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04 October 2014

Grayce Baxter (1966 – 1992) sex worker, murdered.

Grayce Baxter from British Columbia completed transition in 1985 at a clinic in the US. Her parents had understood her gender dyssonance, and helped with the arrangements.

Grayce moved to Toronto in 1988, nominally to find a computer job, but known to many as Candace, she soon became a successful call girl with a roster of 100 clients. She specialized as a dominatrix. She acquired an expensive lake-front condo filled with fine antiques, a BMW, and designer clothing, and told her parents that she had become an executive in computing. However she always carried a stun gun and a can of mace when working. In December 1992 she had sent plane tickets to her parents to arrive for Christmas.

On 7 December Grayce worked a stag party with another prostitute and left after midnight. At 2 am she received a call at the number in her advertisement in Now weekly. The caller was 23-year-old Patrick Johnson, from Abbotsford, BC, a weightlifter and a part-time guard at Toronto's Don Jail. They agreed $200 for a 45-minute encounter. However Johnson had difficulty performing, and when his time was up, be became enraged. Grayce attempted to spray him with mace, but he overwhelmed her and choked her to death. He then cut her body into pieces, put them into garbage bags and dumped then in the apartment garbage bins.

Two days later Baxter's BMW was found. Mr & Mrs Baxter arrived in Toronto to meet a double shock of finding out how their daughter made her living combined with the fact that she was missing. Johnson pawned her diamond ring and Rolex on Dec. 21 for $1,650. The police tracked him from his cellphone records.

After it was mentioned in the press that Baxter had been born male, Johnson wrote a six-page letter to the Toronto Sun in which he admitted having seen Baxter on the night in question. He described himself as a “big, tough weightlifter, the womanizer, the loudmouth and joker” and insisted: : “I want to let the guys at the Don know I never knew she was once a he ... so quit the jokes”.  Charged with first-degree murder, Johnson opted to plead guilty to second degree on the eve of his trial. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but could apply for parole after a decade.

After nine years in a BC prison, he was granted day parole on condition that he stay away from sex workers. However he did not, and was returned to prison. In 2004 he had another chance, but was seen by the police as a prostitute entered his car. A third attempt at parole lasted two and a half years, but ended in June 2013 when a girlfriend reported him for alcohol abuse and attending to sex workers. However he took full responsibility for Baxter's murder, and has found Aboriginal spirituality. In 2014 he was released on parole a fourth time.

No trace of Grayce's body was ever found.
Mirha-Soleil Ross takes issue with the fact that the Transgender Day of Remembrance includes Grayce in that she was a passing woman and murdered by a john who did not know that she was trans.


  1. Repeating yet again the pattern, Johnson spent time in the Kwikwexwelhp healing village run by Canada Correctional Service, was released to a halfway house in Vancouver in 2017, breached his conditions and was returned to prison.

  2. Keep this murderer in prison for life as he is NOT rehabilitated. He will kill again. Grayce was a close friend of mine as both Grant and Grayce. She was funny and sweet.


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