Consecutive life terms sought for serial killer in Canada

In this artist's sketch, serial killer Bruce McArthur, center, attends his sentencing hearing in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 4, 2019. McArthur staged photos of some of his victims after they died, posing corpses in fur coats and cigars in their mouths, a prosecutor said Monday as the sentencing hearing began for the former gardener who preyed on men from Toronto's Gay Village district. (Alexandra Newbould/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO — A Canadian prosecutor asked a judge Tuesday to sentence serial killer Bruce McArthur to consecutive life sentences so he won't be eligible for parole for 50 years, when he would be 116.

McArthur pleaded guilty last week to eight counts of first-degree murder. The former landscaper sexually assaulted, killed and dismembered men he met in Toronto's Gay Village district over seven years.

The most lenient potential sentence he faces would be life in prison with no chance for parole eligibility for 25 years.

Justice John McMahon said even if the 67-yeard-old McArthur got the most lenient sentence it would be still a life sentence, and while he might apply for parole in 25 years, he wouldn't necessarily get it. McMahon noted McArthur saved the families of the victims a long brutal trial. He said he expected to hand down a sentence Friday.

"The certainty that Mr. McArthur will never leave prison is a fit result," prosecutor Craig Harper said.

McArthur has been in prison since January 2018 while investigators discovered dismembered remains in planters at home he used as storage for his business.

He also staged photos of some of his victims after they died, posing corpses in fur coats and cigars in their mouths. McArthur would later access some of the photos long after the killings

"He created a macabre cemetery of his victims," Harper said. "It was an act of self-indulgence and self-gratification. Everything Mr. McArthur did after the murders points not to shame or remorse, but relish and gratification. He wanted to re-live each murder."

The victims fit a pattern: Most were of Middle Eastern or South Asian descent and lived on the margins of Canadian society. Their disappearances attracting little attention.

One victim hid the fact that he was gay from his Muslim family. Another was a recent immigrant with a drug problem. Another was a refugee who was ordered deported. Another alleged victim was homeless, smoked crack cocaine and worked as a prostitute.

Many of Toronto's LGBQT community said for years a serial killer was at work.

"Mr. McArthur is a sexual predator. He preyed on his friends who he had known for years," the prosecutor said. "He preyed on the vulnerable and those who struggled with their personal issues whether it be homelessness, fear of deportation or leading a life that was not completely open."

James Miglin, McArthur's lawyer, called the crimes horrific and acknowledged the case calls for the most serious penalties and sanctions under the law.

But Miglin said the practical reality is that McArthur would likely never get parole if he gets the most lenient sentence.

McArthur declined to address the court when asked by the judge.

"No, your honor. I've discussed this with my counsel and I don't want to say anything," McArthur said.

McArthur pleaded guilty to killing Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi and Kirushna Kanagaratnam.

The prosecution said that a frequent site of the killings was McArthur's bedroom and that he repeatedly strangled his victims either with his hands or with rope and a metal bar.

The cases ranged from 2010 to 2017.

Criminal experts say it is unusual for someone to become a serial killer later in life, but the prosecution said there is no evidence of earlier murders.

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