Toronto van attacker found guilty on all counts

Brenda Watkins
March 4, 2021

Alek Minassian, who was accused of using his rental van to deliberately drive though crowds of people on Toronto's Yonge Street, killing 10 and injuring 16 others, has been found guilty on 10 counts of murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

In her decision, which was broadcast on YouTube amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy said Wednesday that the accused had a "functioning, rational brain" and spent a considerable amount of time planning the attack and weighing the consequences. "His attack on these 26 victims that day was an act of a reasoning mind notwithstanding its horrific nature and notwithstanding that he has no remorse for it, and no empathy for his victims".

About 120 courtrooms filled to capacity would have been needed to accommodate the almost 6,000 people who tuned in as the verdict in the Toronto van attack trial was delivered on a YouTube livestream Wednesday.

The man had 26 charges on him, and he is guilty of all related to the attack.

The central question at trial was whether Minassian knew what he did was morally wrong.

"It completely ignores the deep-rooted misogyny that was very prevalent in what he did and why he did it", she said.

"We now can start to close this terrible chapter and try to move on to a new norm".

Catherine Riddell, who was brutally injured in the attack, said her years-long anxiety has abated.

"He never lost sight of the fact that society viewed his choice as wrong, and he made a choice to go ahead and commit the attack", prosecutor Joe Callaghan told the court in December.

"It was the best I could hope for ..."

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"He can spend the rest of his life in jail because he deserves it".

"I think she's setting a precedent for how things should be conducted moving forward and if there's one thing that we can take away from today, it's that".

The six week trial had heard from several psychiatrists.

At one point he became fixated on an American mass murderer who hated women.

"Unfortunately, April 23, 2018, was also the date selected by John Doe, weeks in advance, that he would kill as many residents as possible", Molloy said, adding the man sought to be killed by responding officers immediately following the attack. After his arrest, in his conversations with Detective Rob Thomas, Minassian said he belonged to an online subculture of sexually frustrated men who identified as "involuntary celibates" or "incels".

During a police interrogation, Minassian described the anger he felt toward women and said this had motivated the attack, which the judge noted he'd thought about committing for nearly a decade.

Later he mentioned different motives to different doctors who analyzed him. When it turned green, he floored it, hopping the curb.

"The accused committed a horrific crime, one of the most devastating tragedies this city has ever endured, for the goal of achieving fame", Judge Molloy wrote in the ruling.

The victims were 85-year-old Munir Abdo Habib Najjar, 45-year-old Chul "Eddie" Min Kang, 30-year-old Anne Marie D'Amico, 80-year-old Dorothy Sewell, 55-year-old Beutis Renuka Amarasingha, 94-year-old Mary Elizabeth Forsyth, 22-year-old So He Chung, 33-year-old Andrea Bradden, 83-year-old Geraldine Brady, and 22-year-old Ji Hun Kim. On a side street he hopped out of the van and tried to get killed by police, "suicide by cop" being part of his plan.

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