Alek Minassian’s father testifies in van attack trial his son was about to start a good computer job

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He paused in his testimony as he became emotional.

He said he watched video of his son pulling his hand out of his pocket and pointing it at police, pretending he had a gun.

“I was in a state of shock,” he said. “How is this even possible?”

He testified there was no hint of his son being capable of it.

“I’ve seen no history of violence. He is, if anything, he’s always been characterized as a gentle person.”

Minassian’s father said his son had problems from a young age because of odd behaviours. He was in a special education program throughout his schooling. In some subjects, such as math, he was ahead of his peers but in other he was far behind.

Social interaction, he said, “was one of the greatest challenges he had.” He did not recognize facial expressions that reveal other’s emotional state, such as pain or anger, his father said.

From kindergarten through college, he often remained “in his own world.”

Alek Minassian in an image from a mock television commercial that appears to be part of a post-high school class assignment. Photo by Court exhibit

His testimony will continue into the afternoon.

Unlike most first-degree murder trials, there wasn’t a lot the Crown needed to do to present the case against Minassian.

The prosecution did not need to prove the identity of the killer or what he did or why, or that he planned the attack. Minassian admits to all of that.

Because he admits he was the driver and that he planned and intended to kill the people he struck with the rental van, the main issue at trial is Minassian’s mental condition and its relevance to his behaviour on that day.

Just before his attack, and again to police afterward, he claimed his actions were part of “the Incel Rebellion,” a reference to a fringe misogynist ideology of “involuntarily celibate” men who have difficulty attracting sexual interest from women.

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