Real estate developer Peter Demeter arrived at his Mississauga home on July 18, 1973, to find his wife of six years, Christine Ferrari, sprawled facedown on the garage floor in a pool of blood. Severe trauma to the head from a blunt object, likely a hammer or tire iron, had caused her death. But this was no accident. Claiming his innocence, Demeter was convicted of hiring an unidentified killer to carry out the murder of his wife and sentenced to life in prison. Even though police had initially named Imre Olejnyik as a person of interest in the homicide, he was never charged and tried for the heinous crime. The petty criminal died in 1975, taking any secrets he may have harboured to his grave.
The criminal trial of Peter Demeter was one of the longest in Canadian history. The millionaire hiring a hitman to murder his Austrian-born wife, a beautiful model who had allegedly grown tired of the marriage as well, garnered extensive media coverage worldwide. Rumors abounded that each spouse had supposedly been planning the other’s demise, insurance money being the motivating force. The trial delved into the Hungarian Canadian underworld, even though no one has ever been formally charged with the vicious homicide from upscale Mississauga. Even after the murder of his wife, Demeter unsuccessfully tried to collect the $1-million insurance policy.
In 1983 Demeter was paroled. His newfound freedom would be short-lived. Within two years Demeter was the mastermind behind a plot to have his own nephew murdered. Demeter was convicted of two counts of counselling to commit murder, thus receiving two life sentences that would effectively keep him behind bars indefinitely. However, the penal system would not deter Demeter’s homicidal tendencies. In 1988 Demeter’s lawyer, Toby Belman, had some of the convicted felon’s stocks frozen when the prisoner neglected to pay his legal bills. As Demeter’s rage spiralled incessantly out of control, a premeditated plot to kidnap and murder the daughter of his attorney was meticulously being planned by the imprisoned felon. The plot never came to fruition but two additional life sentences for conspiracy to kidnap and murder eventually did. Demeter later attempted to have the son of his cousin murdered – another sinister plot devised behind bars, prompting an eventual clinical diagnosis that labeled Demeter a psychopath and an indefinite risk to the public if he were ever to be released.
Since 1999, Demeter has waived his bi-annual parole hearings conceding that he will remain in prison until he dies. During this last parole hearing Demeter was deemed to be so dangerous he was denied an opportunity to leave the prison walls for four hours, even though he would have been shackled and guarded by two escorts. Hampered with various health issues, the 79-year-old Demeter is spending the remainder of his life at Bath Institution, a medium-security facility for disabled convicts just outside of Kingston.
Despite his age, Demeter still poses a significant risk to the public if ever released.
Story by: Stephen G. Metelsky (2012)
Published under pseudonym: Stephen G. Boyle