Wife killer Peter Demeter gives up on freedom

Once-moneyed murderer Peter Demeter (above), a killer who “oozes evil,” has given up on freedom. For the fifth consecutive time in the past 10 years, the imprisoned psychopathic senior citizen has told the National Parole Board not to bother holding a hearing at which he could beg for release. A hearing had been scheduled for this month, but Demeter waived his right to plead for freedom. It appears that the former real-estate developer, now 76, has accepted that he’ll die behind bars, in part, because he refuses to admit that he hired an assassin who split open his wife’s skull on July 18, 1973, in the garage of the couple’s upscale Mississauga, Ontario, home.

Thirty-three-year-old Christine Demeter (left), a lithe, athletic Austrian-born model, was alone at home on Wednesday evening, July 18, 1973, for less than two hours. When her husband of slightly less than six years, Peter, returned home from a shopping trip at 9:45 p.m., Christine, wearing an ankle-length, sleeveless plush brown gown, was sprawled on the concrete floor of the garage (photo above), face down, her hands folded beneath her body. Her left foot was bare, a silver slipper a few inches away. A stream of blood, double the width of her tanned body, had flowed from a gaping wound in her head, across the floor. She had been struck at least half a dozen times, perhaps with a tire iron or crowbar, that cleaved her skull, allowing some of her brain to spill out. Blood was spattered on the grey Cadillac parked inside the garage, beside her body.

Seventeen months later, after a sensational trial in London, Ontario, Peter Demeter was convicted of non-capital murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Demeter did not testify and still maintains his innocence. He had hoped to collect a $1 million life insurance payout on his dead wife. The hired killer who prosecutors contended bashed the 33-year-old mother’s skull open was never found, though suspicion fell on several shady characters, including Imre Olejnyik (right), a small time Hungarian crook also known as the Duck. Though police named him, at one time, as the probable killer, he was never brought to trial. He died in Hungary in March 1975.

Demeter was on parole in Peterborough, Ontario, by 1983. Two years later, he was convicted of counselling to commit murder in a plot to have his nephew killed and two life sentences were added to his sentence. In 1988, he amassed two more life sentences (for a total of five), for conspiracy to kidnap and murder the daughter of his lawyer. Demeter was angry that lawyer Toby Belman had frozen some of his stocks because he had not paid her legal bill.

Judge John O’Driscoll sentenced Demeter in the Belman kidnap plot in 1988, leaving no doubt how he felt:

Your evil knows no bounds. It never rests. It never ends … In my opinion, this man should never, ever, ever be released on parole. Whether or not you are inherently evil, I do not know, but you ooze evil out of every pore and contaminate everyone around you.

Demeter was scheduled to go before the parole board this month, but he waived the hearing, as he did four times previously since 1999, the date of his last hearing. At that hearing, he was denied a chance to leave prison for four hours, in shackles, with two escorts. He was deemed too dangerous. Demeter maintained that he did not arrange his wife’s murder in 1974:

As you reiterated, you are hardly likely, after twenty-five years, to admit any involvement in your wife’s death as you have consistently maintained your innocence.

In 1995, a psychiatrist who assessed Demeter in prison described him as “insightless, manipulative, self-exculpatory and psychopathic.” The doctor said Demeter “continues to represent a significant risk to cause trouble to others should be be unsupervised in the community.” Two psychiatrists concluded he wouldn’t benefit from any programs or treatment. One psychiatrist said Demeter exhibited “narcissistic personality traits, rationalizations and intellectualizations.” His credibility was described as “so little.”

At a 1996 parole hearing, Demeter flirted with responsibility for his wife’s death:

Up until today, you have always claimed innocence with respect to the murder of your wife, and minimized the severity of your other offences. At the beginning of the hearing, when pressed, you accepted ‘unqualified full responsibility’ for all of your offences. As the hearing progressed however, you kept on alluding to the conspiracy theory and yourself as victim. By the end of the hearing, when asked directly if you arranged the murder of your wife, your answer was ‘no.’

Today, Demeter (at left) is a crippled old man living in a special housing unit, a small cottage-like building for aged and disabled convicts at medium-security Bath Institution, located just west of Kingston, Ontario. He has survived several bouts of cancer, a stroke and several heart attacks (documented in this confidential transfer request I obtained in 1999). One of his bunkmates, sex offender Ken Shipman, baked him cinnamon buns for his 76th birthday on April 19, prison sources tell me.

More

• The definitive book, By Persons Unknown, by George Jonas and Barbara Amiel
• News video clip about the case
• Demeter whined in 2006, about an order requiring him to submit a DNA sample

The full record of Demeter’s 1996 parole hearing:
(on mobile? click here to read document)

The full record of Demeter’s 1999 parole hearing:
(on mobile? click here to read document)

Confidential prison transfer request filed by Demeter in 1999 and obtained by Cancrime:
(on mobile? click here to read document)

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  1. Jill says:

    The Police did have a case on Peter Demeter. First, his best friend testified that Demeter had been plotting to kill his wife for 5 years prior to her being found murdered. Also, an acquaintance of Demeter testified that he had asked him if he knew anyone who would kill his wife for him. There was also the taped conversations of Demeter talking to his best friend. One thing was very clear in those tapes: Demeter was not at all concerned about the police finding the “right killer”. In fact, he was more concerned about the police focusing on him. He was very clear in instructing his friend to tell the police all the truth and nothing but the truth….except for the last days before the murder. One thing was very clear: Demeter had something to hide and he did not want the police to find out. Then there was an allegation in the defense side that Christine might have been plotting to kill Peter. And that came from Peter’s acquaintance…the one who testified that Peter had asked him if he knew anyone who kill kill his wife for him. The only problem with that allegation was that Peter wasn’t the murdered victim, Christine was. And, I strongly believe that a woman doesn’t get killed in her own house by a stranger, without being robbed or raped. Are there some loose ends? Sure there are but if you compare the evidence the police had, compare to the loose ends, I feel comfortable with Peter Demeter’s his conviction.

  2. Philly says:

    This old man is a real pest, he allways tells the coppers on you if your playng your music too loud, pathetic.

  3. Ed Balaisis says:

    It should be obvious to anyone who has followed this story that nothing has ever been proven about Demeter’s involvement in his wife’s death. You may speculate at your leisure,but the facts remain irrefutable. Demeter had a solid alibi, the Hungarian assassin was a fabrication of someone’s fertile mind, he was never found nor had anyone ever heard of him. The sole reason Demeter was convicted was the self centered Eddy Greenspan, the nincompoop lawyer representing Demeter.. Greenspan fought for, and won a change of venue from Toronto all the way out in the far country of London, Ontario. About 100 miles.Wow! Bet nobody ever heard of the case way out there, huh. Or should that be duh. Anyway, as we all know how the cops work, well they had already fixated on Demeter. So they arrested him and charged him with the killing of Christine, his wife. They needed time to build a case, and Demeter’s lawyer gave it to them. The change of venue from Toronto to London, Ontario consumed oodles of time. Police were able fabricate bits and pieces which became the mysterious Hungarian killer for hire. There never was a name for him, and no trace of him was ever found. Another example of our police forces run amock. In many other such cases, courts have overturned verdicts and the unjustly convicted persons were able to obtain large monetary settlements. Not so for Peter Demeter. Far from being a criminal when he went to prison, he soon became one. Not being a quack, I cannot comment on his frame of mind, though I’ve spoken to at least one lawyer who works for the crown, and who told me that when Demeter went to prison, he was not guilty of anything, maybe farting in public being the exception. In summary, Demeter is not guilty of anything. The police are guilty of criminal negligence and so is the prosecution. They put Demeter wrongfully in prison. He simply could not take it and became a criminal as a result of wrongful conviction and imprisonment. In his present condition, it may be doubtful if he could be safely released into the general population.