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City crews begin to fill in the excavation hole at the foot of the driveway of 53 Mallory Cres., after police completed their examination of the main sewer drain in the Bruce McArthur murder investigation in Toronto on Feb. 14, 2018.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

The court appearance on Wednesday morning by Bruce McArthur was a brief formality. But for Jeff Tunney, the toll remained overwhelming well after he left the courtroom.

Tears shining in his eyes, Mr. Tunney told reporters about the anguish he has felt ever since he heard that his friend and former roommate, Dean Lisowick, was one of five men Mr. McArthur is accused of murdering.

"I kind of feel guilty because maybe I could have done more. But I don't know what more I could have done," Mr. Tunney said with a cracking voice, just downstairs from the College Park courthouse in downtown Toronto.

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Half an hour earlier, Mr. Tunney was in the packed courtroom, watching as Mr. McArthur, a 66-year-old landscaper, clad in an orange jumpsuit, appeared from detention via video.

Prosecutor Michael Cantlon told the court the Crown had received the initial evidence against the accused on Tuesday and needed time to review that information.

Until then, Mr. McArthur was returned to custody. His next video appearance was set for Feb. 28.

While agreeing with the date, defence counsel Calvin Rosemond said he wanted to note on the record that Mr. McArthur already had three court appearances without seeing the case against him.

Mr. Tunney said afterward that he felt numb and angry during the hearing. He was upset when someone in court said "thank you" to Mr. McArthur at the end of his video appearance.

With the allegations against Mr. McArthur still untested in court, the emotional shock since his arrest a month ago has not abated.

The anger in the LGBTQ community has been mixed with sadness about Mr. Lisowick's case. Known by the nickname Laser, he was often in the neighbourhood, panhandling or doing odd jobs and sex work. A man with a history of addiction and homelessness and, unlike the four other slain men, he had not been reported missing.

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On Tuesday, during a service at the Toronto Homeless Memorial, an acquaintance, Colin Johnson, acknowledged that he, like others, failed to act when they stopped seeing Mr. Lisowick around. "I hope that, as a society, as a city, we can learn from this," Mr. Johnson said.

At the courthouse on Wednesday, Mr. Tunney said that he also had not reported Mr. Lisowick's disappearance to police.

"I assumed he probably found a better place, or he went and did his own thing and he just took off."

Mr. Tunney, who ran a carpet-cleaning business and lived in an apartment on Church Street, had known Mr. Lisowick for many years. In 2016, he allowed Mr. Lisowick to be a co-tenant.

For about $400 a month, Mr. Lisowick lived in the common area of the apartment. He had few belongings, only his clothes. He was working at the time cleaning at a bar in the village.

"He was always nice to people," Mr. Tunney said. "He was nice to me. He paid his rent on time. He kept the apartment clean and that was it."

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He said Mr. Lisowick told him he had a teenaged daughter, but she and her mother were not in touch because of his drug problems.

The two were roommates for about two months.

Mr. Tunney said he and a friend once cautioned Mr. Lisowick about the dangers of sex work, but he was not receptive to their concerns. "It was like talking to a brick wall."

He said they generally got along, except for some friction over Mr. Lisowick's addiction to crack cocaine. One day, Mr. Lisowick moved his belongings out.

"He took off," Mr. Tunney said. "And then he came to me one day, came to my back door and said, 'I'll be back.' And then he never came back."

Toronto police say they have now found the remains of a total of six people at a property where alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur worked. Det.-Sgt. Hank Idsinga says he expects more charges against the 66-year-old landscaper. The Canadian Press
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