Michael Wayne McGray


Michael Wayne McGray

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: He wants psychiatric treatment for "demons" he says sent him on a 15-year coast-to-coast killing spree
Number of victims: 6 - 16
Date of murders: 1985 - 1999
Date of arrest: October 1999
Date of birth: 1965
Victims profile: Elizabeth Gale Tucker, 17 / Mark Daniel Gibbons (cab driver) / Joan Hicks, 48, and her daughter Nina, 11 / Robert Assaly, 59 / Gaetan Ethier, 45
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife
Location: Canada/USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years on March 20, 2000

Michael Wayne McGray was a Canadian serial killer who has killed at least four people (and claims to have killed 16) in Halifax, Saint John, Montreal, Newfoundland, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, and Seattle.

McGray claims to have been beaten by his alcoholic father and that he was sexually abused in many of the reform schools in which he essentially grew up. He also claims to have killed animals as a child.

On May 23, 2001, police in Halifax, Nova Scotia charged McGray with the murder of a hitchhiker 16 years after her body was found on the side of a road near Digby, Nova Scotia. The victim, 17-year-old Elizabeth Gale Tucker, was murdered in 1985 while hitchhiking to her job at a fish plant. McGray admitted to stabbing Tucker multiple times and dumping her body. This charge followed four previous murder convictions in 2000.

McGray also pleaded guilty to stabbing cabbie Mark Gibbons to death in 1987. He's been convicted of the murder of Joan Hicks in Moncton in 1998, and of two men in Montreal in 1991.

McGray has offered to release the details of 16 murders he claims to have committed over the years in exchange for immunity for his accomplices, immunity for himself against the new charges, and psychiatric treatment for what he calls his "demons."

He claims that these demons caused his 15-year killing spree and has stated that he will murder guards, prisoners, or anybody else to quench his "searing hunger to kill."

McGray has also claimed that he killed a prostitute and a gay man in Seattle over 1995-96, and that he killed three gay men in Montreal. He also claims to have killed a 50-year-old man and buried the body in a Toronto park.

McGray is serving concurrent life sentences of 25 years with no parole.

Michael Wayne McGray

Halifax police said they will charge Michael Wayne McGray -- who has already been convicted of four murders this year -- with the 1985 murder of Elizabeth Gail Tucker.

McGray's lawyer in Moncton, N.B., said he had heard his client will be charged in the case, but didn't know how McGray would plead. The body of Tucker, 17, was found near of Digby, N.S., after she disappeared while hitchhiking to her job at a fish plant.

In an interview in March, McGray claimed he stabbed her repeatedly, then dumped her body. The source said it's possible another person will be charged in the death, which McGray said was the first in a 15-year-long killing spree that spanned the country and ended in 16 murders.

McGray, a 34-year-old Nova Scotia-born drifter who has claimed responsibility for 16 slayings across North America, just pleaded guilty on to the 1987 stabbing death of Mark Gibbons of Saint John, N.B.

He received a life sentence, which will run concurrent to the life sentences he's already serving for the first-degree murders of a woman en Moncton, N.B., in 1998, and two men in Montreal in 1991.

Like his fellow Canadian killer Clifford Olson, Michael Wayne McGray said he'll prove he committed sixteen murders if he is granted certain demands.

Though, swearing that they would not be played like in the Olson fiasco, Halifax authorities said "No deal" to the request.

McGray, serving a life sentence in Renous, N.B., for the 1998 first-degree murder of a Newfoundland woman, said he wants three things before he tells police how he killed at least 16 people.

McGray said he doesn't want any of his accomplices charged, he doesn't want to be charged for the alleged crimes, and he wants psychiatric treatment for "demons" he says sent him on a 15-year coast-to-coast killing spree. Given the chance, the suspected serial killer added, he would murder a guard, a prisoner or anyone else who could quench what he describes as a searing hunger to kill.

McGray's claims of killings in Halifax, Saint John, N.B., Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Seattle have caused police to sift through their unsolved homicide files looking for links. So far, there have not uncovered any evidence that confirms his deadly allegations.

McGray claims to have killed a prostitute and a gay man in Seattle sometime in 1995-96 and three gay men in Montreal. The homicidal drifter added that he could lead Toronto police to the body of a 50-year-old alcoholic he buried in a west-end park.

Like many other serial killers his alcoholic father beat him regularly. Within years he was being shunted from one group home and reform school to the next, eventually landing at a school for boys in Shelburne, N.S., where he says he was sexually and physically abused. "I used to kill animals and get in fights all the time at school," McGray said, "It was like a hunger."

In March 21 McGray confessed to 11 slayings while he was being transported from one prison to another. The prisoner mentioned the other killings after he was charged in the death of a woman who he allegedly killed in her Moncton apartment two years ago. "I believe it happened in conversations with a police officer transporting him from the federal penitentiary in Renous to Moncton," said McGray's Moncton lawyer, Wendell Maxwell.

The new 11 cases he has claimed responsability for don't include the Moncton killing, or four other deaths he has been charged with. McGray, who is 35, is also charged with the 1991 deaths of two gay men in Montreal and the 1987 fatal stabbing of Mark Daniel Gibbons, a cab driver. In court McGray pleaded guilty to slicing the throat of Joan Hicks in Moncton and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Man suspected of serial killings

October 29, 1999

Codiac RCMP may have one of Canada's worst serial killers in custody. Michael Wayne McGray has been in custody since he was charged a year and a half ago with the murders of a Moncton woman and her 11-year old daughter. Friday, police announced McGray will be charged with 3-other murders in Saint John and Montreal. And, perhaps more murders in the near future.

34-year old Michael Wayne McGray has a long history of angry outbursts, violence and drugs. He was in and out of institutions from 1985 to 1995. A year and a half ago, he was charged in the stabbing death of Joan Hicks and in the death of her 11-year old daughter Nina in their Moncton apartment.

While awaiting trial at the Atlantic Maximum Security Institution, McGray began to talk about other murders, says Const. Mark Gallagher of the RCMP. "Our investigators through the course of their investigation have talked to other people who are known to McGray and to McGray himself. "

Gallagher says is soon became obvious to police that McGray was telling the truth about his involvement in other killings. "We have sources that gave us the information - the montreal urban police and also in saint john were able to verify his story - and only the person who was involved in the crime would know the details."

And, now after months of investigation, Montreal Police say they'll charge McGray with the 1991 murders of two men who frequented this gay bar. Robert Assaly and Gaetan Ethier were stabbed to death - sparking fear that a serial killer was stalking homosexuals.

Police say McGray also told them about another murder in Saint John, New Brunswick. He's expected to be charged in the 1987 stabbing death of Mark Daniel Gibbons. His body was found inside the Market Square complex.

McGray and his lawyer will be appearing in court on Monday to set a trial date for the murders of Joan Hicks and her daughter Nina. McGray will then be sent to Quebec to be charged with the murders of Assaly and Ethier. Police in New Brunswick are reopening old murder files and more charges are expected in the next few weeks.

Man suspected of serial killings

Toronto resident faces 4 charges, fifth pending

October 30, 1999

HALIFAX - A Toronto man has been charged with four murders in two cities and is a suspect in a fifth death, police said yesterday.

Moncton RCMP Constable Mark Gallagher also told reporters that investigators have asked police forces across the country to examine unsolved murder records to look for case similarities.

Michael Wayne McGray, 34, is in jail in New Brunswick awaiting trial on charges of killing a 48-year-old woman and her 11-year-old daughter in Moncton last year.

McGray also faces two murder charges in Montreal, and is a suspect in a murder in Saint John, N.B.

A psychiatric report delivered to the court earlier this year suggested McGray has an extreme nervous disorder similar to Tourette's syndrome.

Defence lawyer Alan Schelew told the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal that Ottawa psychiatrist Dr. John Bradford believed McGray may have a rare and dangerous form of the disease that can spark violence.

Schelew also said his client would not dispute the facts of the 1998 murder that shocked Moncton because of its unusual brutality.

Joan Hicks and her daughter Nina had just moved to Moncton from Newfoundland when they were killed in Hicks' modest basement apartment.

McGray became a suspect in two Montreal murders because of conversations he had with other inmates while awaiting trial in Moncton, police said.

That led police to Montreal, and two unsolved 1991 killings that sparked fears a serial killer was stalking gays.

Robert Assaly, 59, a retired schoolteacher, and Gaetan Ethier, 45, were killed within five days of each other in Montreal in April, 1991.

But a police investigation completed in 1993 dispelled the theory of a stalker of gays.

Montreal police have laid formal homicide charges against McGray in connection with the two 1991 deaths, according to Moncton RCMP.

McGray is also a suspect in the murder of a Saint John resident in the late 1980s, police have confirmed. They did not release details of that death.

Michael Wayne McGray

October 30, 1999

The RCMP are wondering if one of Canada's worst serial killers is sitting in a New Brunswick jail cell. Michael Wayne McGray is awaiting trial for the murder of a Moncton mother and daughter.

Since he was arrested 18 months ago, McGray has apparently been talking about other killings, in other parts of the country. Now he is considered a suspect by police in Montreal for the stabbing deaths of two men.

Moncton RCMP say other police forces are looking at some of their unsolved cases.

A spokesman for the Moncton RCMP says there are similarities between the murders of two men in Montreal, and the murders of a mother and daughter in Moncton last year.

Joan Hicks and her 11-year-old daughter Nina were stabbed to death in their basement apartment. A trial is scheduled to begin in February.

Police says they were led to suspect McGray in other murders after talking to people who knew him in prison.

"We're looking at all files and any files we feel he might be suspected in," said RCMP Const. Mark Gallagher. "We're turning over some of the information to the police. Other agencies across Canada are receiving this information and are looking into some of their past murders."

Gallagher says the RCMP also have strong evidence McGray was involved in other crimes in Saint John.

Gallagher says McGray will be transferred to Montreal in the coming weeks.

McGray pleads guilty to Hicks murder

Monday, March 20, 2000

Life in prison - no parole for 25 years. That's the sentence for Michael Wayne McGray. He pleaded guilty in Moncton to the first degree murder of Newfoundlander Joan Hicks two years ago. McGray has admitted to several other murders, too.

No remorse - that's the way police describe Michael Wayne McGray. McGray pleaded guilty to murdering Joan Hicks in her Moncton apartment two years ago. But, he refused to admit his part in the murder of her 11-year old daughter Nina. Proceedings in that case have been stayed, or suspended, for the time being.

Crown Prosecutor Tony Allman says McGray told his side of the story to a police officer at the Renous Institution last fall. In the statement, McGray describes how he'd spent the day mainlining cocaine. He says he became overwhelmed with a recurring urge to kill somebody. His girlfriend was at the home of Joan Hicks. He went to Hicks' home and sent his girlfriend away. He described choking Joan Hicks against the wall. Once she was unconscious, he slashed her throat with a breadknife to make sure she was dead.

McGray has also confessed to the murder in Saint John of Mark Daniel Gibbons in 1987. Gibbons was stabbed to death in Market Square shortly after McGray, Gibbons and another man had robbed a taxi driver at knifepoint. He'll be appearing in Saint John on that charge in May.

The other confessions related to the stabbing death in 1991 of two Montreal men. He has also been charged with those murders.

Constable Adrian Tomkins was the officer who took McGray's confessions. He says there may be even more murders in McGray's past: "There are numerous responses from other jurisdictions within Canada, and we are working together to try to assist them with any information that we can provide ... which will possibly give a conclusion to some of the murder investigations that have been open for some time in those areas."

McGray was sentenced on Monday to the maximum sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. However, police may try to have him declared a dangerous offender, which would keep him behind bars indefinitely.

Canada's Deadliest Serial Killer?

Lawyer Says Convict Divulges Another 11 Murders

March 22, 2000

MONCTON, New Brunswick (APBnews.com) -- A lawyer representing a 35-year-old man convicted of one murder and suspected of four more says his client has taken credit for an additional 11 killings, which, if true, would make him the worst serial killer in Canadian history.

Michael Wayne McGray allegedly implicated himself in the 11 killings "some months ago" when he divulged the information to a police officer while being transported from the prison in Renous to Moncton for a court appearance, defense attorney Wendell Maxwell said.

Maxwell said his client has not provided police with specifics and has not discussed the claim with him.

The attorney also said police are trying to work out a deal whereby McGray would entrust him with information about the 11 slayings and he would "hold them in escrow" until McGray wants them divulged.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Adrian Tompkins, whom McGray allegedly told about the killings, could not be reached for comment.

'Person of few words'

Since McGray already has been convicted of one murder, if his alleged claim of having committed 11 other killings is true, he would become Canada's worst serial killer ever.

Maxwell characterized his client as "a person of few words, very polite, soft-spoken when I've had to deal with him."

So far, the nation's most notorious serial killer has been Clifford Olson, who was convicted in 1982 of killing 11 children in British Columbia.

"Olson offered to tell parents where their children were buried if they'd pay him," Maxwell told APBnews.com. "That's pretty cold."

Cannot get longer sentence

Even if McGray is convicted of other killings, he cannot be punished further, because murder sentences run concurrently in Canada. He was sentenced Monday to the maximum penalty for first-degree murder, life in prison without parole for 25 years. Canada does not have the death penalty.

McGray, who grew up in Nova Scotia, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Moncton to stabbing a 48-year-old woman, Joan Hicks of Moncton, in a drug-related murder two years ago.

He also is accused of killing Hicks' 11-year-old daughter, but a stay of proceedings was ordered Monday, which means the case is on hold and prosecutors have a year to decide whether to revive the charge.

McGray also is accused of killing two Montreal men in 1991 and a St. John, New Brunswick, cabdriver in 1987. Preliminary hearings in the Montreal slayings are scheduled for April 24, and the preliminary hearing in the St. John case is set for May 9, Maxwell said.

Murderer clams up on serial-killer claims

March 27, 2000

FREDERICTON (CP) - Convicted killer Michael Wayne McGray is now refusing to reveal his self-proclaimed role in a string of murders that could establish him as the worst serial killer in Canadian history.

McGray, serving a life sentence in Renous, N.B., for the 1998 murder of a Newfoundland woman, has clammed up after giving interviews to the media last week in which he claimed to have been involved in as many as 16 murders across North America.

''He's not talking, so there's not a whole lot anyone can do right now,'' Constable Roland Cormier of the RCMP in Moncton, N.B., said today.

RCMP investigators from Halifax had hoped to speak with McGray on Monday but that has been put off until later in the week.

Investigators are looking for information relating to several unsolved murders in Nova Scotia.

Among other murders he claims to have committed, McGray told news reporters that he and a friend killed 17-year-old Elizabeth Gail Tucker in 1985. He said he repeatedly stabbed the teenager, who was hitchhiking in southwestern Nova Scotia.

None of McGray's claims has been substantiated.

''I believe he (McGray) wants closure,'' said Sergeant Wayne Noonan of the Halifax RCMP. ''The logical first step for him is to come clean and tell us what he knows.''

A source in the New Brunswick legal community said today that McGray wants time to himself and is unhappy about the way his comments were treated by the media. The source said McGray believes he was misquoted, so he has decided to say nothing.

McGray is in lockdown in a segregated prison cell at the Atlantic Institution, a maximum-security penitentiary in central New Brunswick.

He told reporters last week he has a hunger to kill people, and he feels the urge building.

Noonan said police investigators will keep trying to talk to McGray.

''We want to talk to him. That's the bottom line,'' Noonan said.

In the meantime, Noonan said investigators in Nova Scotia are poring through files of several unsolved homicides, checking to see if McGray could be implicated.

Police in other communities in Canada and the United States are doing the same.

McGray said last week he would provide details on killings in return for a deal from police and prosecutors. He wants to be free from further prosecution and he wants to protect accomplices who he says were involved in the killings.

He also wants psychiatric treatment for ''demons'' he says sent him on a 15-year killing spree.

Noonan said medical treatment is no problem and pretty much goes without saying. But police won't move on McGray's other conditions.

''Come clean,'' Noonan said. ''You just give us everything that you have on unsolved homicides and we'll take that under consideration.''

Michael Wayne McGray

May 23, 2001

Police in Halifax, Nova Scotia, have charged convicted serial killer Michael McGray with the murder of a hitchhiker 16 years after her battered body was found on the side of a rural road.

The victim, 17-year-old Elizabeth Gale Tucker, was found dead in a wooded area in 1985. RCMP Sgt. Wayne Noonan said police officials have spent the last year checking evidence and trying to substantiate claims McGray made more than a year ago, in which he admitted killing Tucker. "We had to corroborate some of the things that were said and try to find witnesses and evidence," Noonan said.

Michael Wayne McGray