Saturday marks 30 years since Cape Breton Mcdonald's murders

Saturday marks the 30 years since the McDonald's murders occurred and now, there is no lasting memorial, and there is no longer a restaurant on the former site in Sydney River, N.S.

On May 7, 1992, at the end of a night shift, three employees were killed and a fourth was left critically injured.

It was an armed robbery turned deadly.

"All four of these victims were victims of gunshots at close range to the head area," said Constable Dave Roper of the RCMP in an interview on May 7, 1992.

20-year-old Donna Warren, Jimmy Fagan, 27, and 29-year-old Neil Burroughs were killed during the robbery.

20-year-old Arleen MacNeil was left with a permanent brain injury, but died in 2018.

Now, 30 years later, it’s still painful to think about for Neil's sister, Cathy Burroughs.

"I just miss his presence. Being able to actually see him and being able to talk to him. I don't know why, but it just really hit me hard this year," said Burroughs.

Nineteen-year-old Derek Wood and 23-year-old Freeman MacNeil were charged and convicted of first-degree murder.

The third suspect, Darren Muise, 18, avoided trial by pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

Muise is now free. MacNeil has been granted temporary absences, and Wood — who remains locked up — is the only one that Burroughs says has shown remorse.

"He turned around and apologized for his actions that night. I have compassion for that because he really does have remorse for his actions that night, but he has been the only one. The other two they're sadistic," she said.

Phonse Jessome was one of the first Journalists on the scene for ATV, now CTV, that night.

"In particular at this time of year, it feels like it was yesterday," he said.

Jessome followed the story for years and later wrote a book about his experiences.

"The stuff we do, if we do it right, can leave a mark. It can scar you forever," said Jessome.

Those scars have forever changed the lives of the victims and their families.

"The date and the time and the phone call are tattooed on my soul, so it's something that our family will never forget," said Burroughs.