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Man accused of New Zealand mosque shooting that killed 51 changes plea to guilty

Click to play video: 'Accused New Zealand mosque shooter charged with terrorism' Accused New Zealand mosque shooter charged with terrorism
WATCH ABOVE (MAY 21, 2020): Accused New Zealand mosque shooter charged with terrorism – May 21, 2019

One year after killing 51 worshipers at two Christchurch mosques, an Australian white supremacist accused of the slaughter on Thursday changed his plea to guilty.

Twenty-nine-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant pleaded guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism. The killing spree was the deadliest in New Zealand’s modern history and prompted the government to rush through new laws banning most semi-automatic weapons.

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New Zealand shooting: Over 60 thousand firearms removed from circulation after Christchurch attacks, Ardern says – Mar 12, 2020

Tarrant was scheduled to go to trial on the charges in June. His change in plea came as a surprise and relief to survivors and relatives of the victims.

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A sentencing date has yet to be set. Tarrant faces life imprisonment on the charges.

READ MORE: Shot 9 times, New Zealand mosque shooting survivor looks forward to fresh start

The plea came at a hastily arranged court hearing at a time that New Zealand was beginning a four-week lockdown to try and combat the new coronavirus. The lockdown meant that Tarrant appeared in the court from his jail cell via video link and that only a few people were allowed inside the courtroom.

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