TORONTO — CAUTION: This story contains graphic content that may disturb some readers.
A Toronto-area man killed two young women in his home nearly a decade apart, then cut up and disposed of their remains by throwing them in a lake and flushing them down the toilet, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Adam Strong, 47, was convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of Rori Hache and of manslaughter in that of Kandis Fitzpatrick.
Court heard Strong previously acknowledged prosecutors had proven he dismembered the two women but argued they failed to prove he killed either one.
In a ruling delivered in court and by teleconference, Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca found Strong killed Hache in September 2017 by repeatedly hitting her in the head with a hammer or a similar object as she lay bound in his bedroom.
The judge said the killing constitutes first-degree murder because it occurred in the course of a sexual assault.
He found Strong also killed Fitzpatrick in 2008, but said there was insufficient evidence for a murder conviction.
The fact that both women were dismembered following their deaths, and that their remains were stored in a freezer as Strong sought to dispose of them over months, further supports a finding that he killed them, Di Luca said.
"The chances that Mr. Strong would have twice found himself in need of a chest freezer to store the dismembered body parts of young women who met their deaths innocently is so infinitesimally small that it suggests the opposite conclusion," he said.
Hache, who was 18 and pregnant, disappeared in August 2017. Her torso was found in Lake Ontario the following month, and Strong was charged in her death in late December of that year.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, was last seen in 2008. Her body was never found, but in July 2018, police alleged they had found her DNA in Strong's basement, including on a specialty hunting knife used for skinning and gutting animals.
The trial, in front of a judge alone, heard police were called to Strong's Oshawa, Ont., home in December 2017 after plumbers found a "flesh-like" substance in the pipes.
Court heard Strong later told investigators who questioned him that he was surprised when Hache's torso was discovered in the lake because he had taken precautions to keep it from surfacing.
He also blamed his arrest on "faulty plumbing," and told police flushing remains down the drain was an efficient disposal method, court heard.
Di Luca ruled that Strong's surprise stemmed from the fact that he had successfully used those techniques in getting rid of Fitzpatrick's remains.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on March 16, 2021.
The Canadian Press