Canadian man found guilty in murder of Muslim family

Canadian man found guilty in murder of Muslim family

An Ontario jury has delivered found Nathaniel Veltman guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in his 2021 truck attack on a Muslim family.

The 22-year-old’s conviction came Thursday, after more than 10 weeks of trial and just six hours of deliberation, CBC reported.

“While this verdict does not bring back our loved ones, it is a recognition by the justice system that the perpetrator of these heinous crimes … intended to instil fear and terror in our hearts,” Tabinda Bukhari, mother of one of the victims, was quoted as saying.

The Afzaal family, including 15-year-old Yumnah Afzaal, her parents Madiha Salman, 44, and Salman Afzaal, 46, along with family matriarch Talat Afzaal, 74, were killed during an evening walk in suburban London, Ontario, when they were hit by truck driven by Veltman.

A 9-year-old boy was also injured in the attack but survived. The incident was labeled a hate crime related to anti-Muslim sentiment and drew condemnation across Canada and worldwide.

Veltman previously pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges, with his defense arguing that he never intended to kill the family when he drove into them.

That defense was in conflict with the claim that he allegedly told police, “I was planning on killing,” after the incident. “I knew what I did. I don’t regret what I did. I admit that it was terrorism.”

Veltman is due back in court Dec. 1, when he’s expected to receive a sentencing hearing date and will hear victim impact statements from the Afzaal family.

His lawyer Christopher Hicks told reporters outside a courthouse on Thursday that his client was shocked and still absorbing the idea that he will be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison.

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