Alek Minassian, the 25-year-old accused of carrying out the van attack along a busy Toronto street last month, was charged on Thursday morning with three more counts of attempted murder in the rampage that left 10 people dead and more than a dozen injured.
Minassian appeared in a packed courtroom via video link wearing an orange jumpsuit. It was his second appearance since he was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 other counts of attempted murder in the worst mass murder in Toronto’s history.
Eight of the 10 people killed in the van attack were women ranging in age from early 20s to 94 years old. A post on Minassian’s Facebook page posted minutes before the van attack unfolded cited an “incel rebellion,” and appeared to pledge allegiance to Elliot Rodger, the young man who killed six people and wounded others in a shooting spree in California in 2014 before killing himself. Rodger has become an icon among incels, a misogynistic community of men who describe themselves as “involuntarily celibate” and blame women for their lack of sex.
Minassian has hired a team of veteran defence lawyers to take on his case.
“We represent people who sometimes are not the most popular in the eyes of the community,” one of Minassian’s attorneys, Boris Bytensky, told reporters outside of the Toronto courtroom. “It’s very important, for our criminal justice system, to defend people professionally and ethically. And that’s what we intend to do.”
When asked whether Minassian hates women, Bytensky said the public will have to wait for the evidence. Bytensky also declined to say whether his client will plead guilty or not guilty, and did not provide an update on how Minassian is doing. Rather, he said he wanted to keep the public focused on the victims.
Seven victims of the attack remain in hospital, four of whom remain in serious condition, according to Sunnybrook Hospital.
Funerals have been taking place over the last few weeks for those who died. Hundreds of people gathered on Monday to mourn the death of Renuka Amarasingha, a 45-year-old single mom of a seven-year-old boy.
A GoFundMe page was set up for her son with a goal of raising $150,000. It has so far raised more than $350,000.