Toronto
2 min

Killer watched TV with his gay victims

Confesses to two murders

FEARS CONFIRMED. Activist Michael Hendricks wants a review of unsolved murders of gay men. Credit: Xtra files

Self-proclaimed serial killer Michael Wayne McGray stunned a Quebec Superior Court room last month when he suddenly pleaded guilty to murdering two gay men.



The Apr 25 appearance, in Montreal, was intended simply to set a date for a preliminary hearing on first-degree murder charges.



Instead, McGray entered guilty pleas – despite objections from his own defence lawyer, who requested a psychiatric evaluation.



McGray said he stabbed 59-year-old Robert Assaly and 45-year-old Gaetan Ethier while on a weekend Easter pass in 1991 (he was serving time at the minimum-security penitentiary in the Laurentians).



The killer was automatically given two concurrent life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years.



“I’m already doing 25, so it don’t change nothing,” McGray told the court. (He’d previously pleaded guilty to killing a New Brunswick woman.)



McGray, a 34-year-old drifter who says he isn’t gay, met his first victim, Assaly, in Montreal’s gay village. Both returned to the victim’s apartment to share drinks and watch television.



McGray attacked Assaly the next morning, stabbing him 16 times in the chest and slashing his throat. He also smashed the victim’s head with a lamp. The body was found several days later by his brother.



McGray also met his second victim in the gay village. The two returned to Ethier’s apartment to drink wine and watch a hockey game.



McGray stabbed Ethier several times while he slept, and smashed a beer bottle over his head.



Activist Michael Hendricks has lobbied Montreal police since 1991 to give serious consideration that a serial killer was after gay men. He’s convinced more than ever that his fears were true.



“The investigations of these two murders were typical of the time – ‘They deserved it… We can’t find any proof here…. It’s some tramp they picked up.’



“Therefore there was never any real investigating done,” he says.



Hendricks says McGray may also be responsible for the murders of other gay men. In that same year, two more were murdered:



33-year-old Marc Bellerive, whose body was found in Maisonneuve Park, and 48-year-old Pierre-Yvon Croft, whose body was found in Jarry Park. Both had been stabbed several times.



“Why they didn’t identify the park murders as serial killings I will never know,” says Hendricks. “They were very similar – the scene of the murder, the manner of how they were killed were the same.”



Between 1989 and 1996 there were 21 gay men murdered in Montreal. Six have yet to be solved.



“This is why it’s important for us and police to know where McGray was during these time periods,” says Hendricks. “Even if we find out he was in jail at the time of other the murders, at least we will know it wasn’t him.”



McGray claims to have killed 16 people in all, but police have been unable to verify his claims. If true, it would make him Canada’s worst serial killer.



Det Bob Wilkinson, in Toronto, says the force has compared McGray’s whereabouts to unsolved Toronto murders. “We have looked… we can find no links.”



– with files from Richard Burnett