"We are not alleging a worst-case scenario where Mr. McArthur was roaming the streets as a violent predator looking for a victim."
The words were spoken by Crown attorney Michael Leshner in a Toronto courtroom in January 2003, as Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon (a metal pipe) and assault causing bodily harm on a man in his own home.
McArthur, now 66, would go on to be labelled an alleged serial killer, having already been charged this year with five counts of first-degree murder, with Toronto police saying there are likely more victims.
But in 2003, McArthur was before the court for the first time with no criminal record. A court recording of the guilty plea, obtained by the Star after being granted a court order this week, has provided new details on the attack, including the fact that McArthur himself went to police to say he may have hurt someone.
The court proceedings also make clear that a motive for the attack has never been determined.
"We may never know why Mr. McArthur acted in the way that he did, he doesn't know at this point. The issue on sentencing will be, bearing that in mind: What sentence is necessary to make sure it doesn't happen again?" Leshner told now-retired Ontario Court Justice William Bassel.
It was just after noon on Oct. 31 2001, when McArthur arrived at the victim's apartment in Toronto's Gay Village and was allowed into the building by the victim.
"He thought there was no issue with regards to security or safety, by allowing Mr. McArthur into the building," Leshner said.
"The complainant is also admitting he advertised in gay publications as a male hustler . . . . He's acknowledging that Mr. McArthur certainly could have known about that reputation and by letting Mr. McArthur into the building, had allowed Mr. McArthur to believe that there was a potential opportunity for sex."
No sexual encounter took place that day, Leshner said. The victim had been working on his Halloween costume, and thought about showing it to McArthur.
Instead, he was hit numerous times from behind by McArthur with a metal pipe that he had brought with him. McArthur had carried the pipe with him on other days, as he "apparently was concerned with issues of safety and security as a result of the subculture involving street hustlers," Leshner said.
The Crown was never alleging that McArthur was carrying the pipe for the first time "with the unique intent to seek out the complainant and assault the complainant in the manner that he did," Leshner said.
The victim at first blacked out, and then called 911 and was taken to St. Michael's hospital. He sustained injuries to his head, bruising to his body and required several stitches on his fingers, the Crown said.
Meanwhile, McArthur went to police headquarters shortly after the attack, Leshner said. The police were able to match what he was saying with the victim's 911 call.
"It's fair to say that Mr. McArthur acknowledged the assault, and he said 'I don't know why I did it,' " Leshner said.
The victim was released from hospital that same evening. "It's fair to say that this incident has traumatized the victim," Leshner said.
In April 2003, McArthur received a conditional sentence of two years less a day, and three years' probation. Part of the conditions included being barred from an area of the city that included the gay village and from spending time with "male prostitutes."
The murder probe into McArthur continues, with police saying they anticipate further charges in addition to the five counts of first-degree murder he is already facing in connection with the deaths of Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan, Soroush Mahmudi and Dean Lisowick.
Several of the men had been reported missing over the last few years in and around Toronto's Gay Village, as the community expressed concern there was a serial killer in the area.
Police have spent the last few weeks searching for remains at a number of properties that could have had a connection to McArthur, who worked as a landscaper.
They have discovered the remains of six individuals in planters at a home on Mallory Crescent in Toronto, where McArthur mowed the owners' lawn in exchange for storing landscaping equipment in the garage. Of the remains, only Kinsman's have so far been identified.
Police are expected to provide an update on the case Friday morning. McArthur's next court appearance is set for Feb. 28.
With files from Kenyon Wallace, Kelsey Wilson and Star staff
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