Australian Brenton Tarrant is undergoing a four-day sentencing hearing in which he is facing charges for killing 51 worshippers in a mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques.
“You killed your own humanity, and I don’t think the world will forgive you for your horrible crime,” said a tearful Maysoon Salama, the mother of 33-year-old Atta Elayyan, who was killed in March 2019 attacks.
“You thought you can break us. You failed miserably.”
The 29-year-old Australian murder suspect pleaded guilty in March to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one count of terrorism — the first terrorism conviction in New Zealand’s history.
If convicted, he could become New Zealand’s first criminal to have the toughest sentence available — life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Tarrant was brought into the Christchurch High Court shackled and wearing a gray prison outfit. In the dock, unshackled and surrounded by five officers, he showed little emotion throughout the hearing. He occasionally looked around the room, tapped his fingers, and watched the survivors as they spoke.
The courtroom was only half full due to coronavirus distancing requirements, while many others watched from adjacent courtrooms where the hearing was streamed.
Survivors and family members occasionally wept and comforted each other.