A Markham man who pleaded guilty to murdering four of his family members inside their home shouldn’t be eligible for parole for a period of 40 years, Crown and defence lawyers said during a sentencing hearing on Monday.
“I would just like to apologize to anyone who I have impacted negatively with my actions,” Menhaz Zaman told the court Monday afternoon, making a virtual appearance from the detention centre where he is being held.
Zaman spoke briefly during Monday afternoon’s hearing, which was held through Zoom due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Adele Monaco, Zaman’s lawyer, told the court his guilty plea was meant to be a “true expression of remorse” and avoid a lengthy trial. She added the 24-year-old didn’t have any involvement in the justice system before the murders on July 28, 2019.
It was on that date when York Regional Police said officers were called to a home on Castlemore Avenue, near Mingay Avenue and southwest of Major MacKenzie Drive East and Markham Road, just before 3 p.m. with a report multiple people may have been injured.
A man at the front door of the home, later identified as Zaman, was taken into custody after officers arrived and police found 70-year-old Firoza Begum (grandmother), 59-year-old Moniruz Zaman (father), 21-year-old Malesa Zaman (sister) and Momtaz Zaman (mother) dead inside.
Zaman, who was 23 at the time, was initially charged with four counts of first-degree murder. He allegedly posted details of the deaths in an online chat community, including photos of what are believed to be his dead family members and how they were killed. A picture shared online appears to show Zaman dressed after showering and holding a knife covered in blood.
During Monday’s hearing, assistant Crown attorney Kevin Stewart said the Crown and the defence were submitting a joint recommendation that Zaman serve life in prison with a 25-year period of parole ineligibility for the first-degree murders of Begum, Moniruz and Malesa. He said Menhaz should have a further 15 years of parole ineligibility for the second-degree murder of Momtaz, noting there were issues in determining if her murder was planned and deliberate.
If the recommendation is accepted by the court, Menhaz would be eligible for parole when he’s 64 years old.
“These were horrible, monstrous, brutal killings,” Stewart told the court.
In referencing the agreed statement of facts, he highlighted how Begam and Momtaz were murdered first. He said Menhaz sat in the house, played video games and napped after their deaths before he killed Moniruz and Malesa.
“A home is supposed to be a place of safety, of security, of sanctity,” Stewart said.
“It’s beyond belief a young man can do this to his whole family.”
Stewart also asked for probation and DNA orders should Menhaz be released from prison.
Justice Michelle Fuerst said she would deliver her sentence on Nov. 2.