Eight Toronto Teen Girls to Stand Trial for Alleged Murder of Homeless Man

Eight teenage girls, aged 13-16, will stand trial for the alleged murder of a homeless man in downtown Toronto. The girls, arrested in December 2022, face charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

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Eight Toronto Teen Girls to Stand Trial for Alleged Murder of Homeless Man

Eight Toronto Teen Girls to Stand Trial for Alleged Murder of Homeless Man

Eight teenage girls, aged 13 to 16, will stand trial for the alleged murder of Kenneth Lee, a homeless man, in downtown Toronto in December 2022. Six of the girls face second-degree murder charges, while two face manslaughter charges.

The girls were arrested in December 2022, just days before Christmas, after allegedly swarming and stabbing Lee in the early morning hours outside the Strathcona Hotel, which was operating as a temporary shelter space during the ongoing homelessness crisis. The girls were 13, 13, 13, 14, 14, 14, 16, and 16 years old at the time of the incident.

Why this matters: This case highlights the urgent need to address the growing homelessness crisis in Toronto, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The alleged involvement of teenage girls in a violent crime also raises concerns about the root causes of youth crime and the effectiveness of support systems for at-risk youth.

Ontario Court Justice David Rose committed each of the girls to trial after a 10-day preliminary hearing, during which evidence and arguments were presented. The evidence presented during the preliminary hearing is covered by a publication ban to protect the accused persons' fair trial rights.

The trial dates in the Superior Court of Justice have not yet been scheduled. All but one of the girls is currently on bail as they await trial. The identity of the girls is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which prioritizes rehabilitation for young persons.

The case has sparked concerns about youth crime and the ongoing homelessness crisis in Toronto. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the homelessness crisis, leading to increased demand for temporary shelter spaces like the Strathcona Hotel.

The alleged murder of Kenneth Lee, a homeless man, by eight teenage girls in downtown Toronto has sent shockwaves through the community. As the girls, aged 13 to 16, await trial on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter, the case raises questions about the factors contributing to youth crime and the urgent need to address the city's growinghomelessness crisis.