Relatives of the victims of the 2018 attack in Toronto, this Wednesday after the court's decision to convict Alek Minassian.CHRIS HELGREN / Reuters
Judge Anne Molloy, of the Superior Court of Ontario, delivered one of the most anticipated verdicts in recent years in Canada this Wednesday morning.
Molloy found Alek Minassian guilty of 10 first-degree homicides and 16 attempted murders.
Minassian invaded the sidewalk of Toronto's Yonge Avenue on April 23, 2018 at the wheel of a rented station wagon, in one of the bloodiest attacks in the country's history.
He was arrested a few minutes later.
Judge Molloy noted that the defendant "thought about committing these crimes for a considerable period of time and made a conscious decision to pursue his plan."
In reading his verdict, Molloy claimed that Minassian had admitted the crimes to the police on the day of his arrest and that he "never expressed remorse or empathy for the victims."
The judge repeated several times that it was a “premeditated attack” in which the author sought to cause the greatest possible damage.
According to the Canadian Criminal Code, an individual who commits a murder in the first degree is automatically sentenced to life imprisonment, without the right to request conditional release before having served 25 years in prison.
A hearing is scheduled for March 18 to discuss details about the penalty.
The Prosecutor's Office had presented different evidence to show that Alek Minassian, 28, prepared the attack and was always aware of what he was doing.
For their part, defense attorneys stated that Minassian could not be held criminally responsible because of his autism diagnosis since he was five years old.
It is the first time in Canada that this argument has been cited in a criminal case.
However, Judge Molloy ruled that this case does not comply with the test of criminal non-responsibility, although she recognized that autism can be considered a mental disorder among those contemplated in article 16 of the Criminal Code.
Molloy stressed that the defendant knew that "his actions were morally wrong, that he would inevitably kill pedestrians and that he would incur a prison sentence."
The Ontario Coalition for Autism said in a statement that Molloy's decision represents a relief, since it “makes it clear that this was never a case of autism that led to a multiple murder, but rather a case in which someone who committed a multiple murder had autism. "
The agency added in the document: "A diagnosis of autism does not predispose to committing violent acts."
Shortly after the tragedy, Alek Minassian was linked to the
, a term used on the Internet to refer to involuntary celibates who frequently spread misogynistic messages and apologize for sexist violence.
Moments before boarding the wagon to commit the multiple hit-and-run, Minassian posted a message on Facebook that made reference to an American assassin and various
On subsequent questioning, Minassian said he belonged to this movement, that it had become radicalized in cyberspace forums, and that the attack had been a "mission" motivated by his frustrations.
Judge Molloy pointed out in her verdict that, indeed, Minassian made these statements to detectives, but that in other encounters she had affirmed that the connection with the
was a simple way to increase the notoriety of her actions.
EL PAÍS América
and receive all the informative keys of the current situation in the region.