Serial killer Bruce McArthur murdered eight men from Toronto's gay village for "his own warped and sick gratification", an Ontario judge said Friday as he sentenced the 67-year-old to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.
For friends and family of the eight men murdered by McArthur, the sentencing was the culmination of his guilty plea last week, and the arduous days in court that followed - listening to the horrifying details of how he killed his victims, and delivering victim impact statements.
Reporters Adrian Ghobrial and Momin Qureshi are covering the sentencing. The Church-Wellesley community had long feared there was a serial killer in their midst and the police denied it.
"I don't know that I can properly describe the pain and suffering that I and my family have gone through over the years and I believe this suffering will continue to affect us forever".
Because numerous facts presented at the hearing were so lurid, prosecutors cautioned people against remaining in court to hear them.
He won't be eligible for parole for 25 years, meaning McArthur will be 91 by the time he can apply for release.
His age was also a factor in deciding when McArthur should be eligible to apply for parole.
The Crown is seeking a life sentence with no chance of parole for 50 years. "There's a fine line between retribution, which is an appropriate sentencing principle, and vengeance". "He also exploited others through a belief he was their friend", McMahon said.
"If the accused had either had a trial or would have been a younger man, I would have had no hesitation of imposing a consecutive parole".
"The ability to decapitate and dismember his victims, and to do it repeatedly, is pure evil", McMahon said.
Chief Mark Saunders agreed: "I do not see him in a public setting again".
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"I remember seeing Bruce McArthur sitting outside Starbucks".
"If he were to be paroled we would have to start questioning our sentencing in the country". "In this case, life will mean life at the end".
During the two hours it took for the judge to read his reasons for sentencing, McMahon recounted other cases he had looked into involving multiple murders, in which the accused had pleaded guilty.
Serial killer Bruce McArthur is being sentenced Friday.
McMahon also says he has no doubt McArthur would have continued to kill if he wasn't arrested by police previous year. Evidence revealed in a hearing showed McArthur kept items from his victims and had photographs of them on his computer.
He killed and dismembered the men between 2010 and 2017, and allegedly hid seven of the corpses in planters and the eighth in a ravine.
McMahon said: "All or most of the victims were vulnerable individuals who were lured to their death. I find this exploitation of their vulnerability to be extremely aggravating".
In this July 5, 2018, file photo, members of the Toronto Police Service excavate the back of a property in Toronto during an investigation in relation to Bruce McArthur.
"This is a crime of stark horror", prosecutor Michael Cantlon said in a statement after the sentencing. "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".
Toronto Mayor John Tory called the murders "heinous".
For several days, they sat together in a Toronto courtroom, connected to one another, as Superior Court Justice John McMahon put it, through "a collective nightmare".