Man found guilty of running down 10 pedestrians in Toronto

Man found guilty of running down 10 pedestrians in Toronto
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A man who drove a van into a crowd of people in Toronto in 2018 was found guilty of 26 counts of murder and attempted murder on Wednesday.

Alek Minassian, 28, was found guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder for the April 2018 incident in a case that brought attention to the “incel,” or “involuntary celibate,” online culture, according to news reports.

He now faces a life sentence that could be handed down on March 18. 

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Justice Anne Molloy rejected the defense team’s argument that Minassian did not understand the immorality of his actions due to his autism spectrum disorder — a claim that upset autism rights advocates. 

“Mr. Doe thought about committing these crimes over a considerable period of time and made a considered decision to proceed,” she said, referring to Minassian as “John Doe” in her ruling to avoid giving him the prominence that he sought, according to Reuters

“His attack on these 26 victims that day was an act of a reasoning mind notwithstanding its horrific nature and notwithstanding that he has no remorse for it, and no empathy for his victims,” she continued. 

His lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Minassian, who had pleaded not guilty, had previously told police that he drove a rental van into pedestrians, according to The Associated Press.

He also told officers that he identified as an “incel,” belonging to an online community of men who blame society for their lack of sexual experiences and often endorse the idea that men deserve to have sex with women. 

Other organized attacks have been associated with members of the “incel” community, including in California and Florida.