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Barrie, Ont. man accused in Katherine Janeiro homicide in 1994 granted bail

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Nearly 30 years after the body of Katherine Janeiro was found inside her Barrie, Ont. apartment, the man accused of her murder has been granted a little freedom.

Robert MacQueen, aka Bruce Ellis, was released from custody in late July following a bail hearing and must abide by several conditions, including wearing an ankle bracelet.

The now 60-year-old MacQueen had been in custody since his arrest in 2021.

CTV News has confirmed the accused and Janeiro knew one another.

In a statement, MacQueen's lawyer, Mary Cremer, confirmed his bail release, noting, "It is important that people be reminded that he is presumed innocent, and he has a constitutional right to reasonable bail while he waits for his trial.

"My client has always lived and worked in the Barrie area, and he intends to defend himself at trial. He has always steadfastly maintained his innocence. He has a very loving and supportive family and a strong network of friends who are supporting him while he goes through the court process."

Police arrested MacQueen on Jan. 13, 2021, in Barrie and charged him with first-degree murder.Bruce MacQueen, aka Bruce Ellis, 58, of Barrie, is charged with murder in the 1994 death of Katherine Janeiro. (Facebook)Police said at the time, investigators received a tip a year prior that led them to MacQueen, who was better known on the streets as Bruce Ellis.

The charge against MacQueen was reduced to second-degree murder following a preliminary hearing in late 2022.

All evidence heard during those proceedings before Justice Peter Bourque is protected by a publication ban.

According to investigators, Janeiro, who was 20 at the time of her death, was stabbed several times and found with cuts to her face and body. Early in the investigation, police believed Janeiro knew her attacker, noting there was no sign of forced entry at the Dunlop Street West basement apartment.

For decades, despite efforts from Barrie police and the OPP, the case went unsolved.

At the time of his arrest, police said MacQueen seemed surprised.

"As you can appreciate, 26 years had passed. That's a lot of looking over your shoulder, wondering if today is the day," said Peter Leon, Barrie Police Services Corporate Communications, following MacQueen's arrest in 2021.

Police said Janeiro had been involved in the drug trade at the time of her death. Her then two-year-old daughter was staying with her parents the weekend she was found dead.

Janeiro's parents passed away roughly a decade ago after waiting years for their daughter's killer to be found and brought to justice.

The trial is scheduled to begin in early September 2024.

The allegations against Robert MacQueen have not been tested in court.

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