Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Canadian serial killer Bruce McArthur plead guilty to several counts of first-degree murder Tuesday, for killing eight gay Toronto men over a span of seven years.
McArthur's plea means he avoids trial, where he would've been prosecuted for the deaths of each of the victims, which occurred between 2010 and 2017. The grisly killings were a long-standing mystery in Canada, but the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community insisted all the disappearances were the work of the same person.
Police started investigating the cold cases in 2012 and closed them two years later. A separate investigation into other missing people started in 2017 that put McArthur on detectives' radar for the first time. Officials said they found evidence linking McArthur to the deaths of several men, including one found in a compost pile behind a Toronto home. Other remains were found inside planters on a property where McArthur provided landscaping services.
Police had released a photograph of a victim, identified by the public as Kirushna Kanagaratnam. He'd gone missing from the city's gay village.
McArthur, 67, was arrested at his apartment a year ago and charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Kanagaratnam, Selim Esen, Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam and Abdulbasir Faizi. He is now considered one of Canada's most deadly serial killers.
Forensic investigators previously said they'd snapped 18,000 photographs in McArthur's apartment and seized 1,800 pieces of evidence. They also searched 100 properties where McArthur had worked as a landscaper.
Detectives are now re-examining cold cases from Toronto's gay village dating back to the 1970s to see if McArthur might also be linked to any of them.