Sydney River McDonald's murders

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For the 1984 Mass murder, San Ysidro McDonald's massacre.
Sydney River McDonald's murders
Location Sydney River, Nova Scotia, Canada
Date Thursday, May 7, 1992
12:50 am AST (UTC-04:00)
Attack type
Weapons .22 caliber pistol
several knives
Deaths 3
Non-fatal injuries
1 (permanently disabled)
Perpetrators Freeman MacNeil
Darren Muise
Derek Wood

The Sydney River McDonald's Murders occurred on May 7, 1992, at the McDonald's restaurant in Sydney River, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Derek Wood, 18, 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 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 with his knapsack which he left at the crime scene and Darren Muise wore a Halloween mask. They murdered the three 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 $2,017.[1]

Trial and sentence[edit]

Freeman Daniel MacNeil was sentenced to 25 years before parole eligibility and is now in a maximum-security prison in Renous, New Brunswick. 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.[2]

The murders were one of the highest profile murder cases in Canada. The restaurant re-opened two weeks after the killings but was demolished in 2000. A new building was constructed a few blocks from the former location down King's Road towards the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia.



  • Jimmy Fagan, 27
  • Donna Warren, 22
  • Neil Burroughs Jr., 29


  • Arlene MacNeil, 20 (permanently disabled)

Darren Muise inheritance[edit]

Darren Muise is said to have invested an inheritance heavily in the tech industry during the mid to late 1990s, generating millions of dollars in profits from stocks such as BlackBerry maker Research in Motion. Muise had planned to work with computers before his 1992 arrest, declaring them to be the "way of the future".[3]

Parole for Darren Muise[edit]

On March 29, 2011, a National Parole Board announced their decision to grant Darren Muise day parole. The decision stated: "Given the significant and real progress you have made over the years, your case management team is of the opinion that the probability that you commit a crime after your release is low." Muise received full parole on November 22, 2012. [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Twenty years of heartache
  2. ^ AM New York: "Canadian Briefs", March 1, 2007
  3. ^ Jessome, Phonse Murder at McDonald's: The Killers Next Door. Halifax: Nimbus, 1994. ISBN 1-55109-093-7.
  4. ^