This is part of my ongoing series on Canadian Mass Murders.
The screaming of the victims went on for about five minutes, said Jerome Cruz, a neighbour of the Scarborough home where two men and a woman were found dead.
“After that, all quiet.”
On August 25, 2016, 35-year-old Brett Ryan did the unthinkable.
He murdered his mother so she couldn’t tell his fiancé he was a liar. Then he murdered two of his brothers and attempted to kill the third after they tried to come to their mother’s aid.
Three people died because Brett Ryan refused to tell his fiancé the truth: he lost his job when his employer found out about his criminal past.
Ryan was arrested and charged with three counts of first-degree murder. He pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree murder.
Justice John McMahon sentenced Brett Ryan to 25 years with no chance of parole.
A Criminal Past
In 2007, Brett Ryan robbed thirteen banks, netting a total of just $28,000.
In January 2009, he was convicted of 16 robbery-related charges and sentenced to almost four years in prison. After credit for time served before sentencing, Ryan was granted full parole in late 2010.
“You remain a low risk for offending,” the parole board said.
He filed for bankruptcy after his release.
He attempted to revive his house painting business, but failed. Who wants a convicted thief in their house, right?
“As he approached his 30th birthday, he couldn’t escape the self-inflicted realities of his life: he was a bankrupt ex-con with a high school education and no prospects,” wrote Mark Mann for Toronto Life.
In 2011, Brett met Kristen Baxter through a friend and, January 2013, moved into her waterfront condo.
While Kristen knew about his criminal record, she didn’t know he lied about his job and education.
Instead, Brett Ryan told his fiance he graduated from university in 2016 and worked in IT. The job in IT was true, but only for a month or so until his employer learned of Brett’s criminal record. He was fired immediately but concealed the job loss from his fiance.
About a month before the couple’s planned wedding day, Brett Ryan broke down and confessed the truth to his mother.
She demanded he tell his wife-to-be or she would tell Kristen for him.
“Brett Ryan was worried that if his fiancee discovered the web of lies, she’d call off the wedding,” said Justice John McMahon.
It was his mother’s threat to expose these lies a month before his planned marriage that led to the triple-murder.
From the Toronto Sun’s July 29, 2017, column Crossbow killer Brett Ryan murdered family to hide his deceit:
The tension mounted in the days leading up to the killings as Ryan couldn’t land a job.
He confronted his mother. When their argument became heated, she phoned his older brother, Christopher, for help.
Brett retrieved the crossbow, stabbed his mom with a bolt, then strangled her to death with a yellow nylon rope.
Brett ambushed Christopher by shooting a bolt through the back of his head when he appeared.
Brett hid both bodies under a tarp in the garage. His younger brother, Alexander, was fatally stabbed with a bolt when he confronted Brett.
[Youngest brother] Leigh, who lived with his mother, heard the commotion and saw Brett standing over Alexander, who collapsed in the driveway.
Leigh raced inside to phone for help. Brett attacked him immediately, but Leigh managed to escape and phone for help from a neighbour’s home.
When police officers arrived, Ryan confessed.
I’ll close with the comments of a Reddit user.
He’s scared his fiancé will call off the wedding because he told tall tales……. so he kills his family? Surely THAT won’t spur her to call off the wedding, right? What logic.
What logic indeed.