UPDATE: Bruce McArthur trial could begin as early as next fall

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur could be on trial as early as next September.

Justice John McMahon said Monday that the 67-year-old could be tried in September 2019 or January 2020.

McArthur faces eight counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing and dismembering Selim Esen, Abdulbasir Faizi, Majeed Kayhan, Kirushna Kanagaratnam, Andrew Kinsman, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi, Skandaraj Navaratnam.

Toronto Police handouts/supplied photos

McArthur was in Ontario Superior Court for the first time Monday after 10 months of appearances at the lower court.

In the bigger room, McArthur had a longer walk across the court to the prisoner's box. With his hands cuffed behind his back, McArthur kept his eyes on the floor as he was led to the box with loved ones of his alleged victims a few feet away.

Once un-cuffed, McArthur leaned his hands against the wood of the prisoner's box, wearing the same clothes as at his least appearance two weeks ago--a blue collared shirt, black cable-knit V-neck sweater and sagging, faded jeans.

McArthur's case returns to court November 30 for judicial pre-trial.

NEWSTALK 1010's legal analyst Ed Prutschi explains that the closed door meeting between lawyers could be used to work out logistics for an eventual trial.

But the criminal lawyer thinks it's more likely that all sides are looking for a deal.

Prutschi offers the fact that McArthur waived his right to a preliminary hearing as a hint the case will never go to trial.

"Defence lawyers we usually want (a preliminary hearing) because it's a very powerful discovery tool where we get to hear the Crown's case, test it out a little bit...if you're planning on going to trial, not many defence lawyers are going to waive that opportunity."

Prutschi expects any deal would require McArthur to plead guilty to several of the murders he's charged with. It would mean an automatic life sentence with no eligibility for parole for at least 25 years.

If a deal is not worked out at judicial pre-trial, Prutschi says lawyers may discuss details like scheduling, potential witnesses and whether interpreters might be needed.

with a file from the Canadian Press