The perpetrator of the mosque shooting in 2017 has changed his plea to guilty for the 12 charges against him. His actions resulted in six men dead with another five critically injured.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 28, explained to Judge François Huot that he wished to plead guilty to six counts of first-degree murder as well as six counts of attempted murder. One of the critically injured victims was at court that day. They represented the 35 people, four of them children, that had witnessed the accounts of last January 29th at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec.
Initially, at the start of the pretrial proceedings in Quebec City, Bissonnette pleaded not guilty. However, only five hours later, he announced he wished to change his plea. The judge, to make sure the 28-year-old knew what he was doing, made time for a psychiatric evaluation before he accepted the plea. The psychiatrist met with Bissonnette that evening.
Family of the victims of the mosque shooting in 2017 were present at the court this Wednesday
Then, Wednesday, in court, the families of the victims cried as the names were listed aloud. All six that died were husbands and fathers. The shooting caused 17 children to lose a parent.
The names are:
Mamadou Tanou Barry
Amir, son of Khaled Belkacemi, stated he was relieved he and the others would not have to endure a trial. The events of last year had already been traumatic enough.
Furthermore, to make sure the validity of the plea could not be questioned, the judge asked a plethora of questions to Bissonnette about his decision to change his response.
The convict stated that he wished to spare the victims and their families from having to face a lengthy trial, therefore re-living the tragedy.
The psychiatrist that met with Bissonnette affirmed that the man knew what he agreed to with his new plea. The professional stated that Bissonnette did not want to be responsible for a second mutual tragedy.
First-degree murder sentences automatically give the guilty a life sentence. There is no chance of parole for at least 25 years.
One year after the shooting, the mosque made a surprising announcement. The Islamic Cultural Centre opened their doors to the public as survivors and widows spoke. Their speeches focused on how this tragedy impacted their lives. A large number showed up to show their solidarity with the community and help support those that suffered losses.