The 7 Most Famous Canadian Serial Killers
by Daniel Lukacs
June 28, 2017
Despite its reputation around the world, Canada, like any other country, has its fair share of serial killers. Serial killers from Canada must have killed at least three people and usually have the same sort of method of operation. The great white north's crop of serial killers are indicative of the region and involve everything from farms to inner cities as backdrops for the slayings. Take a look at the most famous Canadian serial killers to date.
Paul Bernardo operated primarily out of east Toronto city of Scarborough with his wife, Karla Homolka. Known as the “Scarborough Rapist” as well as the “Schoolgirl Killer” and sometimes used the alias “Paul Jason Teale.” From 1987 to 1989, it is estimated that Bernardo committed numerous rapes and attempted rapes. He was eventually questioned by the police, but they let him go without pressing charges.
He then moved his attention, with the help of his wife, to a series of rape and murders between 1990 and 1992. They usually involved him raping a girl while Homolka videotaped. In all, three murders are proven, one of which was Homolka's sister, Tammy.
Bernardo and Homolka were arrested in 1993. He was convicted and given life in prison. She made a plea deal and was charged with manslaughter for which she got 12 years in prison. Homolka was released in 2005 and remarried.
Born on October 24, 1949, in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Robert William Pickton, or “Willie” to his friends, was captured in 2002 for murder. The scope of his killings is unknown exactly. He was charged with six murders but confessed to 49 with an undercover agent masquerading as another inmate.
Pickton and his brother were multi-millionaires operating a pig farm in their hometown. He also started a non-profit charity named the Piggy Palace Good Times Society. He converted a former slaughterhouse to a dance club and began holding raves in the 1990s. On any given night, he would have upwards of 2,000 people including prostitutes and members of the Hell's Angels.
After his arrest, a $70 million excavation unearthed the remains of dozens of women. There was also evidence that he had ground up victims and fed them to his pigs, resulting in a public health warning in the province. Pickton was convicted in 2007 and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Born in 1947, Russell Johnson became known as the “Bedroom Strangler” during the 1970s. He raped and killed a number of women in Ontario, but when the victims were identified, it was deemed that they simply died in their sleep.
Johnson would climb the sides of buildings and wait for his victims to fall asleep while watching them for hours. He then would commit his acts, murder them and make them look like they were sleeping. In addition to the three murders he was charged with, he admitted to seven more as well as 17 other attacks.
In 1978, he was found not guilty by insanity and was put in the Oak Ridge Mental Health Centre, a maximum-security facility.
Clifford Olson Jr.
Olsen, born in 1940, in Vancouver, British Columbia, became known as the “Beast of British Columbia.” Over the course of a year in 1980 and 1981, he killed 11 children and teenagers between the age of nine and 18. His standard method of operation was to kidnap the victim, rape them and strangle, stab or bludgeon them to death. The major factor about these killings is the fact that they took place in such a short time, reaching their peak in July 1981 when he killed six.
He was apprehended in August of the same year and struck a plea deal. $10,000 would be put into a trust for his wife and child for each body he helped law enforcement recover. He was paid for the first ten and gave the 11th body as a “freebie.” While there was a plethora of public outcry about the payoff, Olsen was nonetheless found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. He scored a 38 out of 40 on the psychopathic scale, while the standard cut-off is 25 to 30.
Born Peter Woodcock in 1939, he later changed his name to David Michael Krueger while in prison. Woodcock was born to a 17-year old woman and given up for adoption almost immediately. He went from home to home, finally settling in at age three. He was poorly adjusted in school and made no friends. His foster parents attempted analysis and even put in special schools, but he was generally quiet and appeared to be obsessive with his foster mother.
By age 16, he continually drove his bicycle around various parts of Toronto with what he believed to be an army of 500 invisible boys on bikes. He sexually assaulted and murdered three children aged four to nine. In his most horrific act, he molested a four-year-old girl and killed her by forcing a tree branch into her sexual organs.
Woodcock was eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1957 and was sent for treatment, including LSD therapy. For years, doctors tried to work with him to improve his condition. This was all but abandoned when he believed that an alien-led gang, known as the Brotherhood would help him if he killed a former inmate. On a weekend pass, he murdered and sodomized this man before turning himself back in.
Gilbert Paul Jordan
"The Boozing Barber" Jordan, born in 1931, had a unique murder method. He used alcohol to kill his victims. Operating in the Vancouver area from 1965 to 2004, Jordan would go to bars and pick up Aboriginal women and bring them back to his hotel room. There, he would offer them money for sex and proceed to drink extreme levels of alcohol with them. It is said that he drank at least 50 ounces of alcohol per day, so he was able to drink to the point where his victims passed out. He is said to have then poured more alcohol down their throat and they would die of alcohol poisoning.
The police were unable to fully identify this as murder, so the only time Jordan was charged was for a manslaughter case in 1988. He served six years in prison and was released. While part of his conditional release was to abstain from alcohol use and avoid women who consumed alcohol, it is believed that he continued his behavior until his death in 2006.
Born in 1948, Legere was convicted of his first murder in 1986. Along with two others, he beat to death a man and seriously injured his wife. In 1989, he complained to the prison staff about an ear infection and was transferred to a hospital. He used a handmade key to pick the handcuffs and a TV antenna to beat the guards. Legere escaped the grounds and stole cars to make a getaway.
Over the course of the next seven months, he evaded capture and established himself as the “Monster of the Miramichi.” He committed four more murders and arson, burning down the home of two of his victims. His last murder was that of a priest.
He was captured and convicted in 1991, it was the first criminal case in Canada to use DNA fingerprinting in prosecution. Legere is serving life in prison with the opportunity for parole after 25 years
Although not as prevalent in pop culture, Canada has numerous instances of people operating as serial killers. Many of these combine not only killing but sexual assault and sometimes outright insanity. From feeding victims to pigs to drinking women to death, serial killers from Canada may be a unique breed, but not unlike those from anywhere else in the world.