Update: Alexandre Bissonnette has been sentenced to life with no parole for 40 years.
While serial killer Bruce McArthur was handed 25 years of parole ineligibility in a Toronto courtroom this morning, the longest prison sentence in Canadian history could be handed out to another mass murderer. Alexandre Bissonnette opened fire on a Quebec City mosque in January of 2017, killing six people and injuring several others. His sentencing is ongoing in a Quebec courtroom today.
Bissonnette, who is only 29-years-old, pleaded guilty to the six counts of first-degree murder in March of last year. This morning, the prosecution is calling for Bissonnette to serve six consecutive life sentences with parole ineligibility for 150 years, making it the longest sentence in Canada history.
Several of the mosque shooting survivors and the victims' families also called for consecutive sentences, saying that the lasting trauma of the killing in their community and the horrific crime demands a punishment that is more than 25 years of parole ineligibility.
However, that minimum sentence of life in prison with no parole for 25 years is exactly what the defence is calling for. If this is granted, Bissonnette will be able to apply for parole, which means he could be released from prison by the time he turns 54-years-old.
The sentence has yet to be determined by the judge, Superior Court Justice Francois Huot, but Huot said in court that this mass-murder “will forever be written in blood in the history of this city, this province, this country.”
On January 29, 2017, Bissonnette entered a Quebec City mosque during evening prayers and began shooting at worshippers there. Six people were killed and 19 others were injured. The mass-murder has since been referred to as a terrorist attack.
Shortly after his arrest, Bissonnette told police that the attack was motivated by immigration in Canada. Specifically, the attack came days after President Donald Trump announced his Muslim immigration ban and Justin Trudeau responded by saying Canada is open to refugees.
He also told police that he felt horrified about previous attacks like the Parliament Hill shooting and felt he needed to take action against Muslims, saying he didn't want the "Islamist attacks" happening around the world to happen here in Canada. Ironically, he ended up creating what he feared most, a terrorist attack.
If Bissonnette is handed the longest life sentence in Canadian history, he would be 179-years-old by the time he is even eligible for parole, meaning it is certain that he will die in prison. The official sentence is expected anytime today.