25 years later: Families of McDonald’s murder victims continue fight for justice
It was 25 years ago Sunday that three McDonald’s employees in Sydney River were murdered, and a fourth critically injured, in a botched robbery gone terribly wrong.
The victims were 20-year-old Donna Warren, 27-year-old Jimmy Fagan, and 29-year-old Neil Burroughs. Arleen MacNeil was left with permanent brain injuries.
There's nothing to mark the site of the former restaurant except an empty parking lot and grassy field. Cathy Burroughs, Neil Burroughs’s sister, says that’s okay.
“We don't want anything to mark the day because it's marked on our souls,” Cathy Burroughs says.
Derek Wood, 19, and Freeman MacNeil, 23, would be convicted of first-degree murder, while 18-year old Darren Muise pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
It was a case that shocked the community and the country. Many residents say things have never really been the same.
“I think it made people watch out for each other more,” said resident Frank Howell. “You had to be concerned about what was going on and what was going on with your neighbours. Maybe it made us a bit more caring.”
Cathy Burroughs says she continues to fight for justice, hoping to see multiple murder sentences become consecutive.
“On May 7, I was given a life sentence. I promised Neil I would see it through. Correctional services probably thinks that these guys are rehabilitated. To me, I don't buy it,” Burrough says.
Darren Muise is currently on parole and living in Quebec. Both Freeman MacNeil and Derek Wood can apply for day parole later this year. Cathy Burroughs has attended all their parole hearings, and it's a practice she plans to continue.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.