” his victims in planters on an “unsuspecting person’s property in Leaside.”
“The ability to decapitate and dismember his victims and do it repeatedly is pure evil,” McMahon said. “This degradation and indignity of the victims shows a complete lack of humanity.”
McMahon also noted the profound negative impact McArthur’s crimes have left on the victims’ friends and family.
“First, their loved ones went missing… in many of the victim impact statements friends and families recount searching for months on end fruitlessly, holding on to hope their loved one was alive and well,” he said.
“They were victimized again when they learned the horrific truth.”
McMahon also addressed the impact the murders have had on the LGBTQ community.
“In a community that works to foster feelings of openness and belonging, Mr. McArthur’s crimes have instilled fear and distrust. Worries about entering relationships, and fear of becoming a victim,” he said.
“The accused’s brutal killings have devastated the LGBTQ community. The community will never be the same.”
McMahon called McArthur a “morally bankrupt” and “dangerous serial killer” who likely would have gone on killing if he had not been apprehended.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday afternoon, Police Chief Mark Saunders said he supports the decision made by the judge.
“I do not see Bruce McArthur seeing daylight," Saunders said. "If he were to be paroled I think we would have to start questioning sentencing in this country."
In a statement released Friday, Mayor John Tory said he hopes McArthur will "never again know freedom."
"It is my hope that... this sentence begins the difficult journey of delivering justice to the victims of these crimes, their friends and families, our LGBTQ community, and our entire city," he wrote. "These men must never be forgotten."
Speaking outside the courthouse on Friday, Rev. Deana Dudley, of The Metropolitan Community Church, said members of the LGBTQ community are split on the judge's sentencing decision.
"Some people want him locked up for 200 years. I get that completely. But I also understand the judge's reasoning," she said.
In a written statement released immediately following the judge's decision, Crown attorney Michael Cantlon said he hopes the community can begin to heal now that the criminal proceedings have concluded.
“This is a crime of stark horror. The murder of eight of our citizens has impacted many: Family, chosen family, the LGBTQ community, and the city in which we live and work," the statement read.
"Although there can be no closure from a crime of this magnitude, we hope that these eight convictions for first-degree murder will assist our community in beginning a new chapter of healing.”