Source: Ruby’s Bookshelf
Murder at McDonald’s – The Killers Next Door. Nimbus Publishing Limited. Published in 1994, first edition. Perfect Bound Softcover. 284 pages, In Very good condition. The book was written by Halifax’s ATV newscaster Phonse Jessome, originally from Sydney, Cape Breton. A chilling account of the events of that fateful day on May 7, 1992 when three seemingly ordinary young men from Sydney, Nova Scotia brutally murdered three employees of McDonald’s and left a fourth for dead.
The Sydney River McDonald’s Murders occurred on May 7, 1992, at the McDonald’s restaurant in Sydney River, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Derek Wood, 19, an employee of the restaurant along with two friends, Freeman MacNeil, 23, and Darren Muise, 18, broke into the restaurant after closing, planning to rob the establishment. They shot, stabbed, and beat three employees to death and left a fourth to die after shooting her in the head. She is now permanently disabled. The victims were:
- Jimmy Fagan, 27
- Donna Warren, 22
- Neil Burroughs Jr., 29
- Arlene Macneil, 20 (permanently disabled)
The killers claim they had not planned on using any violence in the break and enter; it was to be quick and easy money. Yet MacNeil, Muise, and Wood inched their way into the restaurant via a basement door Wood had left ajar earlier in the evening and wore halloween masks. They were armed with a .22 caliber pistol, several knives, and a shovel handle. Expecting to find over $200,000 in the restaurant’s safe, the three made off with just over $2,000.
Freeman MacNeil is now in a maximum-security prison in Renous, New Brunswick, sentenced to 25 years before parole eligibility. Darren Muise received 20 years before parole eligibility. Derek Wood was given two terms of life imprisonment for first degree murder and attempted murder, as well as two ten year terms for unlawful confinement and the armed robbery. Wood will be eligible for parole after serving 25 years.
In March, 2007 it was reported that Muise has been working outside his minimum security prison facility in Laval, Quebec. A spokeswoman with Correctional Service of Canada was unable to comment on Muise’s case because of confidentiality limitations.
The Sydney River McDonald’s murders were one of the highest profile murder cases in Canada as well as the first fast-food murders in the country. The restaurant re-opened two weeks after the killings but was demolished under new ownership in 1999. A new building was constructed a few blocks from the former location down King’s Road towards the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia.
Darren Muise is said to have invested an inheritance heavily in the tech industry during the mid to late 90s generating millions of dollars profits from stocks such as BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (NAS: RIMM). As noted by Phonse Jessom in his book “Murder at McDonalds” Muise had planned to work with computers before his 1992 arrest stating them to be the “way of the future”. He’ll be released in 2012.
Added: April 18, 2007
After five years in a segregation unit at the maximum security prison in Renous, N.B., 29-year-old Freeman MacNeil says he’s learned that lesson the hard way.
And it’s something he wishes he’d realized before he, Darren Muise, and Derek Wood began inching through the darkness towards a basement door at the Sydney River McDonald’s in May 1992.
“There was no talk of violence or anything,” MacNeil says of their plan to rob the McDonald’s, where Wood worked.
“It was just some guys who got together and talked about an easy way to get fast money. It was supposed to be a break-and-enter into a business, not an armed robbery at all.”
But MacNeil carried a gun and Muise wore a Halloween mask as the threesome entered the restaurant through the door Wood had left ajar during an earlier shift.
When they came face to face with employees Donna Warren, 22, and Arleen MacNeil (no relation), 20, “things just went totally out of control.”
In the bloodbath that followed, MacNeil took a shovel handle and bashed the last breath out of maintenance worker and dedicated family man Neil Burroughs Jr., 29.
On his way out of the restaurant, he fired a fatal bullet into the forehead of maintenance worker Jimmy Fagan, 27.
Warren, who dreamed of going to law school, had been shot in the back of the head, and Arleen MacNeil, soon bound for university, had been left for dead. She is now permanently disabled.
Sitting in the visitor’s centre at the Atlantic Institution, MacNeil is dressed in designer-label clothing and sporting the beginnings of a beard.
He says he’s replayed the events of that night in his mind thousands of times. “If I could go back and change things, I obviously would,” he says, his voice cracking.
“But that’s not possible. There’s no way to bring those people back. There’s no way to restore Arleen to the way she was.”
Now serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years, MacNeil says his violent actions that night were out of character.