Brett Ryan accused of killing his mom, 2 brothers in Scarborough crossbow slayings

The victims of last week's so-called crossbow killings in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough were the mother and two brothers of the man now charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

With publication ban lifted in Brett Ryan case, family members' names and more details can be made public

Brett Ryan, 35, has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the so-called crossbow killings that left his mother and two brothers dead. (Toronto Police Service )

The victims of last week's so-called crossbow killings in Scarborough were the mother and two brothers of the man charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

A court-ordered publication ban put in place after Brett Anthony Ryan, 35, was charged in the triple homicide Friday in east Toronto prevented CBC News from publishing the names of the victims until now. 

Brett Ryan's brother, Chris Ryan, who worked for the Toronto Transit Commission, was among the three who died Thursday. (Facebook)

Several media outlets — including CBC — opposed the ban in court, and an Ontario Superior Court judge lifted it Tuesday morning.

Toronto police had initially requested the publication ban, but say that it's no longer needed, the prosecution told the court Tuesday morning.

Ryan appeared in court during the hearing wearing a white T-shirt and grey pants.

Police allege Ryan strangled his mother Susan Ryan, 66, with a ligature.

His brothers, Alexander, 29, and Chris, 42, died of neck wounds from a crossbow bolt or arrowhead, according to autopsy results released by the police Monday.

All three were pronounced dead at their mother's Lawndale Road property last Thursday. Susan Ryan and one of her sons were found in the garage and another son was found lying on the driveway. A third son, who had minor injuries, ran to a neighbour's home looking for help, shortly after the attack. 

It's unclear whether any of the Ryan brothers lived at the home with their mother, whose husband William died last year, according to public records.

Victim worked for TTC

Chris Ryan had worked for the Toronto Transit Commission for 12 years, spokesman Brad Ross said Tuesday. For the bulk of that time, he worked as a station collector, moving to different stops throughout the city. 

"Our deepest condolences go to Mr. Ryan's friends, family and his colleagues here at the TTC," Ross said. "It was shocking to everybody."  

A ban on the names of the victims in the case was lifted Tuesday morning. All three died at this Lawndale Road property. (Pascal Marchand)

Police had initially requested the publication ban on the names of the victims while they "sorted out" their identities and relationship to the suspect, Const. Victor Kwong said. It was an extremely unusual request, Iris Fischer, the lawyer who represented several media organizations asking that the ban be overturned, told the court. 

Det.-Sgt. Mike Carbone told reporters Monday he wanted any members of the public who had spoken with the accused between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. ET on Aug. 25 to contact police.

Officers initially responded to a call about a stabbing at the Lawndale Road home in Scarborough early last Thursday afternoon.

On arrival, they found two people without vital signs and one person died after they got to the bloody scene. As the investigation progressed throughout that day, police said they found a crossbow and other items on the property that could have been used as weapons. 

Toronto police evacuate a Queens Quay condo following the discovery of a suspicious package. 0:33

Police also searched a condo unit at 218 Queens Quay W., in Toronto's downtown Harbourfront area, on Thursday after evacuating the building when they learned there was a connection between the complex and Brett Ryan. 

Ryan had been convicted of 16 robbery-related charges in January 2009, and was sentenced to three years and nine months in jail. It's unclear exactly how much time he spent in custody. He declared bankruptcy while in jail.

According to social media accounts, Ryan was to be married in three weeks.

The accused had attended a local Toronto university, and Carbone said investigators are trying to reach former fellow schoolmates.

Ryan is shown in a Facebook post. On Tuesday, he appeared in a Toronto court wearing a white T-shirt and grey pants. (Facebook)