Toronto van attack killer sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years
Alek Minassian, the involuntarity celibate 29-year-old man convicted of killing 10 people and injuring 16 others in 2018's tragic Toronto Van Attack, has been sentenced to life in jail with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy handed down her sentence late in the afternoon on Monday, June 13, 2022, more than a year after Minassian was first found guilty on all 26 counts of murder and attempted murder, and more than four years after deliberately ramming a rental van through throngs of people along a busy Yonge Street sidewalk.
Minassian will serve a life sentence for the heinous murders of eight Toronto women and two men on April 23, 2018, as well as a twenty-year-long sentence for 15 counts of attempted murder.
The sentences are to be served concurrently, much to the chagrin of some community members who had hoped to see multiple consecutive sentences served with no chance of parole, ever.
Justice Molloy is now explaining that she’s duty bound by the Supreme Court of Canada to sentence Minassian to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. It is a life sentence, not a 25 year sentence. All that happens after 25 years is he can ask for a parole hearing.— Adrian Ghobrial (@AdrianGhobrial) June 13, 2022
Minassian was 25 when he orchestrated what has become known as one of the saddest and most-terrifying days in Toronto's history.
Whether or not he carried out the city's worst-ever mass killing was never up for debate — the Richmond Hill native admitted to renting a van with the intention of killing people, to slamming the accelerator as he mounted the sidewalk, and to purposely hitting 26 pedestrians over a period of roughly four minutes.
Molloy was tasked instead with determining in March of 2021 if Minassian should be held criminally responsible for his actions.
The radicalized young man had entered a plea of "not criminally responsible" (NCR) to all 10 counts of murder and attempted murder in November of 2019 at the beginning of a six-week-long, judge-only trial held via Zoom.
Minassian's lawyers argued that he should not be held criminally responsible on account of being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder — an argument the court rejected.
Molloy pointed out when announcing Minassian's sentence that a recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling prevents consecutive sentencing, thanking the dozens of victims who spoke during this hearing for their powerful impact statements.
"Every single one of these lives were precious," said the judge. "What you said counts, it matters, it matters to me and it will matter to other people who will have to make decisions in the future."
Minassian reported remained quiet throughout the proceedings and, according to the CBC, is now visibly balding.
According to Molloy, based on the convicted murderer's own comments, he was motivated to injure as many people as possible on April 23 of 2018 "by the incel movement, as he had been rejected by women and admitted that he frequented incel chatrooms on the internet."
"He paid tribute to mass murderers Elliot Rodger and Chris Harper-Mercer, with whom he claimed to have been in contact before they died," said Molloy when convicting Minassian on the multiple counts of murder and attempted murder last year.
"When asked if he had anything to say about the fact that he had killed and injured all those people, he stated, 'I feel like I accomplished my mission.'"
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