Saanich arrest linked to 20-year-old Ontario prison murder

Brian Riches is facing a first degree murder charge and is now in the custody of the Joint Forces Penitentiary Squad and the OPP.

The Ontario Provincial Police have made an arrest in Saanich in relation to the 20-year-old prison murder of an inmate in Kingston, Ont.

Brian Riches, also known as Brian Spinks, is facing a first degree murder charge and is now in the custody of the Joint Forces Penitentiary Squad and OPP Dective Inspector Paul Yelle. He was arrested with the help of the Saanich Police Department on Thursday, Feb. 6.

On July 24, 1994, inmate Phong Chau was found dead in his jail cell at Joyceville Institution in Kingston with trauma to his body.

OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae said because the murder happened in a federal prison, it made it difficult to investigate, which is why an arrest was not made closer to the crime. Technological advances over the years gave police alternative methods of investigation which eventually led to the evidence making up the basis for the arrest.

Rae could not give further details on how the crime was connected to Riches.

Riches is being returned to Kingston and was expected to arrive Friday, Feb. 7. He is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice on Saturday, Feb. 8 by video remand and in person in court on Monday, Feb. 10 in Kingston.

Saanich Police had been working with the Ontario authorities for some time on the case but could not confirm yet how long Riches has been living in Saanich.

“It’s one we don’t get every day,” said Sgt. Steve Eassie.