Toronto

Ontario man who slaughtered entire family in their home gets life in prison

The crimes of a 24-year-old man who, one by one, slit the throats of his entire family to protect his secret double life are "deeply disturbing," an Ontario judge said Friday as she sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.

Menhaz Zaman, 24, pleaded guilty to killing parents, sister, grandmother in 2019

Menhaz Zaman, bottom left, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one of second-degree murder for killing his parents, sister and grandmother on July 27, 2019 in their home in Markham, Ont. (Pam Davies/CBC)

The crimes of a 24-year-old man who, one by one, slit the throats of his entire family to protect his secret double life are "deeply disturbing," an Ontario judge said Friday as she sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.

Menhaz Zaman pleaded guilty in September to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder for killing his parents, sister and grandmother on July 27, 2019, in their home in Markham, Ont.

"Words such as brutal, cruel, cold and callous do not begin to convey the enormity of his violence," said Justice Michelle Fuerst as she delivered Zaman's sentence from a Newmarket, Ont., court in a hearing broadcast over Zoom.

"It is difficult to imagine a more horrific way to take a human life than by slitting the victim's throat. Mr. Zaman did so not just once, but four separate times over a span of hours."

Zaman texted a friend in Minnesota about the murders along with pictures of the bloody bodies, according to an agreed statement of facts. That friend called Toronto police in a frantic attempt to alert the authorities, court heard.

Toronto police were able to trace the IP address from the communications between Zaman and his friend to a home in Markham, Ont. They then called York Regional Police, who sent officers to the home.

There police found Zaman, who told them about the murders, court heard. Officers found the bodies of 70-year-old Firoza Begum, 59-year-old Moniruz Zaman, 50-year-old Momtaz Begum, and 21-year-old Malesa Zaman.

Officers found the bodies of 70-year-old Firoza Begum, 59-year-old Moniruz Zaman, 50-year-old Momtaz Begum, and 21-year-old Malesa Zaman after emergency crews were called to a home in Markham, Ont. on July 27, 2019. (Facebook)

All the murder counts Zaman pleaded guilty to carry an automatic life sentence.

Both the Crown attorney and the defence asked that Zaman receive 25 years of parole ineligibility for the first-degree murder counts to be served concurrently, plus 15 years of ineligibility for the second-degree murder count to be served on top of that. The judge agreed.

Zaman said in an agreed statement of facts that he killed his family because they were about to find out he had lied for years about going to York University to become an engineer.

Instead, he had spent a few semesters at Seneca College in an electronics engineering program, but flunked out in 2015, court heard.

He spent his days in a nearby mall and at a gym along with playing video games at home, in an effort to keep up the ruse, according to the statement of facts.

He told a friend that he didn't want his family to find out they raised a failure.

A 'cold and calculated' manner

"No right-thinking member of society would see any remote correlation between the imminent disclosure of the secret of Mr. Zaman's non-attendance at school and the vicious taking of the lives of the four people closest to him," Fuerst said.

"That Mr. Zaman saw such a connection and acted on it in the cold and calculated manner that he did is deeply disturbing."

Around 3 p.m. on the day before what was supposed to be Zaman's graduation from university, he set his plan in motion and killed his mother, court heard. About an hour later he killed his grandmother.

As he waited hours for his sister and father to return home, he played video games and napped, according to the agreed statement of facts.

His sister got home around 11 p.m., where she was brutally killed. Zaman waited another hour for his father to return home, and then he attacked him.

Autopsies showed Zaman had hit each of his family members in the head, likely with a crow bar, and then cut their throats.

The betrayal of trust involved in these crimes is enormous,- Justice Michelle Fuerst

At a sentencing hearing last week, Zaman apologized to anyone he had "impacted negatively" with the killings.

The judge did not mince words on Friday.

"The betrayal of trust involved in these crimes is enormous," Fuerst said.

"Mr. Zaman executed four unsuspecting family members in their own home. It defies understanding that while his mother and grandmother lay upstairs in their own blood, Mr. Zaman played video games and napped to pass the time, apparently untroubled as he lay in wait to slay his sister and father in the same manner."

Zaman joins a notorious list of multiple murderers across Canada who have been sentenced to serve more than 25 years before they are eligible for parole.

That list includes several men who cannot apply for parole for 75 years, including the man who shot and killed three RCMP officers in New Brunswick in 2014, and an Ontario man who killed his father, his former lover and a complete stranger in the span of 10 months in 2012 and 2013.   

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