By: Kiki Cekota and Emma King
Serial killer Bruce McArthur has been sentenced to life in prison with a parole ineligibility period of 25 years.
McArthur, 67, was sentenced this morning at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in downtown Toronto. The result of the hearing means that McArthur will become eligible for parole at the age of 91.
Although Justice John McMahon cited a number of aggravating factors in his sentencing statement, the decision to set McArthur’s parole eligibility at 25 years rests on two important elements; McArthur’s decision to enter a guilty plea and his advanced age.
McArthur’s choice to waive his right to a preliminary inquiry and enter a guilty plea spared friends and family of the victims the pain of sitting through graphic evidence at pre-trial and trial hearings.
The announcement of parole ineligibility for 25 years was met with an audible sigh from within the courtroom. If McMahon had sided with the Crown’s request of a parole ineligibility period of 50 years, McArthur would have become eligible for parole at the age of 116.
A statement released by Crown attorney Michael Cantlon said that there can be no closure for a crime of the magnitude that McArthur committed.
“This is a crime of stark horror,” wrote Cantlon. “The murder of eight of our citizens has impacted many: family, chosen family, the LGBTQ community, and the city in which we live and work.”
During the sentencing, McArthur sat silently. Friends and families of the victims listened, some holding hands, as judge McMahon asked McArthur to stand to be officially sentenced.
McMahon cited the case of R. v. Wettlaufer as precedent in deciding when McArthur should become eligible for parole. Elizabeth Wettlaufer was sentenced in June 2017 with the murder of eight senior citizens and the attempted murder of six others.
McMahon concluded his statement with a rare comment on the case, commending the work of defence lawyer James Miglin, Cantlon and the Toronto police’s investigative work on the McArthur case, specifically Project Prism.
It has not yet been announced which federal penitentiary McArthur will be held in.