He is facing two counts of murder, one count of attempted murder with a firearm and two counts of aggravated assault and Jahmal Richardson — now waiting for a jury to decide his fate — has been photographed dining on steak and lobster and using an iPhone behind bars.
In November, CityNews obtained a photo of the alleged gang leader eating a gourmet meal in Toronto South Detention Centre while awaiting trial for two murders. A publication ban previously protected his identity and the nature of his alleged crimes, but as the jury was sequestered on Friday the ban was lifted.
Richardson and his half-brother Kyle Sparks MacKinnon are accused of killing two strangers and wounding three others when one of the victims asked for directions outside a Chinese restaurant on Spadina Avenue on Jan. 31, 2016.
Instead of answering, the Crown alleges, the men started shooting. At least 16 shots were fired from at least two guns. Richardson and MacKinnon have pleaded not guilty and their lawyers argued other people in their group were the shooters.
Police say Richardson is the alleged gang leader of Heart of a King (HOK) and is also known as Bam and Bambino. Following several raids, during which Richardson and more than 50 others were arrested, police claim they had eradicated the violent gang with roots in Halifax.
But Richardson’s alleged gangster lifestyle continued behind bars. In the photo, Richardson is sitting at a table with two lobster tails and what appears to be a steak. He is holding an iPhone and an unopened bottle of Barq’s Root Beer. All items are prohibited in the jail and would have had to have been smuggled in.
The photo was found on yet another inmate’s phone during a routine search of a jail cell in March. Documents obtained by CityNews reveal Richardson and his cellmate were sent to segregation as punishment for having the contraband in their cells. However, sources say there was no investigation into how the inmates got the cellphones or the meal.
“That’s an inside job,” Kevin Egan, a lawyer with McKenzie Lake, told CityNews last November. “That’s someone with the ability to go through security, delivering that surf and turf and the big bottle of Barq’s to the individual.”
Egan has filed several lawsuits against the province on behalf of inmates about their living conditions, jailhouse violence and deaths.
Toronto South Detention Centre — one of the province’s newest and largest jails — has been using body scanners on inmates since 2016. However, employees are not scanned or searched.
Correctional Services Minister Sylvia Jones initially told CityNews the government learned about the photo in the summer.
“I’m angry but I can’t comment on ongoing investigations,” she said then. “I’m frustrated and angry, but as soon as we learned about it in July, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) launched an investigation.”
However, Toronto police said they hadn’t been investigating, nor had they been informed of the contraband. Police are only called when illegal substances or weapons are found.
Jones later corrected herself.
“That was me extrapolating from (the fact that) TPS works collectively with Corrections to deal with contraband in a general way,” she said on Nov. 21. “Specifically to deal with this incident, Corrections is investigating.”
However, high-level sources tell CityNews there was no investigation into how the contraband entered the jail until the ministry learned of CityNews’ story. The sources added that reviewing footage from the jail is unlikely to reveal the source of the contraband as footage is typically only retained for 30 days.
“The ministry launched an internal investigation when the allegations of contraband at the Toronto South Detention Centre came to light. It is not appropriate to comment any further about this specific incident,” Marion Ringuette, a spokesperson for Jones, writes in a statement to CityNews.
“The ministry does not publicly address internal human resources matters. The ministry also does not publicly discuss details of any internal investigations, especially where security measures are involved,” she adds.
“It would be inappropriate to comment further about this specific incident,” Jones’s spokesman Richard Clarke wrote then.
Sources within Toronto South tell CityNews no staff member has faced discipline for the incident.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and Jones’s office have yet to respond to further questions about the investigation.