Human remains discovered in planters

Bruce McArthur, also known as the landscape killer, was sentenced to life in prison on Feb. 8 after his arrest in January of 2018.

McArthur became the prime suspect behind serial disappearances of LGBTQ individuals when Toronto Police unearthed human remains from more than a dozen planters at a house where he worked as a gardener.

Initially, McArthur was charged with the murders of five men, but pled guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder during his trial. At the time of his arrest, police found a ninth victim tied up in McArthur’s bed. He will be eligible for parole after 25 years.

The murders began in 2010 and continued until 2017.

“All or most of the victims were vulnerable individuals who were lured to their death,” Judge John McMahon said via NBC news. “The accused exploited his victims’ vulnerabilities, whether they involved immigration concerns, mental health challenges or people living in a secretive double life.”

Among the victims were several men who were periodically houseless, a refugee who would soon be deported and married men who had not yet revealed their sexuality to their families.

“My pain and suffering will always be there as long as I live,” stated Umme Farzook, the wife of Soroush Mahmudi, one of McArthur’s victims via The Telegraph. “And I will constantly be reminded of how my beloved and innocent husband was brutally murdered.”

McArthur, a freelance landscaper, would dismember his victims before burying them in the planters of his clients’ homes. The majority of his victims were from the LGBTQ community. Prosecutors acknowledged authorities had ignored concerns from gay Toronto residents over the years.

“For years members of the LGBTQ community in Toronto believed they were being targeted by a killer,” the case’s prosecutor Michael Cantlon said via The New York Times. “They were right.”

According to The New York Times, the string of murders has prompted an investigation into the Toronto Police Service and how they handle missing person cases. The investigation specifically focuses on if the police allow the sexuality or race of the missing persons to affect their work.  

Toronto authorities were only able to locate a prime suspect after a man who was well-known in the area was taken. Although the first investigation into the missing men proved fruitless, McArthur was listed as a witness in the second. In 2016, he was accused of choking a man, who escaped. No charges ever came from this incident and McArthur was not considered a suspect in the disappearances. The police officer on the case is facing charges of professional misconduct as reported by BBC.

Authorities reported finding photographs of McArthur’s victims stored on his computer. Many of the photos had been taken after his victims’ deaths. Six were taken with fur coats and other props. The police have yet to reveal a motive for McArthur’s murders.