Written By: JASR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Canadian serial killer Bruce McArthur worked as an independent landscaper who hid his victims’ remains in large planters. In 2019, McArthur pleaded guilty to murdering eight men in Toronto.
McArthur was born on October 8, 1951 – spending his childhood with his sister and his parents in a bungalow near Woodville, Ontario. His parents, Islay and Malcolm “Mac” McArthur, ran a kind of foster center.
According to a family friend named Mary Anne MacEachern, parents from Toronto would send their troubled children to the McArthurs so they could get away from trappings of city life.
“There was always kids coming and going. Lots of times there would be maybe six to 10…. I never, ever heard any of those kids ever complain about being there,” she said.
This allowed the McArthur family to earn a good reputation around town.
Robert MacEachern, who grew up a few kilometers away from the McArthurs, remembered Bruce McArthur as a typical schoolmate. On the other hand, Ron, MacEachern’s brother, remembered McArthur differently.
“He was the teacher’s suck,” Ron said. “He never got into any trouble. Like, we were in a one-room school — boys, we done shit. He was always sucking up to the teacher. If we got into trouble, he’d run in and squeal on us. He just wasn’t like the rest of the boys.”
McArthur and a woman named Janice Campbell were married by 1986. They had one girl and one boy.
He was 35 when he bought his home in Oshawa. He worked as a salesman for McGregor Hosiery and Stanfields in 1993 – placing socks and underwear in department and clothing stores.
McArthur reportedly came out of the closet gradually in the late 1990s. He left his wife and family in 1998 or 1999 and moved into Toronto proper because there was no gay community in Oshawa at the time. He later attempted to gain work as a landscaper.
McArthur met his victims on dating apps and murdered them in a “planned and deliberate” way, said Crown attorney Michael Cantlon. According to Cantlon, most of McArthur’s victims “sported facial hair and/or a beard. Six of the victims were immigrants, and of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent.”
All the killer’s victims had similarities that would make victimization harder to detect. Cantlon explained that some had to live parts of their lives in secret because of their orientation, while others lacked stable housing. McArthur took advantage of these vulnerabilities.
Investigators say that McArthur likely used his landscaping business to hide human remains.
McArthur pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of eight men between 2010 and 2017. He killed Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi, Dean Lisowick, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, and Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam.
Cantlon revealed that McArthur was arrested during an encounter with his supposed ninth victim.
A man identified as “John” went to the killer’s home in January 2018. According to text messages between John and McArthur, they met on a gay dating app and agreed to keep their affair private.
In the killer’s apartment, John was handcuffed to the bed with a black bag over his head. The victim was able to get the bag off, but McArthur attempted to tape his mouth shut. At that moment, they heard a knock from the police.
Police discovered a USB device with nine folders during their investigation. The folders had several of the eight victims’ names, and the final folder was labeled “John.” It had photos of John that McArthur downloaded the same day he murdered Kinsman.
“A forensic analysis of Mr. McArthur’s computer showed that on the day of Mr. Kinsman’s murder, Mr. McArthur had searched for John and downloaded photographs of him from social media,” Cantlon said.
McArthur also had photos he took of his victims. Some posed nude in a fur coat, and at least one victim had his eyes taped open.
According to Cantlon, the killer “restrained and sexually assaulted” his victims and strangled them to death.
McArthur will be eligible to apply for parole after spending at least 25 years in prison. He will be 91 by his first chance at parole. However, Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon told the courtroom that there is little chance that McArthur will ever be granted parole.
McMahon also mentioned that even though McArthur took responsibility by pleading guilty, “there has been no evidence of remorse” during his police interactions.
“Bruce McArthur is a sexual predator and killer who lured his victims and ended up killing them for his own warped and sick gratification,” he said. He believes the killer “would have kept killing” if he were not apprehended in January 2018.
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