Dateline NBC: Did Joseph George Sutherland confess to the murders of Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice?

Erin Gilmour
Did Joseph George Sutherland confess to the murders of Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice? (Image via NBC)

The double murders of Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice in Toronto in the year 1983 sparked nationwide interest and eventually led to the conviction of Joseph George Sutherland in October 2023. The case, which had turned cold for almost 40 years, found closure as the Toronto Police found a match for the DNA evidence with the help of Othram Inc.

Joseph George Sutherland, the 61-year-old IT professional of Moosonee confessed to his crimes and was arrested in November 2022, per the Canadian news outlet Toronto Star. He also eventually confessed to the murders, apologizing to the family members of the victims.

The official synopsis of the episode reads:

"The separate murders of two women in Toronto ignite an investigation that spans four decades, taking detectives from the big city to a remote, northern town."

The upcoming Dateline NBC episode, titled Evil Walked Through the Door aired on April 19, 2024 and is presently available for streaming on Peacock.


How was Joseph George Sutherland arrested for his crimes?

With active investigation from the Toronto Police Homicide and Missing Persons Unit and the Cold Case Unit, the officers were able to establish a match between the two DNA samples from the crime scenes of Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice, leading to the belief of a common suspect. They put out a reward of $200,000 for any information, but to no avail.

A breakthrough in the case came in 2021 as the officers made use of DNA technology with Othram Inc.'s help and found the killer to be Joseph George Sutherland. The 61-year-old Sutherland had a regular social life as he worked as an IT professional in Moonsonee, Northern Ontario.

As the police obtained a warrant for his DNA sample and matched it with the evidence, Sutherland was confronted at his home. He confessed to the murders of Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice thus closing a decades-long case.

The Toronto CTV News reported Joseph George Sutherland's statement during his trial:

“I am sorry for taking your loved ones away. I am remorseful for what I’ve done. I am still trying to understand where I went wrong.”

According to The Sun, Sutherland was of Cree descent and was a victim of abuse since childhood. He was 21 years of age when he committed the murders. The Sun reported him saying that he vaguely remembered the crimes. He said at the time:

“My mind erased it because my mind broke.”

Sutherland reportedly set on a spiritual journey to ask forgiveness from his victims.


The murders of Erin Gilmour and Susan Tice, explored

Disclaimer: This segment contains details pertaining to murder, violence, and abuse. Readers' discretion is advised.

The Toronto Police grappled for clues that would lead to the suspect in the double murders of Susan Tice and Erin Gilmour in 1983. The only evidence the authorities had from the crime scene was the DNA sample of the perpetrator. The two murdered women did not know one another and lived about 4 miles away from each other.

Susan Tice (45) was found dead in her ransacked apartment in Bickford Park by her brother-in-law on August 17, 1983. Tice was the mother of four and a family therapist who had been s*xually assaulted and stabbed 13 times, per Oxygen.

Four months later, Erin Gilmour was found stabbed to death in her rented Yorkville apartment after she had been r*ped. She was found by her boyfriend, Anthony Munk. The circumstances of both cases were eerily similar.

Besides, Gilmour's death drew attention to the murders as she was the daughter of the Canadian business tycoon David Gilmour.


Joseph George Sutherland was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 21 years.

Edited by Upasya Bhowal
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