Watch CBS News

4th teen girl pleads guilty in "swarming" killing of homeless man in Toronto

Examining the accuracy of FBI crime data
Examining the accuracy of FBI crime data 04:56

A fourth teenage girl accused in the fatal stabbing of a Toronto homeless man two years ago has pleaded guilty. The girl, who was 14 at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 59-year-old Kenneth Lee.

Police have alleged that Lee, who was living in the city's shelter system, died after he was stabbed by a group of eight teenage girls in December 2022. At the time, police referred to the attack as a "swarming."

Eight girls, all of them between the ages of 13 and 16, were arrested in the hours that followed.

The girls were charged with second-degree murder and a judge recently committed six of them to stand trial on that charge, with the other two to be tried on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Three girls have previously pleaded guilty in the case – two to manslaughter and one to assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

All the girls who have pleaded guilty are due to appear in court over the next few months for sentencing submissions.

A hearing is scheduled next week for those heading to trial.

Toronto Police said Ken Lee died in hospital after he was allegedly swarmed and stabbed by a group of eight teenage girls in mid-December. Toronto Police Service

Police have said they believed the teens congregated after meeting on social media and are from homes across the Greater Toronto Area. They said three had previous interactions with police, while five others did not. Canadian authorities can't identify them because they are minors.

After the attack, Detective Sgt. Terry Browne of the Toronto Police Service Homicide Squad said authorities think the girls were trying to take a bottle of alcohol from the man.

"I've been in policing for almost 35 years and you think you've seen it all," Browne said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Anyone who isn't shocked with hearing something like this has clearly just thrown in the towel and just said that anything is possible in this world. Eight young girls and most under the age of 16. If this isn't alarming and shocking to everyone, then we're all in trouble quite frankly."

According to statistics released by the Toronto Police Service, the city reported 71 homicides in 2022, including 17 stabbing deaths. Last year, the city reported 73 homicides, including 24 stabbing deaths.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.