Before Alexandre Bissonnette shot dead six Muslims in a Quebec City mosque in 2017, he combed the internet for stories on mass shootings, Islam and immigration policies, a Canadian court heard Monday.
The self-confessed killer pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder in March. Monday was the third day of a hearing to determine what sentence Bissonnette will be given by Judge Francois Huot. He also faced six charges of attempted murder and 19 were wounded in the melee.
The 28-year-old former university student was obsessed that a terrorist attack would happen in Quebec targeting his family, he confessed to police during interrogation about 14 hours after the Jan. 29, 2017 shooting.
Bissonnette said he began drinking around noon that day.
He then switched on the television and heard that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would welcome refugees to Canada regardless of their faith. At the same time, U.S. President Donald Trump was trying to ban travel to America from seven Muslim countries.
“When I saw that, I lost it,” he told police investigator Steve Girard in the hours after his arrest.
“I was like, sure that they were going to come and kill my parents also, and my family. I was sure about that…that’s why I had to do something.”
At Monday’s hearing, the court was told Bissonnette was particularly interested in Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who gunned down nine people in a church in South Carolina. During the month leading up to the Jan. 29 shooting, police who searched his computer found he had looked up Roof 201 times.
Bissonnette also searched Marc Lepine, who killed 14 women in 1989 at a Quebec engineering school.
He also looked for information about the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, where the shootings took place, and the Muslim student association at Laval University 82 times in January.
Canada does not have the death penalty, but Bissonnette could face 150 years in prison, 25 years on each of the first-degree murder charges.
His lawyer said the 150 years means the same as a death penalty and will argue that Bissonnette should be eligible for parole in 25 years.
The sentencing hearing continues.