Julian Richard Lee
Credits: SUPPLIED PHOTO
TORONTO - A woman who watched helplessly as her friend was beaten to death appears to have been an innocent party to the "illicit" rendezvous with the killers, a Toronto homicide detective said Tuesday.
Tied up in a vacant east-end industrial unit during Julian Richard Lee's Oct. 17 murder, the woman in her 20s was uninjured but traumatized, "like you would have expected," Det. Mike Carbone said.
But Carbone said she is co-operating with officers.
Lee drove to the industrial unit in the city's Scarborough area in a white Mercedes SUV "for an illicit purpose," Carbone told reporters at police headquarters.
The Toronto resident was known to police and has family in the city, but Carbone declined to describe Lee's shady past or what took him to "what appears to be a pre-arranged" rendezvous in Unit 2.
There were earlier reports of a fatal shooting, but an autopsy determined Lee, 31, died of "blunt force trauma."
When he arrived at the industrial unit around 1 p.m. last Wednesday, a red SUV was parked near the rear bay door.
Carbone said one man approached Lee and escorted him inside.
Then two men walked out.
One climbed into the red SUV and drove off, while the second suspect approached Lee's friend and directed her into the building.
After joining her friend, both "were bound," he was fatally attacked, then the two suspects fled, Carbone said.
The two victims were found by someone associated with the industrial unit.
Police released images from the parking lot's video surveillance system that shows the red SUV leaving.
The red SUV's driver was described as a skinny 30- to 35-year-old light-complexioned black man.
The other two suspects are a 180-pound, 5-foot-10 man with a dark complexion wearing a black baseball cap and a dark shirt, and a 35- to 40-year-old, 6-foot-3, 200-pound man wearing a black, hooded jacket.