The sentencing trial of the admitted gunman who shot six people to death and wounded 19 in a Quebec City mosque continued Thursday in a Canadian courtroom.
The court was shown chilling videos of Alexandre Bissonnette gunning down people at prayer at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center then stopping to reload his handgun before continuing his deadly spree on Jan. 29, 2017.
Judge Francois Huot ruled that security camera videos could be shown in the courtroom but did not allow them to be released publicly because of fears it might incite more violence. However, he said media could describe the content of the recordings.
Before the 10 video clips were shown, the judge also warned those in court that the images were disturbing.
“These images are difficult, brutal,” Huot said.
In March, Bissonnette, 28, pleaded guilty to six first-degree murder charges and six of attempted murder. He sat shackled in court as the videos were played to a mostly silent audience except for some sobs from families of the victims.
The prosecution said Bissonnette, a university student, was “methodical, strategic and cold-blooded” as he calmly carried out the attack, done over a period of two minutes from 7:54 p.m. to just after 7:56 p.m.
The videos showed Bissonnette walking up to the mosque, then removing a rifle from a guitar case. Two men who were exiting the mosque – cousins Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42, and Ibrahima Barry, 39 – were shot by Bissonnette.
He then dropped the rifle and pulled out a 9mm Glock handgun before moving over to the victims who were bleeding on the pavement and shot them again.
He proceeded into the prayer room to continue his deadly rampage, killing four more men – Azzedine Soufiane, 57, Khaled Belkacemi, 60, Aboubaker Thabti, 44, and Abdelkrim Hassane, 41.
There is no death penalty in Canada, and the maximum sentence Bissonnette faces is 150 years in prison – 25-year terms for each of the six killings.
As the sentencing hearing continues, the defense is expected to argue that 150 years is, in effect, a death sentence and that Bissonnette should be eligible for parole in 25 years.