Kyle Sparks MacKinnon, a man with a long history of violence, has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 22 years for the murders of Quinn Taylor and David Eminess, to be served concurrently. He’s been sentenced to a further seven years for wounding two other bystanders during a brazen shooting.
Sparks MacKinnon was arrested on Feb. 11, 2016. Less than two weeks earlier, in the early morning hours of Jan. 31, 2016, 29-year old Taylor and 26-year-old Eminess were killed outside the New Ho King restaurant on Spadina after their friend Stewart Douglas approached a group of nine men, that included Sparks MacKinnon, and asked for directions to an after-hours club.
Sparks MacKinnon and at least one of his companions were carrying loaded handguns.
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A member of the group told Douglas he did not know where the after-hours club was but a moment later, Douglas, who suffered from a mental disorder, repeated the question, at which point a person in the group produced a handgun and shot him in the head.
Miraculously, the bullet did not penetrate Douglas’s skull. It entered his head above the right eye and exited just above the right ear.
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Immediately after Douglas was shot, Sparks MacKinnon produced a handgun and he and the other shooter began firing at Douglas’s companions — Taylor and Eminess.
Neither had done anything to provoke such an attack nor did they pose any threat whatsoever to either of the shooters.
Justice MacDonnell wrote in his sentence that Taylor and Eminess were shot simply because they were associated with Douglas, who had irritated someone in Spark MacKinnon’s group.
In January, a jury found Sparks MacKinnon guilty of two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of wounding two others but acquitted his co-accused and half-brother Jahmal Richardson of the charges.
Justice MacDonnell called the circumstances of Sparks MacKinnon’s actions chilling because of the “suddenness with which he opened fire on two defenceless strangers. Intending to kill them simply because they were in the company of someone he and his companions found irritating, is shocking.”
Sparks MacKinnon did not testify at trial and declined the opportunity to address the court at the conclusion of sentencing submissions.
“There is nothing to indicate he accepts responsibility for what he’s done,“ noted MacDonnell.
After sentencing Monday, Taylor’s mother Brenda MacIntyre held a healing ceremony at the Peace Garden at Nathan Phillip’s Square by offering tobacco to her ancestors and sang a song for her son, which she said she used to sing for him when he was having a hard time.
MacIntyre said she’s happy with the sentence because it is at the high end and what the crown attorneys wanted.
MacIntyre told two dozen family, friends and Indigenous supporters at the ceremony that the murder of her son has been a nightmare.
“At least now the trial is over, and that guy is not coming out for a long ass time. He cannot hurt anymore people out here,” said a tearful MacIntyre.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s awful how many people are getting shot and killed in Toronto, in our country. This is our home and I can’t even feel safe,” she said.
After time served, Sparks MacKinnon will be eligible to apply for parole in 19 years time.
In the meantime, Sparks MacKinnon is awaiting trial for another murder, the murder of 25-year-old Charles Shillingford, who was fatally shot in October 2015 at Yonge and College streets. Jahmal Richardson, Sparks MacKinnon’s half-brother, is also accused of Shillingford’s murder.