Police say they've arrested one man in three cold case homicides in Kingston
A poster at Kingston police headquarters show the three cold case victims Henrietta Knight, Richard Kimball and Stephen St. Denis at a press conference in Kingston, Ont. on Friday Feb. 15, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, February 15, 2019 12:05PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 15, 2019 3:33PM EST
A 65-year-old man allegedly responsible for three murders and a string of other crimes that took place years ago was arrested in eastern Ontario this week, solving a set of cases that had long gone cold, police said Friday.
The charges laid against Michael Wentworth relate to the fatal beating of an elderly woman, the subsequent slayings of two men, a brazen bank robbery and the detonation of an explosive device, authorities said.
About 120 officers converged on the man in a co-ordinated takedown in Kingston on Thursday that was part of a joint investigation between local and provincial forces. Upwards of 60 investigators were involved as police built their case, officials said.
"Our joint investigations have produced a result that offers an opportunity for these grieving families to try to move forward having lived with their respective tragic losses for so long," said Kingston police Chief Antje McNeely.
Wentworth faces three counts of first-degree murder, armed robbery, armed hostage taking and various explosive-related charges.
Investigators focused their attention on the man -- who also goes by Michael Verney -- about a year ago, said OPP Det. Insp. Jim Gorry.
The first crime Wentworth is accused in involved an alleged break-in at the home of 92-year-old Henrietta Knight on June 2, 1995.
"Her death was very violent for a lady of her age," Gorry told reporters. "She was severely beaten."
Knight died months later on Nov. 4, 1995, as a result of her injuries, police said.
On July 4, 1995, another crime took place when two men, armed with firearms, walked into a Toronto Dominion bank in Kingston and made off with a "sizable amount of money," Gorry alleged.
Then in November 1996, a 30-year-old man named Richard Kimball vanished, police said.
"Our investigation led to the discovery that he had been murdered," Gorry said, adding that police are searching various properties but Kimball's body has not been found.
Police said the crimes continued on July 19, 2000, when an explosive device was detonated in Toronto.
"It caused extensive damage, but thankfully no injuries," said OPP Det. Insp. Brad Collins.
On Oct. 21, 2001, police found Stephen St-Denis, 47, dead in a suspicious house fire.
Collins said police questioned whether they were dealing with the work of an alleged serial killer.
"Because of the time span it covered and the fact of three homicides with which he's charged, it's understandable people would want to consider this a serial case," Collins said. "It doesn't fit the normal definition of a serial killer per se, so no, we're not categorizing it as such."
Wentworth has been involved with the "criminal element a great deal of his life," Collins said.
"There is a good potential for him to be involved in other serious matters and that's why our investigation continues," the detective said.
Police declined to get into details of their investigation, noting only that DNA played a role along other investigative techniques.
The arrest had special meaning for several officers who were involved in the cases at the time, including the force's chief, who was part of Knight's investigation early on and Gorry, who investigated the bank robbery.
Police said they informed all the three victims' families personally about the charges.
"It's probably one of the finest things that you can do when you give somebody that type of resolution," Gorry said.
Police also arrested Wentworth's former wife, Sandra Carr, 52, of Kingston. She faces charges of obstructing justice and party to the first-degree murder of Kimball.