Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur sentenced to life in prison

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David Dickinson speaks to reporters Friday after serial killer Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to the murders of eight men.

As each count carried a mandatory life sentence without parole for 25 years, the only decision before Justice John McMahon has been whether to sentence him concurrently or consecutively.

That waiting period would have left McArthur ineligible for parole until the age of 116, beyond his expected natural lifespan. But he added that even if McArthur sought parole at 91, the chances of his receiving it would be "very remote at best".

McArthur's victims were Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, Abdulbasir Faizi, Skandaraj Navaratnam and Soroush Mahmudi. Some of them were his close friends, the BBC reported.

McArthur, who admitted the killings last month, sat quietly in court, hunched over, hands folded in his lap, as a row of police detectives - who have described the investigation as Toronto's largest ever - watched from directly behind.

Numerous victims, although not all, were from the Gay Village, a neighborhood in Toronto known for its predominantly gay population. Meanwhile, the LGBT community has been "devastated" and "will never be the same", he said.

February 23, 2018 - Police lay a sixth charge of first-degree murder against McArthur, identify Navaratnam as one of the alleged victims whose remains were found in the planters.

But at Toronto Police Headquarters the feeling was one of closure in the wake of McArthur's sentencing on Friday.

"The ability to decapitate, dismember his victims and do it repeatedly, is pure evil", he said.

They learned McArthur was stopped when police raided his home, finding a man tied to a bed.

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Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders addressed the sentence during a conference at police headquarters.

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.

The judge found McArthur strangled all of them and then took photographs of their bodies in various states of undress, keeping the images on his computer and viewing them long after his crimes.

He said criminologists used the term "missing white woman syndrome" to highlight how some victims are seen as more newsworthy and higher priority than others.

Several of the men McArthur killed were of Middle Eastern descent.

McMahon said McArthur's actions caused devastation to not only the friends and family of his victims, but also to the LGBTQ community and the people of Toronto. All of them had ties to the city's LGBTQ community.

Kanagaratnam came to Canada aboard the MV Sun Sea after fleeing Sri Lanka in 2010 and went into hiding in 2015 after his refugee claim was rejected, his loved ones said.

Asked about allegations of bias, Meaghan Gray, a spokeswoman for the Toronto police, said the force launched two investigations, Project Houston and Project Prism, "to do everything possible to locate the missing men".

Crown attorney Michael Cantlon, whose prosecutorial team compared McArthur to Robert Pickton earlier this week, said he wouldn't comment on the sentence, though he noted that the judge has his "utmost respect".

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