Charles Kembo, charged with killing his wife, stepdaughter and girlfriend, had racked up a long list of offences and aliases during his short time in Canada.
Mr. Kembo, 37, has been the chief suspect in the death of his girlfriend since her body was found last November, but as homicide detectives gathered evidence during a 10-month investigation, police eventually connected him to at least two other deaths.
He is now charged with three counts of first-degree murder, the latest and most serious charges the onetime refugee has faced in his 16 years in Canada.
Mr. Kembo received his first criminal conviction within two years of arriving in the country as a government-sponsored refugee from Malawi, according to immigration documents released yesterday.
He was convicted of theft twice within a four-month period in 1991 and made three different refugee claims within a year from 1991 to 1992 using three different names, the documents say.
In 1993, he was convicted of several counts of fraud and one count of uttering a forged document, the documents say. He received a three-year sentence. In 1994, Mr. Kembo was given a conditional deportation order, which he appealed.
Janis Ferguson, a spokeswoman with the Canada Border Security Agency, said as a refugee, the process to remove an individual from the country requires an opinion from the agency's headquarters in Ottawa that the person is a "danger."
"What's key is their pattern and history of demonstrating of being a danger. Typically that would be criminal convictions of a violent nature," Ms. Ferguson said yesterday.
Up to that point, however, Mr. Kembo's convictions were for fraud and thefts. Between 1991 and 1993, he used at least 22 aliases to apply for welfare, the immigration documents say. In 1997, he was convicted of breaking and entering and theft and received a 12-month sentence.
He is accused of killing the three women between 2002 and 2005. Rita Yeung, his stepdaughter, was killed just last week while he was already under scrutiny by police.
Mr. Kembo made a brief court appearance in Richmond this week and remains in custody while the investigation into the death of his business partner, Ardon Samuel, continues. Mr. Samuel was killed in Vancouver in November, 2003.