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Paul Hindle and Lisa Lebitka are seen together in this undated photo. Hindle has been charged with second-degree murder in Lebitka's death. (CTV/CTV)
Paul Hindle and Lisa Lebitka are seen together in this undated photo. Hindle has been charged with second-degree murder in Lebitka's death. (CTV/CTV)

Accused killer of Toronto decorator has a troubled past Add to ...

In the quarter century between Paul William Hindle’s friendship with Lisa Lebitka at Leaside High School and the day police arrested him in that same Toronto neighbourhood for her murder, his life took a winding path.

Along the way were failed marriages, allegations of fraud and a warrant for his arrest. Money was a recurrent problem: He declared bankruptcy three times, once digging himself $219,000 into debt. In divorce papers, one ex-wife described him as “a con artist.”

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A man of eclectic interests, he wrote a crime novel, coached hockey and enjoyed outdoor activities, a love honed at a Kawartha summer camp during his adolescence. A photograph from that time shows a smiling youth with shaggy brown hair.

But a blog about the camp contains a dark anecdote: A friend from that time wrote that the young Mr. Hindle suffered a punctured lung when he was stabbed at a Scarborough convenience store.

According to Mr. Hindle’s resume on LinkedIn, he studied business and psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University right after high school. He followed this with two years of youth work courses at St. Lawrence College.

In 1989, he filed for bankruptcy protection, listing $20,441 in debts and $1,000 in assets. The matter was resolved 18 months later.

By the late 1980s, he had moved to Brockville, a town of 22,000 on the St. Lawrence River, 100 kilometres south of Ottawa. Within a few years, he was the father of two boys: Evan and Zack.

He filed for bankruptcy twice in 2000, once in January and again in August. One filing listed $219,068 in liabilities against assets of $105,000. His relationship with his sons’ mother also ended.

During this period, his résumé lists management and executive jobs at a Brockville paper company, two headhunting firms and a marketing agency.

In May, 2007, he married Lisa Leanne Gemmell, a mother with two children close in age to Mr. Hindle’s.

“We live in the Thousand Islands region and are blessed with great lakes and waterways for canoeing and camping ... the fishing isn’t so bad either,” he wrote on the summer camp blog, describing a boating trip with his sons.

That idyllic-sounding life didn’t last. In an affidavit filed with divorce papers, Ms. Gemmell wrote that Mr. Hindle was initially charming, but the relationship quickly soured. She alleged that he lied to her about his job, borrowed thousands of dollars from a friend whom he never repaid and forged a letter from his employer to delay the court process around child support payments to his previous wife.

In 2008, Mr. Hindle was charged with fraud for allegedly paying a Brockville travel agent with a bad cheque for a $5,000 overseas holiday. Police couldn’t find him and put out an arrest warrant.

Ms. Gemmell alleged that she came home one day to find he had overdosed on pills. He was hospitalized for a week, then moved to Winnipeg, she wrote. During his time there, she said he lived out of his car with one of his sons for a while, had further relationships and eventually checked into a psychiatric facility.

In the summer of 2009, a Manitoba Ford dealership demanded $4,835.61 from Mr. Hindle in court. The case was dismissed when both parties failed to appear.

About two years ago, Mr. Hindle and Ms. Lebitka moved in to a house on Airdrie Avenue in Toronto. It was there that police found Ms. Lebitka’s body in a bedroom on New Year’s Day.

Mr. Hindle has been under arrest since then. He is set to make another court appearance on Jan. 17. Three days later, he will turn 47.

With a report from Stephanie Chambers

Follow on Twitter: @adrianmorrow

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