Murder charges laid against Ontario man accused of aiding suicide with sodium nitrite

Click to play video: 'Law faces murder charges after suicide deaths'
Law faces murder charges after suicide deaths
WATCH: The man at the centre of an alleged suicide-for-sale mail order business is facing 14 new charges of second-degree murder. Police in Ontario say Kenneth Law is responsible for the deaths of more than a dozen people in the province who expressed an interest in taking their own lives. Sean O’Shea reports – Dec 12, 2023

EDITOR’S NOTE — This story includes a discussion of suicide.

Police say 14 charges of second-degree murder have been laid against an Ontario man accused of aiding suicide through the alleged use of sodium nitrite that was shipped and sold through online websites.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Insp. Simon James from York Regional Police, who is the multi-jurisdictional major case manager, said the additional charges of second-degree murder were laid against 57-year-old Kenneth Law for each of the 14 victims that were identified earlier this year.

“Evidence has come in that supports the charge of second-degree murder,” James said. “I can’t speak to that evidence at this time to preserve the investigation.”

“They are significant charges. … It’s clearly a significant charge to be laying this many,” he said, but stopped short of describing him as a “serial killer” based on the charges which have not yet been proven in court.

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Law was arrested in May and by August, police across Ontario had charged him with 14 counts of counselling or aiding suicide within the province of Ontario.

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He now faces a total of 28 charges in the province of Ontario with the additional 14 charges of second-degree murder.

Investigators have alleged Law operated several websites selling sodium nitrite — a substance which can be lethal in large doses.

Sodium nitrite is a white, crystalline substance used as a food additive and typically found in processed meats. Police said intentional consumption of excessive amounts of this substance can reduce oxygen levels, impair breathing and result in death.

Click to play video: 'Kenneth Law facing 14 charges of second-degree murder in sodium nitrate investigation: police'
Kenneth Law facing 14 charges of second-degree murder in sodium nitrate investigation: police

James said investigators believe more than 1,200 packages were sent out to 40 countries globally and around 160 packages were sent across Canada alone. Authorities in the U.K., United States, Italy, Australia and New Zealand have launched investigations.

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Police have alleged packages from the following companies are connected to Law: Imtime Cuisine, AmbuCA, Academic/ACademic, Escape Mode/escMode and ICemac.

The victims in Ontario were both male and female and between the ages of 16 and 36 years old. James said more than one victim was under the age of 18.

James said police would not be identifying the victims “out of respect to the privacy of the victims and their family members.”

He did not elaborate on a possible motive and said it is under investigation.

Law has another court date on Dec. 19 in Newmarket, Ont.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, support is available 24/7 by calling Talk Suicide Canada (1-833-456-4566) or, for residents of Quebec, 1 866 APPELLE (1-866-277-3553).

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