Nova Scotia

Who is serial killer Michael Wayne McGray?

Canadian serial killer Michael Wayne McGray was recently discovered to have been named as potentially responsible for the 1995 killing of Brenda Way. McGray has claimed to have killed at least 16 people, though was only ever convicted of seven murders.

Notorious Canadian serial killer described his 'urge to kill'

Convicted serial killer Michael Wayne McGray escorted into provincial court in Halifax in 2001. McGray was recently named as a suspect in the wrongful conviction case of Glen Assoun. (Canadian Press)

Recently released documents reveal a convicted serial killer told a fellow inmate he was responsible for a killing with chilling similarities to a case that saw a wrongfully convicted man imprisoned for nearly 17 years. 

Michael Wayne McGray was named as a potential suspect in the violent 1995 death of Brenda Way in Dartmouth, N.S., in court documents released publicly Friday.

Glen Assoun, 63, was convicted of second-degree murder in her death in 1999, but federal Justice Minister David Lametti ultimately overturned his conviction five months ago. 

Here's what we know about McGray and his crimes. 

Has claimed to have killed 16 people

Born in Collingwood, Ont., Michael Wayne McGray, now 54, grew up in Argyle, N.S. He moved to Halifax in the mid-1980s, and McGray was in and out of institutions from 1985 to 1995.

After his arrest for the deaths of Moncton woman Joan Hicks and her 11-year old daughter in 1997, McGray began to speak to police and media about additional killings he committed, stretching back over a decade and spanning the country.

As confessions continued, he alternatively claimed to have killed anywhere between 12 and 16 people, though was only ever convicted of seven.

His convictions include the deaths of two men in Montreal in 1991, the 1987 stabbing death of Mark Gibbons in New Brunswick, and the 1985 killing of 17-year-old Elizabeth Gail Tucker in Nova Scotia.

Compelled to kill

During his time in prison, McGray attempted to strike a deal with RCMP, offering to aid their investigation into his alleged 16 killings if he was given mental-health treatment, and immunity for his crimes. 

Police refused that request.

McGray often spoke of an "urge to kill," in interviews, one that he said had existed since he was a child, and wouldn't cease after imprisonment. 

While in prison in 2010, McGray killed his 33-year old cellmate, Jeremy Phillips. 

Originally housed in a super-maximum facility in Quebec, McGray had been transferred first to a high-security prison in B.C., then to medium-security Mountain Institution.

Soon after, he was paired with Phillips. 

Phillips pleaded repeatedly with prison guards to change cells, The Globe and Mail reported at the time, as he feared for his safety when with McGray.

Phillips was later found in his cell, choked to death. McGray eventually admitted to the crime.

Phillips' family later sued the Correctional Service of Canada over his death, and a prison guard who witnessed the aftermath later filed a trauma claim with WorkSafe BC. 

He described the scene as like "a horror movie".

"I don't know why they made the mistake of putting me here. I'm not a 'medium' inmate," McGray told investigators the day after the crime.

"We didn't have a beef ... This was all about me, it wasn't about him."

'There's no emotion at all'

McGray was later moved to a maximum-security facility in Ste-Anne-Des-Plaines, Que., the National Post reported. 

Despite receiving some treatment and medication, he never expressed remorse for his crimes. 

"I wish I could say I felt bad for the victims because that's what society wants to hear, but I don't," he told CBC News in 2000. "There's no emotion at all."

McGray is currently serving seven life sentences and will be 72 before he can apply for parole.

With files from The Canadian Press


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