[Hpn] 'Schizophrenia' label used to blame homeless murder victim for his own death - again! death - again!

Graeme Bacque gbacque@idirect.com
Tue, 06 Jun 2000 05:26:19 -0400

June 6, 2000

`Santa Claus' slain in 2nd homeless murder
`Friendly old fellow' found in bus shelter

By Cal Millar and Jennifer Quinn
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

Adrian Fillmore didn't like doctors and he didn't like hostels.

So the 50-year-old man, who came to Toronto from New Brunswick, didn't get 
the medication he needed as he battled schizophrenia and, for the past few 
months, he lived in a downtown bus shelter.

``Things are fine,'' he said in a 1998 interview with The Star. ``I'm 
staying right here. We'll see what happens.''

What happened to Fillmore is this: his throat was slashed, his body found 
in the bus shelter, near Bay and Wellesley Sts., where he had lived for the 
past several months.

It's the second time in less than a month that a homeless man has been 
killed in Toronto, but investigators said there is nothing at this time to 
link the slayings.

Fillmore was a familiar figure to the people coming in and out of MacDonald 
Block, an Ontario government building. He walked with a stoop, and his 
flowing white beard earned him a nickname.

``We called him Santa Claus because of the way he looked,'' said one man. 
``He seemed like a friendly old fellow.''
In 1998, then living near King and Parliament Sts., Fillmore spoke with 
Star reporter Scott Simmie and told him he came to Toronto from his 
hometown of Saint John in 1994.

``It hasn't worked out very well,'' he said then.

As a university student in his home province, Fillmore had hoped to become 
a teacher, but things at school soon came undone.

He told Simmie - who interviewed him for the series ``Out of Mind,'' 
published as part of a one-year investigation into mental health issues and 
funded by a grant from the Atkinson Charitable Foundation - that things at 
university just ``didn't work out.''

Fillmore would respond to Simmie's questions directly, then turn his head 
aside and spit out a string of words in a slightly different voice.

``I don't know,'' he said, when he was asked about this habit. ``It's just 
one of the things I do. I don't know what would cause that.''

Then, Fillmore turned his head to the side, and said: ``We really aren't 
feeling well, are we? They know that you're looking at them. Don't tell 
them. They're better off not knowing. But they might find out.''

Fillmore said he had been on Loxapac, a drug used to help treat 
schizophrenia. Then, he told Simmie, his doctor changed his medication and 
``that's when things got worse.''

He had been working in the supplies department of a New Brunswick hospital 
but lost his job two days after Christmas, 1985.

``After that, I couldn't find any employment at all,'' he said. ``After the 
UI ran out, about a year later, it was almost impossible to get a job. It 
was after the unemployment that the problems really began.''

Toronto homicide Detective Sergeant Jeff McGuire said someone called 911 a 
few minutes after midnight yesterday after spotting Fillmore collapsed in a 
pool of blood in the shelter.

Paramedics couldn't revive Fillmore, and he was pronounced dead at the 
scene. An autopsy yesterday showed he died from a cutting wound to the 
neck. Sources said his throat was slashed from ear to ear and he lost a 
tremendous amount of blood.

``We're in the first stages of the investigation,'' McGuire said outside 
police headquarters yesterday afternoon, just a block from the murder scene.

``We don't know the motive. It could be anything at this point. For some 
very ridiculous reasons, we've seen some assaults like this in the past.''

Detective Reg Pitts said investigators are keeping an open mind and haven't 
linked Fillmore's slaying to the death of another homeless man less than a 
month ago.

He said police will be looking into the possibility of a connection between 
the cases but that ``there is no known link.''
On May 22, John Albert Currie, 49, a resident of Seaton House, died after 
being savagely beaten in the area of University Ave. and Dundas St. W.

A week earlier, a homeless man had several fingers chopped off when he was 
attacked while sleeping on a bench at Nathan Phillips Square.

McGuire said detectives obtained a number of videotapes from security 
cameras that monitor buildings in the Bay and Wellesley Sts. area. They're 
hoping the tapes will show the attacker or potential witnesses.

``We're appealing for anyone to come forward,'' McGuire said. ``We're 
particularly interested in the homeless people. They are more likely to 
have contact with this fellow.''

McGuire said police also hope to speak with the person who called 911 to 
get help for Fillmore and then left the area without giving a name.

One advocate for Toronto's homeless said Fillmore's death points to the 
danger on the city's streets.

``The streets of Toronto are deadly not just because people are dying in 
the winter of cold injuries and the summer of heat injuries, but now we've 
got the added element that there is a growing number of homeless people who 
have actually been murdered,'' said Michael Shapcott.

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at 808-7400 or 
Crime Stoppers at 222-TIPS.