TORONTO — A serial killer who murdered eight men from Toronto's gay village won't be able to apply for parole for 25 years.
Bruce McArthur, 67, pleaded guilty last week to committing the crimes between 2010 and 2017.
The sentence delivered by Justice John McMahon means McArthur will not be eligible to apply for parole until he is 91 years old.
The judge says McArthur's guilty plea was a mitigating factor, as was the age the serial killer will be when he can apply for parole.
McMahon also says he has no doubt McArthur would have continued to kill if he wasn't arrested by police last year.
First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no parole for 25 years, but a court can decide to impose consecutive periods of parole ineligibiliy for several convictions.
"The law is clear: a guilty plea is a mitigating factor. The second factor is the age of accused when he could apply for parole,'' McMahon said. "The accused has saved the family, friends and community at large from enduring a graphic public trial that would have been a nightmare for everyone.''
The Crown sought a life sentence with no chance of parole for 50 years, while the defence had asked that McArthur be eligible for parole in 25 years.
McArthur's victims were Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.
Court heard that many of them were immigrants and of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent. Some lived parts of their life in secret because of their sexual orientation. All of them had ties to the city's LGBTQ community.
The accused has saved the family, friends and community at large from enduring a graphic public trial that would have been a nightmare for everyone.Justice John McMahon
McArthur sexually assaulted and forcibly confined many of his victims before murdering them, court heard.
He killed most of the men in his bedroom, where he bound and then strangled them with rope, the court was told.
Then he posed their bodies for photographs, with many of the images featuring the same fur coat. Court heard he kept those images in folders on his computer labelled for each of his victims, accessing some of those photographs long after the killings.
McArthur dismembered all his victims and buried most of their remains in large planter pots at a home in midtown Toronto where he stored his landscaping equipment. One man's remains were found in a garbage bin buried in a nearby ravine.
When he was arrested in January 2018, court heard that officers found a man tied to McArthur's bed. Police later found a folder on McArthur's computer labelled with the man's name that contained images of him.
At a two-day sentencing hearing, loved ones of McArthur's victims spoke about the devastation, anger and struggles they experienced as a result of his crimes.
Many said they had long grappled with the disappearance of a son, father, brother or friend only to learn last year that their loved one had been killed.
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