Court heard that a fatal beating at the Don Jail this past weekend may have had its beginnings in a squabble over a bag of allegedly stolen potato chips.

Police made the allegation Tuesday during a court appearance of three suspects charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jeff Munro, 32.

The attack occurred in an area of the jail where there are no surveillance cameras.

"It's outrageous," Toronto lawyer Barry Swadron said of the decision to put Munro in the Don in the first place.

"To put a person who is mentally ill in with hardened criminals is just a recipe for disaster," said the author of Detention of the Mentally Disordered.

The Don holds short-term prisoners who are generally either awaiting trial or sentencing.

On Nov. 2, Munro pleaded guilty in mental health court to the assault of a Toronto police officer. He had knocked off her hat and spat at her. The judge gave him 12 months probation.

The very next day, police picked up Munro and took him to the Don Jail for allegedly violating the terms of his probation order.

However, CTV Toronto's Chris Eby said there's no record of Munro's arrest in the court system, nor any record of any court appearance. Therefore, it's hard to know why Munro, who is a drug addict suffering from psychosis, was sent to the Don.

The former cruise ship entertainer was well-known to the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health at Queen Street West and Ossington Avenue.

"He should have been in the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, not jail," his mother Christine said Monday.

Three Toronto men facing first-degree murder charges in connection with Munro's death are:

  • Troy Victor Campbell, 24
  • Osman Sarikay, 22
  • Kevin Andre Veiro, 21

Munro is Toronto's 49th homicide victim of 2009.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Chris Eby