Author Topic: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998  (Read 7956 times)

Thom

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Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« on: May 22, 2011, 05:15:41 PM »
Hello all,
I'm a journalist investigating the murder of Ron Hedland, 50, a Toronto Beaches musician who was bludgeoned to death at the rear entrance of his apartment at 84 Willow Avenue, at the southwest corner of Queen Street E. and Willow Ave., on November 27, 1998.

Ron Hedland was an American musician who came to Toronto in the early 1970s.  He dazzled audiences and musicians alike with his uncanny ability to sing, play drums and keyboard – at the same time.  But this was no mere gimmick.  To this day, peers like musician/broadcaster Danny Marks (Edward Bear) and Gary Kendall (Downchild Blues Band) insist Hedland was a world-class performer.  In their view, Ron Hedland was a star.

Hedland’s love for Canada was sealed during a tense border crossing.  Fleeing the draft during the height of the Vietnam War, he was welcomed by Canadian border guards in spite of (or possibly because of) the fact he had a crew cut, a duffel bag and a joint tucked behind one ear.
Flash forward to November 1998:  Hedland was now an incurable alcoholic and drug addict, making ends meet by performing in bars run by sympathetic managers who remembered him in his ‘70s prime. 

He was also selling pot out of his apartment in Toronto’s Beaches district to earn extra cash.

Hedland had been fronted the pot by a bike gang (rumoured to have been Satan’s Choice, who were later assimilated into the Hells Angels). Sometimes he drank away the profits he should have been passing up the chain. And sometimes the bike gang beat him up because of it.

On November 27, 1998, once again behind in his payments, Ron Hedland was bludgeoned to death behind his Beaches apartment.

Although friends maintain it should have been obvious to police who committed this crime (i.e. agents of the bike gang) no one was ever charged.  In their view, the police performed a half-hearted investigation, and essentially spent more time blaming the victim than searching for his killer. “They wrote him off as a drug addict – who cares?” says one of Hedland’s friends.

For their part, Toronto Police maintain Hedland’s lifestyle did, in fact, play a role in his death.  But they say this is merely the reality of the situation, not some nefarious attempt to blame the victim. According to Det.-Sgt. Gary Giroux, there is a long list of people who disliked Ron Hedland, some of whom accused Hedland of selling pot to “kids.”  When asked the source of these allegations, Giroux would not identify the person(s), but when pressed on the veracity of the statement, admitted it was merely hearsay.

Then why repeat it to a reporter? Hedland’s family and friends point to Giroux’s unsubstantiated assertion as best evidence of obfuscation by Toronto Police.  In their view, the charge is inflammatory, baseless gossip designed to slander the dead and cover up an inept investigation.  They believe the police are attempting to propound the preposterous notion that, along with a violent bike gang, some aggrieved parent of a drug-taking Beaches teenager might very well be a likely suspect in the murder of Ron Hedland.

It is believed there are many potential witnesses who, for fear of reprisal, have failed to come forward. 





jobo

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 06:36:28 PM »
My thinking is that Ron was more useful alive to the bikers that fronted him the pot.    They may have had to rough him up in the past, but they must have always got their money, since they still dealt with him.    Would they really be that careless and leave him for dead behind his apartment?  I would think not.

Maybe the perps were punks that wanted to rip him off for some dope.   Just my opinion.

Chris

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 02:18:06 AM »
Hello and welcome.

Being bludgeoned to death seems kind of odd for a professional killing at the hands of a powerful gang. If there were rumors that he was selling drugs to children, even if they were rumors, that could be motive to bludgeon someone. One which is worthy of exploring.

If a gang did kill him for debts, the police know that is going to be very difficult to solve without solid evidence.

If you are correct, that people did witness it, and are too scared to come forward, which often happens, I feel very badly and wish I could put myself in there shoes.

Hope the police can solve it!

Thom

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2011, 06:15:48 PM »
Thank you for the replies.  Much appreciated.

The dealers had beaten him before. In the months before the murder, friends recall seeing him walking down Queen St. E., his arm in a sling, with black eyes and bruises. 

I've been able determine the last time he was seen alive (by someone he knew) was approximately 6:45 p.m. on the evening of the 26th.  A friend had stayed with the inebriated Hedland long enough to make sure he was not a danger to himself, but had to leave because of a previous engagement.

The call to police came in at exactly 1:29 a.m.  Hedland had been found on the back steps of his apartment by the superintendent.  He died en route to hospital.

According to the friend (who had seen Hedland drunk on numerous occasions), Ron was sufficiently inebriated to be in for the night.  I'm at a loss then to explain how he ended up on the back steps.  I'm told Hedland did all of his drug transactions inside the apartment itself.  I'm also told he made a habit of entering/leaving by the front door.

If an agent of the gang had come by to collect payment, it seems reasonable to assume that this interaction would have been done in the apartment proper, not outside. Because if Hedland knew they were coming to collect, chances are he would not have left the relative safety of his home.

So how did he get outside?  Someone had either lain in wait or lured him outside through some unknown means.  Perhaps he was forcibly removed from his apartment.

One witness told me there were threatening messages left on Ron's answering machine.  The police, when asked, were not forthcoming about those messages, claiming the investigation is "open." (Curiously, it is listed in the TPS website as a "Cold Case", but it has not been passed to the Cold Case Squad.)

There's other details, but I don't have them close at hand at the moment.


jobo

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2011, 06:58:12 PM »
Was Ron ever known to go back out after sleeping it off for a while?   Could he have gone back out looking for something more to drink?

tuesday

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 10:06:13 AM »
Hi there all, I knew Ronny hedland from back in the day, I knew him well as we had worked together and drank and had lunch on several occasions and I also frequent his home..  But I remember the one night when he was working a club not to mention the club name...a fancy club at that.. and he was playing tunes on the piano, and two business men were sitting at the bar, and drunker then skunks.. asking Ronny for a particular song request, and Ronny apoligized and said he didn't know the song and asked them if they would like another request and Ronny would try and accomadate them.  Because also Ronny was a little on the drinking side while he was working.. the two men started to pick at him and harrass him that he was a no good two bit musician ect.... and of course Ronny started saying things back to them to piss them off...only to defend himself of course and they threaten to kick the shit out of him after he finished his gig and being drunk , he complied .. ya... I'll be waiting...not thinking that they were too serious and they were just gonna go home drunk and forget about it anyway. But unfortunatly that didn't happen... The two business men in suit and tie.. actually waited for Ronny to finish the night at 1 am , and they waited outside the parking lot on front of the bar and Ronny had a cabby waiting for him but they draged him away from the cab door, starting kicking the shit out of Ronny, and broke his ribs .. broke his face..ect..and broke his arm ..you name it and blood all over the place while his cab waited for him to go back to the beaches, and Ronny said to me ..the cabby did what any good cabby would do ..is too wait for him until the fight was over ,  the cabby did not call the police...and took him to the hospital, and I went to his home the next day to grab him a bottle of Russian vodga for his pain. Ronny was a real good friend to me ...not many of his freinds knew about him and me.... but the day he was murdered.. I wasn't a bit surprized, it was only a matter of time before it had happened because when he got angry...he got mouthy and pushy.. especially the business that he was involved in.... you are talking to booze or the drugs in the person's body and not actually talking to the human being.  The day he was murdered , I was on my way to his home and when I finally learned  he had been murdered,  My heart sank .. and I never went back to his area where he lived again.  R.I.P. Ronny ..Much love as always..MASHED POTATOES!!!
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 10:10:25 AM by tuesday »

tuesday

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2012, 10:26:06 AM »
And yes he did do all his transactions out of his apartment when folks came through the front door of the building.. not the back door, that night he was murdered he came home from the bar from up the street and was followed home cause I spoke to him and he told me he had suspected he was being followed, and had an alltercation at the bar with some guys , he was doing a gig that night.....so Perhaps I suspect he was murdered by folks that he didn't know well at all...   and he was gonna go in the back door of his apartment and he was on  his way home and he would see me the next day in the afternoon. I really miss Ronny R.I.P. MASHED POTATOES!!!

Thom

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2012, 11:30:46 AM »
I'm confused. Are you saying you saw Ron on the evening of the 26th, the night he died (technically Ron died on the 27th, as it was after midnight).
When was the last time you spoke with him?

tuesday

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2012, 01:44:18 PM »
No maybe my mistake..sorry If I was not being clear.. Ronny was doing a gig at a nearby bar that night, and I was going to see him the next day in the afternoon when I got there to his place next afternoon I was told he was dead by one of the folk there.  During the gig at the bar, he came home at one point for a break or something, and he called me to say he was gonna  be home the next day and he mentioned  he thought he was being followed home but he wasn't  sure, by two Jack....you know whats...I will not say what I mean to say..cause it is a public net forgive me... but he felt that maybe he was being followed but he had been drinking so he said maybe he was just imagining it and he had to let me go and he would get back to me. It was so many years ago, all I can do is forever remember him in my heart and my love. He was definatly an worldclass musician!!! My first entry for this story was called foul language by the administrator and I do apoligize for being too open mouthed in my words,  I suppose you would call it, but this ol' gal is old school in language and in heart and I will try and be more carefull on how I type replys to yous folks Thanks for your patience and your time

Ron

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2012, 01:55:20 PM »
Sorry the correct link is  www.vimeo.com/18288466

Thom

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Re: Toronto Beaches musician Ron Hedland, Nov. 27, 1998
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2012, 10:06:51 AM »
Tuesday, thanks so much for the info.

Did the police ever talk to you?

Ron: that video you posted the link for was made by me.