By Tyler Choi
TORONTO (Reuters) – A Canadian man charged with the murder of eight men who disappeared over several years pleaded guilty to the charges on Tuesday, police said, in a case that shook Toronto’s gay community.
Bruce McArthur, a 67-year-old landscaper, was arrested last January, and most of his victims, some of whose remains were found on a property where he worked, had ties to the Gay Village area in downtown Toronto.
Toronto police have been criticized by some in the LGBTQ community for taking years to solve disappearances dating back to at least 2010 in the Gay Village neighbourhood.
Detective David Dickinson, who spoke to media at the Ontario Superior Court, said the motive for the killing was not yet known. Dickinson said sentencing would take place Feb 4 with victim-impact statements on the same day.
Police confirmed the names of the victims as Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Skandaraj Navaratnam and Abdulbasir Faizi.
McArthur will likely have the mandatory minimum of life imprisonment and be eligible for parole in 25 years, according to University of Ottawa Faculty of Law assistant professor, Kyle Kirkup.
“I hope that there will be some solace for the families and friends of the victims, and for the community more broadly,” said Rachel Giese, editorial director of the Daily Xtra, a Canadian news outlet for LGBTQ community.
“However, I don’t think this doesn’t end the questions about how this was handled by the police, and what will be done to make sure there will be true justice for the victims, for the families, and for the community.”
(Reporting by Tyler Choi; Editing by Bernadette Baum)