• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Murderer murders cell mate, prison authorities shocked

old medic

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
Sharing a cell with a killer

Brian Hutchinson, National Post · Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

VANCOUVER — One of Canada’s most heinous and prolific serial killers, Michael Wayne McGray warned he could murder again, even while in prison.

“Just because I’m locked up in segregation doesn’t mean I can’t kill somebody,” he told the National Post’s Graeme Hamilton a decade ago, while sitting inside a federal penitentiary in Renous, N.B. “I have a chance every day.”

Killing, he went on, is “almost a hunger. It’s something I need. I have to have that physical release. When I kill, it’s a big high for me.” The years passed. Convicted of six murders, McGray was moved from prison to prison. Last year he wound up in B.C. He was most recently moved to a medium-security institution, of all places.

And one morning last week, McGray’s new cellmate was found dead.

The RCMP have confirmed that Jeremy Phillips, 33, was murdered. His body was discovered inside the medium-security cell he shared with McGray in Agassiz, B.C. The same cell in which the pair had been locked up the previous night.

The Mounties cannot say if McGray is a suspect in their murder investigation; charges have still not been laid. But the police have concluded their work, says Dale Carr, media spokesman for the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Team, and they expect an “information package” will be forwarded early next week to the Criminal Justice Branch of B.C.’s Ministry of Attorney General. The Crown will then decide whether to lay a murder charge. One seems likely.

The Phillips murder has shocked prison authorities, and it has appalled even inmates. Recently, McGray was transferred from maximum-security segregation at Kent Institution in Agassiz, to the less-restrictive confines of Mountain Institution, a medium-security pen next door.

Mountain is described by Correctional Services Canada as “a program-focused institution, where inmates must have steady jobs and take part in constructive leisure activities.”

According to one inmate serving time at Kent, McGray, 45, is a feared convict whose reputation preceded his arrival. He was moved to Kent last year after stints in eastern Canadian prisons. He made an immediate impression on residents of Kent’s M-Unit, a segregated block with single-person cells inhabited mainly by other convicted killers.

“Everyone walked on egg shells around him,” the inmate said in a phone interview Thursday. “I had heard about the guy and the six murders, but I didn’t know he was stone-cold. How he got moved over to Mountain is beyond me. I’ve been trying to get a transfer there for years and I didn’t kill six people.”

Perhaps the only downside to such a transfer might be the living arrangement; most Mountain inmates share a cell. None do in Kent. It’s preferred to have a private cell. Prior to his transfer, the inmate said, McGray made a fuss. He made it clear he did not want a roommate.

Prison authorities had to have heard McGray’s alleged threats, the inmate insisted. Yet he was moved from Kent to the more lax Mountain prison, where three-quarters of its cells have two bunks.

It’s believed that McGray landed in a cell originally meant for one inmate; however, a second bunk was installed due to a space crunch. It was there that McCray met Jeremy Phillips.

According to Corrections Canada and court documents, Phillips was a career criminal serving a six-year, nine-month sentence for aggravated assault and conspiring to commit an indictable offence. After a soured drug deal in March, 2006, he attacked a man with a baseball bat and fractured his skull.

The assault occurred in Moncton, N.B., and by strange coincidence just a few blocks from the address where, eight years earlier, McGray stabbed to death Joan Hicks-Sparks, 48, and murdered her daughter Nina, 11.

The double slaying was front-page news all over New Brunswick. McGray was apprehended by police and charged. In August, 1998, he was flown in custody to Ottawa for a 60-day psychiatric evaluation. A number of assessment reports were submitted to a New Brunswick court prior to McGray’s scheduled trial. One suggested he suffered a serious strain of Tourette syndrome that produced in him an “irresistible urge to kill.” But he was found fit to stand trial.

In October, 1999, while still awaiting trial, McGray was charged in connection with the 1991 deaths of two Montreal men, Robert Assaly and Gaetan Ethier. According to a Montreal police detective, McGray attracted the attention of investigators while inside the Renous, N.B. prison. He was “acting weird and talking to certain people,” said the detective.

McGray had indeed killed the two men; it would be disclosed later that he’d been on a weekend pass from a Montreal prison and was bent on murdering homosexual men. He stabbed to death both victims.

Police investigating other cold murder cases in Canada began looking at McGray as a possible suspect.

In January, 2000, McGray was charged with a fourth slaying, the second-degree murder of Mark Gibbons. The victim had acted as McGray’s accomplice while robbing a Saint John, N.B., taxi driver in 1987; hours after the robbery, McGray stabbed Gibbons to death in a parking lot.

McGray went to trial on the Hicks murders in March 2000. In a sudden turn, he pleaded guilty to killing Joan Hicks-Sparks. In his confession, he said he had experienced an urge to kill, had entered the victim’s home, and had slashed the woman’s throat with a serrated kitchen knife. The attack was entirely unprovoked. His first-degree murder conviction earned him a life sentence in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.

McGray denied killing his victim’s daughter, Nina Hicks; that murder charge was temporarily stayed. McGray then went on a media interview spree, talking to reporters from newspapers and radio outlets and boasting that he had killed as many as 16 people.

A year later, McGray reversed course and entered a guilty plea in the first-degree murder of Nina Hicks. And by then, he had also confessed to the murders of Messrs. Gibbons, Assaly, and Ethier.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Days after confessing in court to the Nina Hicks murder, McGray pleaded guilty to the murder of a 17-year-old hitchhiker, Elizabeth Gale Tucker, whose decomposed body was found in a Digby County, N.S., field in 1985. McGray was handed his sixth life sentence; all are being served concurrently.

Citing restrictions placed on them by the federal Privacy Act, Corrections Canada officials will say little about their inmate McGray, nor will they discuss why he was moved from prison to prison and then into a medium security institution, where he shared a cell, briefly, with Jeremy Phillips, now deceased.

They will only point to written Corrections Canada policy, a Commissioner’s Directive that outlines “inmate placement criteria” in the event it becomes “necessary to accommodate two inmate in a cell.” Criteria to be assessed include the inmates’ psychological information, their criminal profiles, their predatory behaviours and their compatibility.

According to the directive, decisions to place one offender with another must be recorded, “along with the results of the assessment.” Even if such a record was made in this case, prison officials would still not release it. The public won’t know on what basis McGray was deemed compatible with Phillips.

He seemed compatible with no one, recalled the inmate who walked the same block with the killer at Kent.

“[McGray] showed no patience for anyone at all and people stayed away from him,” he said Thursday. “Someone screwed the pooch bad on this one.”

Im sure the victims family will recieve a large cash judgement.

I cant say I would disagree. The institutional decision making above the frontline and their immediate supervisors is mind-boggling. I pity the CO's trying to make the rules work.
An earlier article, but it gives the conviction information for Jeremy Phillips.


Police investigate death of Jeremy Michael Phillips at Mountain Correctional Institution


Published Thursday November 25th, 2010

AGASSIZ, B.C. - A Moncton man serving time in a British Columbia prison was found dead in his cell on Monday morning, and police in British Columbia's Lower Mainland say they are investigating it as a murder.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, made up of police agencies in Vancouver and surrounding areas, was called in to investigate the death of Jeremy Michael Phillips, 33, at Agassiz's Mountain Correctional Institution, about 125 kilometres (80 miles) east of Vancouver.

Phillips was serving a six-year sentence for aggravated assault after fracturing a man's skull with a baseball bat in a High Street apartment during a drug deal gone bad in 2006.

Though it's still officially considered a suspicious death, RCMP Cpl. Dale Carr of the Integrated Homicide Investigative Team told the Times & Transcript yesterday, "it has the indicators of a homicide."

Carr had said earlier in the week the earliest the autopsy could be held was yesterday, but that hadn't yet happened when he spoke to the Times & Transcript yesterday.

Carr said Phillips was found dead in his cell after an alarm bell had been activated in the cell just after 10 a.m. on Monday.

He was seen alive the evening before as staff did their late-night check on him and his cell-mate, Carr said.

The other inmate in the cell where the death occurred is a 45-year-old man serving a sentence for six counts of murder, said Carr.

He said after the body was found, the other inmate was taken to another location.

In a media release, the Correctional Service of Canada said correctional staff responded along with institutional health care staff who were in the vicinity at the time of the discovery. A medical doctor pronounced Phillips dead at 10:15 a.m.

Jean-Paul Lorieau, a spokesman for the Correctional Service of Canada, said he couldn't add anything about the incident beyond what was in the media release because of the investigation.

As in all cases where an individual dies in custody, the police and in this case the B.C. Coroners Service have been called to investigate. The Correctional Service of Canada will also conduct a review of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Mountain Institution is a medium-security federal prison that houses about 440 inmates.

Even though the prison is in British Columbia, Phillips was there because it holds offenders from across the country, including another with Moncton connections.

Michael Wayne McGray, 45, is there serving time for six murders, including two on Humphrey Street in 1998, just a few blocks from where Phillips committed his crime eight years later.

The Correctional Service of Canada will not identify the offender who was sharing the cell with Phillips, and the RCMP's Carr said yesterday, "we're not in any position to release the name of any suspect until that person is charged."

A charge may not be laid quickly, because whoever Phillips' cellmate was, he won't be going anywhere anytime soon, Carr noted, as is often the case involving investigations inside prison walls.

While general-population prison inmates are normally locked into their cells overnight, cells are typically unlocked during the daytime, and the website for Mountain Institution notes, "Mountain is a program-focused institution, where inmates must have steady jobs and take part in constructive leisure activities."

Asked why the cell occupied by Phillips and his cell mate was still locked at 10 a.m. and why neither man was at a job within the prison, Carr referred the question to the Correctional Service, whose spokesman had no comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

At Jeremy Phillips' trial in October 2006, court heard a man named Rene Francis LeBlanc was selling pills to Carl Gary Stultz in an apartment at 443 High St. on the afternoon of Feb. 9.

At some point the drug deal turned sour and Stultz stabbed LeBlanc, while Phillips emerged from another room in the apartment and struck LeBlanc with a baseball bat multiple times.

Phillips and Stultz fled to Toronto, where they were eventually captured. Remarkably, their victim drove himself to hospital with a fractured skull, a collapsed lung, multiple puncture wounds and blows to the head. He later recovered but court heard in 2006 he still suffered from hearing and memory loss.

Carl Stultz was later convicted for his role in the incident and sentenced to four and a half years in prison.

Both had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in plea bargain arrangements, their lawyers otherwise prepared to attack the credibility of their victim, who had a lengthy criminal record.

Coincidentally, Stultz was in a Moncton court again this week, sentenced to two years in prison after he pleaded guilty to possessing a concealed weapon and breaching a weapons prohibition. He was arrested outside Lyon's Ultramar on Sept. 4 carrying a loaded sawed-off shotgun with a homemade sling under his jacket.

When Jeremy Phillips had a chance to address the court prior to his sentencing back in October 2006, he said things got out of hand that day. He said he and Stultz were planning to go to Toronto to get on a methadone program, but needed some pills for the trip, because they were both addicted.

"What happened totally went wrong," he told the judge. "We were there to do something wrong and it escalated into something I totally didn't want to happen."

He said he was remorseful for his actions and wants to turn his life around. His lawyer Troy Sweet pointed out to the court that no money was stolen from LeBlanc - an indication the incident was not a robbery.

Phillips told the court he even helped the victim up and told him to go to hospital. He said the incident never would have happened if Stultz and LeBlanc hadn't gotten into a "spat" during the deal.

"I wish I could take that day back," he said.
dogger1936 said:
murder kills inmate...didnt see that one coming.


Authorities are SHOCKED!

This just in! Nobody saw it coming- Hungry dog turns over garbage can!
Would like to see the argument that executing this dude wouldn't prevent any future murders from happening. Quite clearly he is a risk to anybody that comes in contact with him. Even if he was solitarily confined for the rest of his life, somebody has to bring him food, water, etc.

I know there is a thread on the death penalty already, I just wonder if the anti-capital punishment folk are going to comment on this one.

ballz said:
I know there is a thread on the death penalty already, I just wonder if the anti-capital punishment folk are going to comment on this one.

Just pointing out you're taking about a preventative measure here, not a punishment. Different area!

Anyway, lets not derail the thread.

You have to wonder what the fallout of something like this is going to be. There will be an investigation no doubt, and what are the possibilities to come out of it? Policy recommendations? Whoever was in charge of this move should at the least be charged with criminal negligence I think. This was an easily forseeable outcome of moving a man who said he 'would murder again and enjoy it' in to a room with another man. Especially when the murderer explicitly states that he is unhappy with it.
Is this really a surprise?

Our justice system is full of this crap.

How many serial drunk drivers get their licence back?
How many serial pedophiles get released?
Doesn't this happen all the time in every prison all over the world? ::)
NSDreamer said:
Just pointing out you're taking about a preventative measure here, not a punishment. Different area!

I agree we shouldnt derail the thread but I think Ballz is refering to the fact that a multiple murderer is locked up for a long sentence so he cant hurt anyone anymore.

Pro capital punishment says- he has earned his execution through his actions AND it would prevent any future offences.

Anticapital punishment says he has earned being locked up forever so he cant hurt anyone else.

In this case he still managed to kill again. Whereas had he been executed the other individual would still be alive- no matter the other offenders "earnings". So again with this individual being allowed to continue his existence he could potentially kill again.....and again....

These posts are better suited for the other thread though. Maybe we should put these posts and a copy of the articles in the other thread. Id like to see a few other ideas on the subject. I am not tech savvy enough to do it however....
NSDreamer said:
Just pointing out you're taking about a preventative measure here, not a punishment. Different area!

Different argument perhaps, but the anti-"capital punishment" and anti-"prevent by death" folk were rowing the same boat in the other thread. I agree though, rather than derail, I'm going to put up a link in the other thread and bring it back to life ;D