The man who murdered six Muslim men in a Quebec City mosque in January 2017 was bullied and intimidated mercilessly in high school, one of his former teachers told a court Monday.
Students would laugh at Alexandre Bissonnette, hit him and throw him against the wall regularly, said Lucie Cote, the defence’s first witness at sentencing arguments.
The bullying, she said, “was daily.”
Cote, who was Bissonnette’s teacher in two different years at two different schools, said he developed reflexes of nervousness and fear and did not defend himself.
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She told Superior Court Justice Francois Huot she came to testify on her own accord and that her presence wasn’t requested by the killer’s defence team.
“After everything he endured, I couldn’t stay silent,” she said.
Bissonnette, 28, pleaded guilty in March to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder related to the deadly mosque shooting in Quebec City.
The Crown’s previous presentation included Bissonnette’s 911 call as well as police interviews and emotional victim impact statements from the widows and children of some of the deceased.
Many of the family members said they’re still suffering from fear and trauma as a result of the massacre.
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Bissonnette’s lawyers began presenting their case Monday and are seeking the shortest sentence for their client.
They signaled they will table psychiatric reports on Bissonnette.
His first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
But he can also receive consecutive sentences, which means he could spend up to 150 years in prison.
Bissonnette’s lawyers have claimed in court that giving their client a 150-year jail term would be equivalent to sentencing him to death by incarceration.