Toronto ‘incel’ van attack accused pleads not criminally responsible
Toronto, Canada, Nov 10 (efe-epa).- Alek Minassian, who admitted to driving down a busy Toronto sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 16, declared himself on Tuesday not criminally responsible for his actions.
Minassian, who appeared by videolink from prison before a Toronto court at the start of the trial for the 2018 attack, only told Judge Anne Molloy that he was entering a plea of “not criminally responsible on all counts.”
The 28-year-old from Ontario, who has been linked to the misogynistic “incel” (men who are involuntary celibate) movement, which blames their lack of sexual activity on women, is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Eight of the 10 killed were women, ranging in age from 22 to 94 years old. Some survivors had to undergo limb amputations and some suffered severe brain damage, among other injuries.
In March, Minassian admitted to planning and carrying out the attack, but his lawyer, Boris Bytensky, argued Tuesday at the beginning of the trial that his client was not mentally fit to be held criminally responsible.
Minassian’s family has said that he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome. His mental state at the time of the crime and how or whether it impacted his actions will be central to his defense in the trial, expected to last four weeks.
On April 23, 2018, Minassian, who was 26 years old at the time, drove a rental van down busy Yonge Street, mowing down pedestrians on the sidewalks.
Before launching his attack, Minassian posted a message on Facebook stating that “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!” and praised 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, an American drop-out student who in 2014 killed six people and injured 14 others before shooting himself dead in an attack near the University of California.
Shortly before his attack, Rodger outlined his intentions in a document, in which he said he would “punish all females for the crime of depriving me of sex,” and men for having had “pleasurable sex lives while I’ve had to suffer.”
Following his arrest, Minassian reportedly told police investigators that he was a virgin who had never had a girlfriend, and wanted to inspire more attacks. He said he belonged the an online subculture of sexually frustrated men and drew inspiration from others who used violence as retribution for “being unable to get laid.” EFE-EPA