Toronto man jailed for orchestrating murder of godfather charged with counsel to commit murder

Marshall Ross is seen in a 2007 court sketch. Global News

A Toronto man serving a life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder for his role in orchestrating the murder of his godfather has been charged with counsel to commit murder, Global News has learned.

Marshall Ross, who is now 49 years old, was charged on April 18 at the Bath Institution near Kingston where he has been serving his 25-year life sentence after the murder of Glen Davis.

Appearing in a Napanee courtroom by video Friday morning, Ross said little during his brief appearance in front of Justice Geoffrey Griffin. Ross did confirm that he is now serving his time at Collins Bay Institution in its maximum-security unit.

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A publication ban prevents media from reporting the names of the alleged victims and the names of any witnesses in this case.

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Last month, shortly after the new charge was laid, Ontario Provincial Police put out a news release but did not name Ross.

It said the investigation into the alleged crime began in August and was conducted by the joint forces penitentiary squad and Correctional Services Canada under the direction of the OPP’s criminal investigation branch.

According to the information in court, Ross allegedly counselled to commit murder between Aug. 27 and March 8.

Last month, police stated the intended victims were not prison inmates and said the alleged victims have been notified of the potential threat.

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“Appropriate measures have been taken to ensure the safety of those involved,” OPP said.

In October 2011, Ross admitted to orchestrating the murder of Davis, an environmentalist and a philanthropist who gave millions of dollars to charities, including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The 66-year-old was shot to death in the underground parking garage of the office building where the WWF had its offices at Mount Pleasant Road and Eglinton Avenue East in May 2007. Davis had been meeting with WWF staff at a restaurant in the building.

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Ross was arrested 21 months later. The motive, court heard, was that Ross owed Davis $2.5 million that his godfather had lent him for his home renovation business and Ross could not pay him back.

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Ross also believed he would be named a beneficiary in Davis’s will because he was thought he was Davis’s favourite relative and the heir-apparent to Davis’s company because Davis had no children.

Two other men who Ross hired to carry out the murder are also serving life sentences after being found guilty of first-degree murder. A third pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact and has finished serving his sentence.

Ross’ lawyer, James Lockyer, did not attend Friday’s court hearing, but an agent appearing on his behalf said they are waiting for disclosure on the new charge of counsel to commit murder. Lockyer did not return a request for comment made by Global News.

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Ross is scheduled to return to court by video in June.

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