Imprisoned wife killer Peter Demeter, once a millionaire Toronto businessman, has lost his first bid for freedom in 20 years. The Parole Board of Canada says the 85-year-old murderer, who is serving five life sentences, remains a threat, despite his age, because of his history of scheming to hire criminals to carry out murders, abductions and other crimes at his behest. In 1973, Demeter hired a hitman who bludgeoned his fashion model wife Christine to death in the garage of the family’s upscale home in Mississauga, Ontario.
In a decision dated March 6, 2019, the Parole Board told Demeter that “on balance, your negative factors outweigh your positive and your risk is not considered assumable at the community level. Based on the foregoing, the Board denies day parole. It is the Board’s opinion that you will present an undue risk to society if released and that your release will not contribute to the protection of society by facilitating your reintegration into society as a law-abiding citizen.”
Demeter denied hatching the plot to have his wife Christine murdered when he was arrested more than four decades ago and his denials have persisted while he’s behind bars. According to the new parole document, Demeter’s accountability is rated low because “you continue to actively deny that you were responsible in any way for the murder of the victim.”
While imprisoned, Demeter has not participated in programs.
“File information indicates that you have not made significant progress in addressing your risk factors and that you continue to harbour a negative attitude towards family members,” the document states. It notes that Demeter has “not demonstrated insight” in to the murder of his wife and he expresses “little empathy for [his] offending.”
Seventeen months after Christine was found dead, in July 1973, after a sensational trial in London, Ontario, Demeter was convicted of non-capital murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He did not testify during the trial. A former friend who testified for the prosecution told court that Demeter had talked a number of times over the five years before Christine’s death of wanting to kill her. The trial established that Demeter 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, 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.
When Judge John O’Driscoll sentenced Demeter in the Belman kidnap plot in 1988, he said: “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.”
While behind bars, Demeter has been diagnosed with a personality disorder with narcissistic and anti-social features along with many characteristics associated with psychopathy.
Demeter last appeared before parole authorities in 1999, when he was rejected in a bid for escorted temporary passes. He also appeared before the board in 1996 and flirted with the notion of accepting 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,” states the written record of that hearing.” 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.’ ”
Demeter has not been a model prisoner. The parole record reveals that 40 incidents have been recorded on his prison records since 2013. Nineteen of the incidents were categorized as disciplinary problems or disruptive behaviour. Demeter has been charged with institutional offences six times. In August 2015 he was placed in segregation for protection and a search of his cell turned up 31 unauthorized items including prescription medication he was hoarding.
Demeter has survived several bouts of cancer, a stroke and several heart attacks. His frail health is documented in a confidential transfer request obtained by Cancrime in 1999.
Visit this previous post or the Parole Records Library to read all of Demeter’s parole records.
The written record of the parole board decision dated March 6, 2019