May 22, 1996

Philip Mascoll, Bruce DeMara
and Moira Welsh

2 transvestites gunned down
Police fear killer may be stalking other prostitutes

TORONTO - Metro police fear a killer may be targeting the transvestite community after two young male prostitutes were shot to death within minutes and metres of each other.

The victims were Sean Keegan, 19, a bisexual street youth and sometime prostitute, and an unidentified transvestite prostitute in his late teens or early 20s.

"I would say they (transvestite prostitutes) should have extreme concerns for their well-being if they're going to be out here at night," said homicide squad Detective-Sergeant Jim McDermott, in charge of the investigation.

"There is a strong possibility these two murders are connected and other people could be in danger."

There have been 24 murders in 1996, one more than at this time last year.

Five people have been killed in Metro in less than a week. Last night, a 47-year-old man was stabbed to death in a Scarborough home invasion. On Monday night, the body of Brenda Iris Ludgate, 25, was found in the King St. W. Tecumseth St. area. Andre Matthews, 15, was slashed to death last Thursday night while walking along Warden Ave.

Keegan was found early yesterday morning in a stairwell to the underground parking garage at 40 Homewood Ave., in the Jarvis-Wellesley Sts. area. The other victim was found about nine hours later.

Residents say the stairwell is one of the places transvestite prostitutes regularly take "dates."

Keegan was among 40 to 50 youths evicted last month from 88 Carlton St., an abandoned apartment building used by squatters, friends say.

McDermott said he could not discount links to previous murders of this type, including those outside Metro.

"We're certainly going to be in touch with all the outlying police departments to see if they have any similar facts and whether there's any connection."

Both victims were fully clothed and there was no sign that robbery was the motive for the killings, the investigator said.

Keegan's body was found by police, who were summoned after gunshots were heard amid the Victoria Day firecrackers and rolls of thunder just after midnight.

At about 9:30 a.m. across the street, Louise Nardella and another tenant at 61 Homewood were staring in horror at the second dead man.

He was slumped against a fence in a laneway that divides the back of 59 and 61 Homewood Ave. from the back of St. Leonard's Hotel at 422 Sherbourne St. and other buildings.

"It was a horrible shock," Nardella said yesterday. "The guy upstairs spotted the body at about 9:10 when he went down to start his motorcycle.

"He came to my door to ask if someone else would come down with him, because he didn't want to go up to the body by himself."

She went - and saw the first murder victim of her life.

"It was a man dressed as a woman."

McDermott said: "As best as we can tell, both of them died ... about the same time and we're treating it as if they're both related. "I would assume, in that they both appear to have been transvestite prostitutes from Homewood, that they would probably be acquaintances of each other."

On Monday night, the two men worked Homewood and Carlton Sts. Keegan was dressed in a mini-skirt, black platform shoes and a wig that Taylor had given him.

Keegan, whose street name was Junior, found out about eight months ago that he had contracted HIV from unprotected sex with another man, said Edwards.

Keegan had lived on the streets off and on since he was 13 years old, his friends said yesterday.

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Created: June 9, 1996
Last modified: February 8, 1997

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