Minassian, 28, is charged with 10 counts of murder and 16 counts of attempted murder for purposely driving a rented van into pedestrians on April 23, 2018, in Toronto. He pleads not guilty to the charges but claims he is not criminally responsible due to his mental state.
In September 2018, Minassian told Chauhan that during his deadly ride down busy Yonge St. sidewalks, he was “wishing for more female victims,” she told court.
In court on Thursday, Crown prosecutor John Rinaldi showed her excerpts from notes made by Dr. John Bradford, a well-known forensic psychiatrist, and leader of the mental assessment team hired by Minassian’s lawyer.
During the police interrogation, conducted just hours after the attack, Minassian told Det. Rob Thomas he killed as part of an incel rebellion and that his interest in incels was sparked by rejection from women at a Halloween party in 2013. Minassian told police he was inspired by a manifesto by Elliott Rodger, who is venerated by some incels for killing six people in California in 2014.
When Bradford asked him about telling police he was enraged by his rejection by women “he denies this categorically and maintains that he is only disappointed and that he made this up about being enraged. He describes being obsessed by some of the websites but implies today that he was not a follower.”
He told Bradford he read incel forums and websites but didn’t contribute posts to them.
In his notes, Bradford says he found it difficult to believe it was all lies because of the detail and complexity of what he told police.
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Minassian told Bradford that after renting the van on the morning of the attack, he pulled into a parking lot and stopped to compose the Facebook message announcing the attack was part of the “Incel Rebellion.”
“It would be energizing that the media would be identifying me as such,” Minassian told Bradford. He said he would be added to the list of incel killers.
“It does not bother me to be on the list,” Minassian told Bradford, the notes say.
Rinaldi, in his cross examination of Chauhan, downplayed Minassian’s interest or obsession with incels, noting Minassian’s interest in mass murder went far beyond that particular ideology.
Court heard Minassian had a long and deep fascination with mass murderers, school shooters and how many people they killed.
In high school, he would routinely search the internet for information on killers and, when feeling lonely, fantasize about being a mass murderer, court heard.
“He had mass murder on his mind long before Elliott Rodger,” Rinaldi said to Chauhan.
“Both can be true,” Chauhan said.
“I’d need to probe that further, whether he was lying about having read it (Rodger’s manifesto) daily, for instance. Was it all a lie or is it just this point is a lie,” she said.
Rinaldi added: “They could all be lies, right? We really don’t know when he is telling the truth. It’s a problem, is it not?”
“He was very fixated when I was speaking with him about the idea of notoriety,” Chauhan said. “So whether that’s the motivation or there’s some other motivation or he thought another person’s life was more exciting than his own, I couldn’t say, but it would be something that would be explored.”