The 28-year-old man accused of killing 10 and injuring 16 after driving a van down Toronto’s Yonge Street in 2018 over the course of several minutes has pleaded not criminally responsible to the charges.
Alek Minassian, wearing a black suit jacket and a blue dress shirt, appeared in a virtual court proceeding from the Toronto South Detention Centre Tuesday morning and made the plea before Justice Anne Molloy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Tuesday marked the first day of Minassian’s trial. He is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.
In an agreed statement of facts read out by Crown attorney Joseph Callaghan, Minassian admitted to planning and carrying out the attack on April 23, 2018.
“The only issue in this trial … is the criminal responsibility,” Callaghan said, noting multiple psychiatric and psychological experts will be called to present evidence.
“Minassian agrees that he intended to kill those people, that the murders were planned and deliberate, and that he in fact did cause the death of those people.”
He described how Minassian called a vehicle rental company in Vaughan on April 4 to reserve a vehicle for pickup on the afternoon of April 23. According to the document, Minassian was dropped off at a retail store four kilometres away from the rental company by his father, whom he lied to about meeting a friend.
Minassian eventually walked to the company and rented the van, telling an employee he was going to be moving furniture. However, he drove to the area of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue West and began his attack, which he referenced in a post on Facebook.