Accused in van attack charged with 3 more counts of attempted murder
Alek Minassian now charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of attempted murder
Alek Minassian, the man accused in a deadly van attack in Toronto's North York neighbourhood in April, was charged with three additional counts of attempted murder in court on Thursday morning.
The 25-year-old, who appeared by video link at the Finch Avenue courthouse at 10 a.m. ET, was dressed in an orange jumpsuit and stared straight ahead. Minassian is now charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.
He recently hired lawyer Boris Bytensky to represent him.
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According to the biography on his firm's website, Bytensky "has conducted criminal and civil trials at all levels of court in Ontario," and defended clients in a number of high-profile criminal cases.
Lawyer says this is not terrorism
Bytensky spoke with reporters after Minassian's brief court appearance, but declined to comment on how his client was doing, saying that he wanted to keep the focus on the victims and the case.
He also declined to comment on how his client plans to plead.
Bytensky, whose firm's office is steps from where the van attack occurred, did say that while the Minassian family was devastated, "they appreciate the devastation on many other families as well."
Pressed by reporters about whether the van attack should be considered act of terrorism, he was unequivocal.
"I have no knowledge of anything that would make me believe this was an act of terrorism," he said.
Midday attack killed 10
Minassian was arrested on April 23, minutes after a white van plowed into pedestrians as it sped southbound along a busy sidewalk on Yonge Street from Finch Avenue toward Sheppard Avenue.
Eight women and two men, ranging in age from 22 to 94, were killed.
A total of 16 people were injured. According to Sunnybrook Hospital, five people remain in its care, with one in serious condition.
Minassian isn't due back in court until Sept 14, 2018 — about four months from now.
Bytensky credited the extended break to the difficulty of the case.
"It is longer than normal, but it is a case that is more complex than normal."