White Supremacist Pleads Guilty to Terrorist Attack at New Zealand Mosques
After denying involvement in the attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 51 people dead nearly one year ago, Brenton Tarrant, reversed his plea to guilty on 26 March 2020.
Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist, now claims responsibility for the deaths, plus 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of terrorism in what has been marked as the deadliest terrorist attack in New Zealand, according to The New York Times. The guilty plea means the families of the victims will avoid what could be etiher a painful or cathartic trial (originally scheduled for June 2020), and Tarrant could receive a life sentence for the charges. The reason for Tarrant's declaration of guilty is not yet known.
No date has been set yet for a sentencing hearing, which could be delayed due to the country's current lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the BBC.
In the March 2019 attack, Tarrant shot at Muslim worshipers during their prayers at the Al Noor mosque and then the Linwood Isalmic Centre, using semi-automatic rifles that may have been modified, including an AR-15. The attacks led to New Zealand banning semiautomatic weapons, as well as parts that could be used to build such weapons.
New Zealand police said they were investigating a threat made against the Al Noor mosque as the one-year anniversary of the attack neared.
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