Bail hearing begins for Hamilton teacher charged with first-degree murder in Dundas arson homicides

Alan and Carla Rutherford were asleep in their Dundas home when a blaze engulfed their bedroom early in the morning on July 9, 2018. Hamilton Police Service

A bail hearing is underway for a Hamilton teacher charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his mother and stepfather, whose Dundas home was deliberately set ablaze a year and a half ago.

Richard Taylor, 43, appeared at John Sopinka Courthouse on Tuesday wearing a black suit and white shirt on the first day of a multi-day bail hearing — the contents of which cannot be reported due to a publication ban.

The Oakville man was a teacher at Hess Street Elementary School when he was arrested in January 2019 in connection with the death of his mother, 64-year-old Carla Rutherford, and her husband, 63-year-old Alan.

Both Rutherfords were killed in a fire that police say was deliberately started in the bedroom of their home at 8 Greening Court in Dundas on July 9, 2018, while the pair were asleep.

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Alan was able to escape the house and tried to rescue Carla and the family’s two dogs but was unable to save them, police said. Carla died, trapped inside the home, while Alan was transported to hospital with life-threatening injuries, where he died hours later.

At the time of Taylor’s arrest, Hamilton police said they believed the murders were financially motivated and said they were not seeking any other suspects.

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Police also said there didn’t appear to be any “strife” between Taylor and his mother, adding that the Greening Court address was his childhood home.

Taylor’s father and wife, who are among five proposed sureties, were among those sitting in the courtroom on Tuesday.

The bail hearing is scheduled to continue for the rest of the week.

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