WINDSOR, Ontario — A Canadian man was discovered responsible Thursday of 4 counts of first-degree homicide for intentionally utilizing his pickup to kill 4 members of a Muslim household two years in the past.
The jury additionally convicted Nathaniel Veltman, 22, responsible of 1 depend of tried homicide for injuring a fifth member of the family within the incident in London, Ont.
Veltman, who had pleaded not responsible, quietly appeared straight forward as the decision was delivered after the jury deliberated for roughly 5 hours. Members of the Muslim group hugged kinfolk of the victims within the courtroom.
Prosecutors argued that Veltman purposely ran his truck into the Afzaal household whereas they have been out for a stroll on June 6, 2021, to intimidate Muslims into leaving Canada. The protection sought to point out he wasn’t criminally liable due to the psychological well being issues.
Killed have been Salman Afzaal, 46; his spouse, Madiha Salman, 44; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna; and 74-year-old grandmother Talat Afzaal. The couple’s 9-year-old son was significantly injured.
The case, which the jury heard over greater than two months, was the primary by which Canada’s terrorism legal guidelines have been put earlier than a jury in a first-degree homicide trial.
Prosecutor Fraser Ball argued in his closing arguments this week that the proof confirmed Veltman deliberate the assault for months, noting he purchased a big pickup on a mortgage shortly earlier than and put in a heavy grille guard on it.
Ball mentioned Veltman wished to ship a message to Muslims in Canada that they’d be killed just like the Afzaal household in the event that they didn’t depart the nation. He mentioned Veltman additionally wished to encourage different white nationalists to commit violent assaults.
Among the many proof offered through the trial was a video of Veltman telling a detective that his assault was motivated by white nationalist beliefs. Jurors additionally heard testimony that Veltman wrote a manifesto within the weeks earlier than the assault describing himself as a white nationalist.
Protection lawyer Christopher Hicks argued towards a first-degree homicide verdict, saying Veltman has a number of psychological issues, together with extreme despair, autism spectrum dysfunction and obsessive-compulsive dysfunction, and had ingested magic mushrooms two days earlier than the assault.
He mentioned Veltman’s conduct across the time of the assault demonstrated “elevated” and “unpredictable” habits.
A forensic psychiatrist known as by the protection testified that Veltman does have psychological well being points however mentioned he didn’t qualify to be thought-about not criminally accountable on account of psychological dysfunction.
In the course of the trial, Veltman testified he was influenced by the writings of a gunman who dedicated the 2019 mass killings of 51 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand.
He informed jurors he had been contemplating utilizing his pickup for an assault and appeared up info on-line about what occurs when pedestrians get struck by automobiles at varied speeds.
He informed the jury he felt an “urge” to hit the household when he noticed them strolling on a sidewalk, saying he knew they have been Muslims from the garments they have been sporting.