Michael Wayne McGray (born July 11, 1965) is a Canadian serial killer convicted of killing seven individuals between 1985 and 1998. He claims to have killed eleven others during the same time period.

Michael Wayne McGray
Born (1965-07-11) July 11, 1965 (age 58)
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment
Span of crimes
United States (alleged)

Early life edit

McGray was born in Collingwood, Ontario, but was raised in Argyle, Nova Scotia.[1]

Crimes edit

On May 1, 1985, McGray murdered 17-year-old hitchhiker Elizabeth Gale Tucker in a wooded area near Weymouth, Nova Scotia.[2] Tucker's body was found on October 6, 1985 by a hunter with his dog on a logging road near Grosses Coques.[3] At the time, a Toronto man by the name of Gregory George Ashford was questioned in connection with this murder.[4][5]

On November 14, 1987, McGray and two accomplices, Mark Gibbons and Norm Warren, robbed a taxi driver in Saint John, New Brunswick. After the police arrived, Gibbons' dead body was discovered at Market Square. Warren was charged with the murder of Gibbons, however, he was found not guilty of murder after a jury trial. McGray received a five-year prison sentence for his role in the robbery, but was not charged in connection with Gibbons' death.[6][2]

McGray is suspected by some of murdering Alaskan medical student Philip Innes Fraser in 1988 though sources with the RCMP say they have ruled him out.[7]

In 1991, McGray was still serving time in prison from his 1987 robbery conviction. However, he was given a three-day weekend pass to stay at a halfway house in Montreal, Quebec during the Easter weekend. On March 30, 1991, McGray met Robert Assaly in Montreal's Gay Village. Assaly invited McGray back to his apartment where McGray fatally stabbed him in the throat and chest multiple times. On March 31, 1991, McGray returned to the Gay Village and met Gaetan Ethier, who invited McGray back to his apartment. After spending the night at Ethier's apartment, McGray stabbed Ethier to death. McGray elected not to return to the prison after his three-day weekend pass, but was found nearly two months later, and re-arrested.[6]

The National Parole Board expressed concern in 1995 about McGray's problems with anger and substance abuse, and about McGray having disappeared for more than a year while on parole, "which clearly indicated a serious breach of trust and a blatant disregard for conditions of release."[8]

On the morning of February 28, 1998, Joan Hicks and her 11-year-old daughter Nina in Moncton, New Brunswick were murdered at their apartment. Hicks was found lying on the floor of the bathroom in a pool of blood, having been beaten, strangled and with her throat cut with a serrated knife. Her daughter Nina was found hanging in her bedroom closet by a piece of rope after having been choked with a rope.[6] McGray was identified by a witness as the murderer and was arrested the next day.[9] He later confessed to the murders of Robert Assaly and Gaetan Ethier in 1991.[9]

At some point after McGray was arrested, he confessed to being responsible for the 1985 disappearance of New Brunswick teenager, Kimberly Amero. She disappeared from the Atlantic National Exhibition in Saint John after staying behind to watch the fireworks. He admitted to killing her and burying her body on the Kingston Peninsula — a piece of land located between the St. John River and the Kennebecasis River. A thorough search of the land turned up no sign of Kimberly's supposed burial site.[10]

On March 20, 2000, he pled guilty to the murder of Joan Hicks.[2] McGray claimed to have killed 11 other victims across Canada, including Halifax, Saint John, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and the American city of Seattle. He claimed that he would provide information to the authorities on the killings in exchange for specific demands being met.[11][2]

In May 2001, McGray was charged with a sixth murder, the 1985 killing of Elizabeth Gail Tucker in Nova Scotia. This charge occurred as a result of several interviews he gave the previous year; as a result of the interviews, police across the country re-opened cold case files.[12] McGray blamed his urge to kill on beatings he received as a child, and warned he would kill again if he did not receive proper treatments.[13]

In November 2010, following a transfer to the Mountain Institution medium-security prison in Agassiz, British Columbia, McGray killed his cellmate, 33-year-old Jeremy Phillips. The Crown prosecutor related that McGray claimed that Phillips invented a false hostage-taking scenario where McGray would tie him up, and Phillips would then be brought to the infirmary; McGray complied with the plan at first, but then strangled Phillips. Lawyers of the victim's family doubted the claims, as Phillips was scheduled to be released on parole, while two inmates related that Phillips had requested to not be held in the same block as McGray, but prison officers denied the request. A resulting coroner's inquest recommended that serial killers be housed in single cells. The Ste-Anne-des-Plaines Institution, which was reputed to be the highest-security prison in Canada, housed McGray in 2012.[14]

On July 12, 2019, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court revealed that McGray was the prime suspect in the 1995 murder of Brenda Way who was found with her neck slashed in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Her boyfriend, Glen Assoun, had been convicted and spent 17 years in prison for the crime he always denied.[15] Assoun's conviction was overturned.

Timeline of events edit

The murders included random attacks of strangers and the killing of acquaintances.

  • 1 May – Murder of Elizabeth Gale Tucker, near Weymouth, Digby County Nova Scotia; she was a hitch hiker.
  • 14 November – Murder of Mark Daniel Gibbons, an alleged accomplice in Saint John, New Brunswick; stabbed.
  • 29 March – Given 3-day parole from Atlantic Institution, Renous, New Brunswick.
  • 31 March – Murder of Robert Assaly; retired school teacher he met at a gay bar in Montreal while on parole; bludgeoned and stabbed.[16]
  • 1 April – Murder of Gaetan Ethier; met at a gay bar in Montreal while on parole; stabbed.
  • Late May – Returned to prison in New Brunswick after eluding police for nearly 2 months.
  • November 12 (alleged) – As of 2019, prime suspect in murder of Brenda Way, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.[17]
  • 28 February – Murder of Joan Hicks and her 11-year-old daughter Nina in Moncton, New Brunswick; at their home.
  • March – Arrested in Moncton for murder of Joan and Nina Hicks.
  • Fall – Charged in Montreal killings.
  • Confesses to kidnapping and murdering Kimberly Ann Amero from Saint John, New Brunswick.
  • January – Charged in Saint John killing.
  • 20 March – Pleaded guilty to the murder of Joan Hicks; denied murdering her child.[16]
  • 25 April – Sentenced to 20 years for Assaly and Ethier murders.[18]
  • November – Murder of cellmate Jeremy Phillips at the Mountain Institution in British Columbia.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ thechronicleherald.ca: "McGray gets another life term", 30 Nov 2011
  2. ^ a b c d G+M: "'I got very good at it,' killer says", 24 Mar 2000
  3. ^ Le Courrier de la Nouvelle-Écosse - October 16, 1985 Nova Scotia Archives
  4. ^ The Ottawa Citizen: "Murder suspect returned to Toronto", 30 Dec 1985
  5. ^ Cox, Kevin (May 30, 2001). "Serial killer pleads guilty in teen's death". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Simpson, Paul (May 18, 2017). The Serial Killer Files. Little Brown Book Group. ISBN 978-1-47213-673-2. Retrieved July 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "An Interrupted Journey". 30 June 2018.
  8. ^ Canadian Press: "Police looking at unsolved cases for links to McGray's claims", 24 Mar 2000
  9. ^ a b cbc.ca: "Possible serial killer in custody in Moncton", 29 Oct 1999
  10. ^ "MISSING FOR THREE DECADES: Mystery of N.B. Girl's 1985 disappearance haunts family".
  11. ^ "crimezzz.net: "serial killers by name – McGRAY Michael Wayne"". Archived from the original on 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
  12. ^ cbc.ca: "Serial killer charged with Nova Scotia teen's murder", 23 May 2001
  13. ^ nationalpost.com: "Prison couldn’t keep Michael Wayne McGray from killing — just like he said it wouldn’t", 29 Nov 2011
  14. ^ nationalpost.com: "Don't make serial killers roomies in prison, coroner's jury recommends", 1 Nov 2012
  15. ^ Jackson Weaver (July 12, 2019). Who is serial killer Michael Wayne McGray?, CBC News online. Accessed July 12, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Erin Anderssen (April 6, 2000). Crown paints picture of remorseless killer, Globe and Mail online. Accessed July 12, 2019.
  17. ^ Aly Thomson and Blair Rhodes (July 12, 2019). RCMP deleted documents in wrongful conviction case, federal report finds, CBC News online. Accessed July 12, 2019.
  18. ^ 25 April 2000. McGray pleads guilty to two more murders. CBC News. Accessed July 12, 2019.