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72-year-old man charged in beating death of woman at seniors' home

Police tape demarking a crime scene.

JOHN LEHMANN/The GLOBE AND MAIL

A 72-year-old man living in a Scarborough seniors' home been charged with murder in the beating death of a fellow resident, a woman also aged 72, who was attacked and killed late Wednesday night.

Peter Roy Brooks and the victim, Joycelyn Dickson, both lived at the Wexford Residence long-term care facility at 1860 Lawrence Avenue East, at the corner of Pharmacy Avenue, in central Scarborough.

A third unnamed resident, aged 91, was injured in the melee but is expected to recover.

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Mr. Brooks was to appear in court Thursday afternoon charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault.

Police responded to a call about an assault in progress and Ms. Dickson was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy is to be held. The killing is Toronto's 12th homicide of the year.

Wexford executive director Sandy Bassett declined comment on the events.

"I'm not prepared to give any statement, it's a police investigation and we'll talk later, I can't say anything at this point in time," she said.

The seven-storey brick complex opened in 1978 and was founded by the Brotherhood Foundation, an arm of the Church of the Christian Brotherhood.

Incorporated in 1995 as a non-profit housing association, it comprises both long-term care and 90 geared-to-income apartments in which seniors aged 59 and over live. Some of the units are subsidized by the city's social housing program. A wide range of amenities and programs are available.

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The relationship between the three seniors was unclear.

"There was an incident involving a male where two females were attacked," Det. Sgt. Wayne Banks of the homicide squad told television reporters outside the building early Thursday.

"Unfortunately one of the females succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced (dead) at the scene by EMS.

"The homicide squad has taken carriage of the investigation and we are now in the process of interviewing staff and tenants that were here as we try to put the pieces of the puzzle together."

A weapon was reportedly seized. Police would not describe it but a report said police were seen carrying a cane away from the premises.

Det. Sgt. Banks declined to speculate on whether dementia may have been a factor in the attacks.

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"It's something that we will definitely look into, but there is no information that we have presently at this time as to (the man's) state of mind or any physical or mental conditions that he has," he said.

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