Documents indicate alleged Toronto serial killer was at ‘low risk’ to reoffend

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A pre-sentence report and psychological assessment presented during sentencing in a 2003 assault case involving alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur, indicated there was a “low risk” he would reoffend. The assessment noted that he showed “absolutely no signs of psychopathy.”

CTV News Toronto is one of several media organizations that acquired these court documents, relating to the sentencing hearing on April 11, 2003.

The documents indicate that the Crown advised that a sentence involving real jail time was not required in the case, as initially believed, after “positive” results were shown through these analyses.

McArthur was handed a conditional sentence of two years less a day to be followed by three years of probation, after pleading guilty to assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

The 66-year-old landscaper is currently facing eight counts of first-degree murder involving eight male victims who had ties to Toronto’s LGBTQ community.

Toronto police have previously advised that Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick, Skandaraj Navartnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam were all murdered between 2010 and 2017.

The murder charges against McArthur have not been proven in court.

Back in 2003, McArthur entered a guilty plea in a Toronto courtroom for an incident that took place on October 31, 2001.

“McArthur went to the victim’s apartment and struck him from behind with a metal pipe several times causing injuries to the victim’s hands which required six weeks of physiotherapy, bruising to his body, and a five-inch cut to the back of his head that required stiches,” the court documents revealed.

“In October 2001, he went to the victim’s home and as he was getting undressed, he lost conscience (sic). When he came back to consciousness, the victim was bleeding, holding his head.”

The documents indicate that the victim called 911 after the incident and officers attended the scene. McArthur turned himself in at police headquarters saying he thought he had hurt someone. Police were able to determine who the complainant was by tracing the earlier 911 call.

“McArthur said he didn’t know why he committed the offences but admitted to consuming amyl nitrate (known colloquially as “poppers”) on that evening,” according to the documents.

The pre-sentence report and assessment by a psychiatrist were ordered during the trial. On April 11, 2003, the two documents were shown as exhibits in court. The transcript of the guilty plea and the sentencing hearing were previously released to the media, but other exhibits pertaining to the case were destroyed seven years after the conclusion of the trial, in accordance with the Toronto Police Service retention policy. Copies of the two reports, however, as well as copies of photos of the victim, his injuries and the weapon used, were still on file. The documents were ordered released to the media on Wednesday and the release of the photos will be addressed in a subsequent ruling at an unknown date.

According to the court documents, the psychiatric report concluded that McArthur’s personality profiles were “within normal range.”

“There is no trace of psychosis, no trace of hallucinations or delusions, no trace of mood disorder and no trace of any personality disorder or antisocial behaviour,” the assessment reads. “His profile portrays an exaggerated striving to be liked as well as a rigid and tense compliance to social conventions. Tendencies to want to be seen as self-effacing and nonassertive are also apparent. On the surface, he expresses a strong sense of duty to obey and follow others, as if their expectations of him must not go unmet.”

“He nevertheless possesses an alert conscience that seeks to control whatever hostile urges and thoughts he may experience.”

The analysis, conducted by Dr. Marie-France Dionne, further concluded that McArthur’s “risk for violence is very minimal.”

This analysis was conducted following an interview with McArthur on February 5, 2003 and the results were discussed with him on February 24, 2003. The documents indicate that McArthur assumed his homosexuality six years prior to this interview.

The victim in this case met McArthur through a chat line and the pair had sexual intercourse twice.

The court documents also noted that McArthur had been treated for epilepsy for “many years.”

“He has had one seizure that he is aware of at 25 years old,” the documents said. “Since that episode the subject has been taking the medication, Dilantin. He does not know if he had an epileptic seizure that could be responsible for the incident.”

In the pre-sentence report, probation and parole officer Julia Palladino recommended the following conditions for sentencing: the accused not associating with the complainant, attendance for counselling for anger management and the abstinence from the purchase and consumption of illicit drugs.

The court documents also revealed that McArthur was attempting to work full-time in landscaping but was waiting for the sentencing hearing to be completed. He was seeking a new career path after the company he worked for as an accountant for 23 years, McGregor Socks Company, closed.

McArthur is a college graduate of a general business program who was married at the age of 23 and had two children, according to the documents. He and his wife separated six years prior to the analyses being conducted, and the report said he was “actively involved with his children” and was in “regular contact with his ex-wife.”

The 66-year-old was born in Lindsay, Ont. and grew up on a farm in Argyle, Ont. The court documents indicate there was “tension” in their home due to his parents practicing different religions. His dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died when McArthur was 29 and his mother died when McArthur was 26 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

McArthur faces eight first-degree murder charges

Earlier this month, CTV News Toronto, along with several other media organizations, acquired hundreds of pages of police documents released by a judge. The documents showed that Toronto police were actively investigating, and perhaps tracking, the accused serial killer months prior to his arrest in January.

The related documents showed that tracking orders for phones and vehicles associated with the investigation were issued as early as September 2017. Former police investigator Mark Mendelson at the time said these warrants allow police to physically track a suspect without risking the prospect of being discovered.

Back in December 2017, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders downplayed the idea that a serial killer could be targeting Toronto’s gay community.

The remains of at least seven of the men were discovered inside planters at a Leaside home where McArthur worked as a landscaper.

McArthur is scheduled to appear in court again on June 22.