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Family appeals for info on Skinner murder


Family appeals for info on Skinner murder

Three years later, police still have no suspect
The family of Chris Skinner used the third anniversary of his death to plead with the public for help finding his killer. They have increased the existing police reward to $150,000, thanks to donations from friends of the family.
Skinner was murdered Oct 18, 2009, near the corner of Adelaide and Victoria streets. Eyewitnesses say they saw between two and four men beat Skinner to the ground and then drive over him with both the front and rear wheels of a black, four-door SUV with high-intensity lights. Video images of the suspected vehicle were recovered by police from nearby security cameras, but they have been unable to identify any suspects in the murder.
In the wake of Skinner’s death, many of his friends in the gay community speculated that the crime may have been hate-motivated. An estimated 1,000 people gathered at Church and Wellesley for a vigil and march one week after the killing.
But police have dismissed that line of investigation and are now focusing on the theory that the altercation may have started after Skinner accidentally or purposely touched the SUV while hailing a taxi.
Skinner’s sister Taryn told a press conference at police headquarters that the killers’ motive isn’t important. “I don’t struggle with the why, because the answer doesn’t matter,” she says. “Why they did it isn’t important, but the fact that they did is. That’s why we’re appealing to the public for an answer.”
She pleaded for anyone who knows anything about the murder to come forward to police.
“I would love to look them in the eyes and ask them to relate what we’re feeling to their loved ones,” she says. “Imagine that they were stolen and taken from you. What would you feel, and what would you want to happen?”
Police believe there may have been people in the car who weren’t involved with the assault and suggest they likely wouldn’t face charges if they came forward with information.
Detective Sergeant Stacy Gallant says the police are continuing to investigate possible DNA evidence linked to the murder.
“If he was punched, there could have been some skin cells that rubbed off on his jeans or his jacket,” Gallant says. “Potentially, they could have some saliva come out of their mouth and land on the person.”
Gallant says the investigation has not gone cold.
“It takes time to examine a full jacket, a full pair of pants for DNA,” he says.  “If it’s there, it can be a very minute piece of DNA and hopefully we can find it. With the technology today it doesn’t take much.”
Police urge anyone with information to call the homicide squad at 416-898-7410 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.
The family also unveiled several social media platforms where they hope to reach out to anyone with knowledge of the murder. There is a Twitter account (@findchriskiller), a Facebook page (Searching for Chris Skinner’s Killer) and a YouTube channel.
“Hopefully, with all our social media we can hit way more people than we’ve hit in the past,” Taryn Skinner says. “We’ve been through hell in the past three years, and no one should walk away from having us feel like that.” 
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Back in the day no one seemed to care
It has been a very long time that my cousin Dennis Colby was murdered in Toronto. I remember the main statement attached was that he was gay.... He has not been forgotten, and my thoughts that just because he was gay no big investigation followed, it appeared. He is looking down and praying for us that we open our eyes and see that he was a kind gentle that did not deserve such brutality and I am praying that he is never forgotten. Diana
@James Dubro
James, I know that you have written many articles on unsolved LGBT murders and that you diligently follow-up on these cases. You are perhaps the only person in Toronto who does this. In addition to the unsolved LGBT murders mentioned in your earlier posts and my earlier post (i.e., Skinner, Lanteigne, Colby, Magill, Buller), there are others. But, at the time they were reported, the media may not have identified the victim as being gay. However, the circumstances of the death are similar (e.g., an older life-long "bachelor" being found beaten to death in his house or his apartment, with neighbours reporting that he sometimes took scruffy young men into his apartment). However, I don't share your optimism that these cold cases will be solved. It upsets and angers me that it seems so easy to kill a LGBT person in Toronto - and get away with it.
Always a possibility murder will out
Jon I am a crime writer who have researched a lot of these cold cases & one must never say never as to the possibility of charges being laid or new information coming in. In the Chris skinner case it would be guilt of the killer or one of his friends or people with him that night. Some of the other cold case victims in Toronto were not all older men, including trans nursing student Cassandra Do (2003)& U of T accountant Allan Lanteigne (2010). Going back in time there are some cold cases involving gay men including ex school trustee Dennis Colby (ca 1995-7). Ross Magill was killed in his St Clair/Yonge St apt three and half years ago by two men, likely crack dealers. The chief homicide investigator in the Magill & Lanteigne murders was Dan Neilson who just retired last month. But both are still active cases and not officially "cold cases" yet. BTW the murder of Barn founder Janko Naglic will never be officially solved as they charged & tried the one they thought who did it & he was acquitted an they are not looking for anyone else.
They've gotten away with it
I think it's quite clear that the murderers of Chris Skinner have gotten away with it. Just like the murderers of various older gay men who have been found killed in their apartments or houses in the last 20 years - all unsolved cases. Just like the murderers of Ross MGill, a gay man who was stabbed when he opened his apartment door - see http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/460923--police-say-victim-knew-his-killers Just like the murderer of David Buller, a gay academic who was found murdered in his office at the University of Toronto - see http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/922969--art-teacher-s-unsolved-murder-still-haunts-family
I am assuming DNA from the assailants was found on the victim. It is also more than likely no independent witness can clearly identify which person did what. Their statements are most likely all over the place. This is not a murder case but a manslaughter case even if a positive identification can be made. This case seems to be a perfect case for a plea bargain for even a lesser charge. On reading RJ there is no DNA to match so a test is completely irrelevant. I may be wrong as this is not the best written story.
DNA a weak hope which probably wouldn't deliver a
A point to note is that the police have the DNA of the killer of Cassandra Do (a nursing student& part-time trannie sex worker murdered about 10 yrs ago on Gloucester Street) and that hasn't helped find the killer since his DNA is not on file. In the off-chance they do discover some DNA of the killer of Chris Skinner it is unlikely this would result in identifying the killer as very few people in Canada are on DNA databases (basically just convicted violent sex offendors & murderers. I asked Gallant if there were tire marks from the SUV which killed Skinner, but he refused any comment. BTW the reward of 150G (100 from family, rest from TPS) has been on the table since last year when I did the second anniversary of the murder for Xtra, Oct 2011. Taryn is a very poised,determined gracious woman whose tenacity might eventually pay off & whose courage & hope is very moving. eventually the scumbag who drove over Chris Skinner after assaulting him in the street will be identified by someone who was in the car with the killer driver. Guilt is a very strong motivator. My heart goes out to Taryn whose 23rd birthday Chris Skinner was celebrating the night he was murdered en route home from the party. And to his dad, criminal lawyer Warren Skinner, who holds out hope too that one of the people in the car (up to 3 or 4) might come forward & identify the killer.And I am sure Xtra will stay on this unsolved homicide along with 4 other recent cold cases of LGBT people (Ross MAgill, Cassandra Do, Allan Lateigne and David Buller).
3 years & the DNA typing isn't done YET?
One might think that in the past 1096 days, this would have been done by now, but then again, Toronto Police Services told one of the Chris Skinner press conferences that they didn't have software to view all the security camera footage they gathered up either.

Frustrating, disappointing, and maddening.
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