Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur's trial could begin in September 2019, says judge

An Ontario Superior Court judge says the trial for alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur could take place as early as September 2019.

McArthur faces 8 charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of 8 men between 2010 and 2017

Accused serial killer Bruce McArthur, right, appeared in Ontario Superior Court Wednesday where Justice John McMahon announced his trial could start in September 2019 at the earliest. (Pam Davies/CBC)

An Ontario Superior Court judge anticipates the trial for alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur could take place as early as September 2019. 

McArthur, 67, appeared in court Monday. He is charged with eight counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of eight men between 2010 and 2017, many of whom had ties to the city's Gay Village.

The judge said McArthur's trial could start next September or by January 2020 at the latest. McArthur previously waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

It's still unclear when McArthur will have a chance to enter a plea. That normally happens at the outset of a trial.

McArthur was arrested in January after a months-long police investigation of two missing persons cases led officers to suspect he had played a role in the disappearances. 

Multiple searches of a midtown Toronto property where McArthur had worked as a landscaper eventually turned up the remains of seven different men in garden planters, while remains of an eighth man were discovered in a forested ravine that borders the yard. 

McArthur is currently being held in pre-trial detention at the Toronto South Detention Centre in Etobicoke. 

Late last month, McArthur appeared in court, in person, for the first time. Until then, he had only participated in hearings via video link. 

During that hearing on Oct. 22, he waived his right to a preliminary hearing. McArthur didn't make eye contact with family members of his alleged victims, who had packed into the College Park courthouse. 

While investigators have said they do not believe there are any more victims, the case against McArthur constitutes the largest forensic probe in the history of the Toronto Police Service. 

Last week, several funerals took place for McArthur's alleged victims after police revealed that some of their remains had been released to their respective families.

McArthur will appear in the University Avenue courthouse for a judicial pre-trial on Nov. 30. 

McArthur is accused of killing these eight men. Top row, from left to right, Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40, Andrew Kinsman, 49, Selim Esen, 44, and Abdulbasir Faizi, 44. Bottom row, from left to right: Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam, 37, Dean Lisowick, 47, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Majeed Kayhan, 58. (Toronto Police Service/CBC)