Hard to fathom steps parents will take, despite their murderous child

tryingtounderstand

The parents of a man behind the deadly Quebec City mosque attack have issued an open letter questioning the severity of the minimum 40-year sentence handed down to their son last week.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, received his sentence Friday for killing six men and injuring six others at the Islamic Cultural Centre mosque on Jan. 29, 2017.

His parents, Raymond Bissonnette and Manon Marchand, say in the letter released Monday that the sentence is the harshest imposed in Quebec since the death penalty was abolished in 1976.

They say the Crown's request for six consecutive life sentences, which would have prevented their son from seeking parole for 150 years and guaranteed that he end his life behind bars, amounted to circumventing the abolition of the death penalty and would terminate all hope of rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot concluded a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment for the 29-year-old.

Bissonnette's parents say he suffered psychological and physical bullying during his years in school that had "devastating effects" on his personality.

"If we really want to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, it seems to me that the solution is not to lock someone up forever, but rather try to better understand and prevent bullying, which is a serious societal problem that continues to make victims among our young," the letter reads.

His parents say people who commit serious crimes should still have the possibility to apply for parole after 25 years — a "glimmer of hope" they say would encourage rehabilitation.

"Unlike other countries, Canada has chosen an open-door policy, welcoming people from all over the world and giving them hope for a second chance in life," the letter says. "Why deny convicts even the faintest hope?"

Legal experts have said Bissonnette's sentence is likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.

However, it has been denounced by survivors of the attack and other Muslim community members.

Boufeldja Benabdallah, president of the mosque that was attacked, said last week that community members were stunned by the decision and felt the judge was more concerned about the dignity of the killer than that of the victims and their families.

Bissonnette pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder after he walked into the mosque during evening prayers and opened fire. The murder victims were Mamadou Tanou Barry, 42; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41; Khaled Belkacemi, 60; Aboubaker Thabti, 44; Azzeddine Soufiane, 57; and Ibrahima Barry, 39.

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Comments (23)
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mrskjun(9)

I'm sure in their heart of hearts they will never believe they raised a monster. They love their son, but I'm sure they can't help but feel his crimes are a reflection on them as parents.

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blfenton

....amounted to circumventing the abolition of the death penalty and would terminate all hope of rehabilitation.... - from OP

He sentenced his victims to death because of their religion. He deserves to rot in jail for the rest of his life.

Bruce MacArthur (the man in Toronto convicted of killing 8 gay men in horrific torturing manner) was given concurrent sentence rather than consecutive which the crown had asked for. Now, for him, because of his age he will spend the rest of his life in jail. But this, along with the above OP becomes precedent for future cases. I see nothing wrong with consecutive life sentences when you deliberately go out and kill people in such violent manners.

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Chi

I imagine it's hard to stop loving your children and wanting the best for them, even if they turn out to be monsters. Sounds like he got off easy - it should be life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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Jenn Dinosaur-Mom(5)

I have to wonder just how likely any rehabilitation would be for someone like this guy, his age is irrelevant and there are many people who get bullied and don't go out to commit mass murder!

If his parents were really so concerned, did they not see signs? Did they try to get him some sort of mental health assistance? Would they be asking for leniency if they were not the parents of a murderer but the parents of the murdered? The victims didn't get any leniency, their families can only go to a gravesite - his parents can go see him in person for the remainder of their lives because he still draws breath.

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chase_gw

My heart breaks for the family of victims and generally the families of the perpetrator however, on balance the sentence was warranted.

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dandyfopp

I really don't think it is surprising that the parents want leniency, after all, who would be the direct beneficiary of leniency?


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miss lindsey (still misses Sophie)(8a)

I think it's natural to take on causes once they directly impact us.

It would be awesome if these parents could create momentum for prison reform in the form of improved infrastructure and rehabilitation services.

This sentence is just. There are plenty examples of sentences that aren't just, either too lenient or too strict.


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Jenn Dinosaur-Mom(5)

Some kinds of bad aren't able to be fixed.

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josephene_gw

Parents are not responsible for what their children do.

As Jenn said needs repeating.

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Embothrium(Sunset Climate Zone 5, USDA Hardiness Zone 8)

Without more background (than is presented here at any rate) we don't know what the parents' entire point of view is. Otherwise for all we know the perpetrator was brought up hearing Muslims denigrated at the dinner table.

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patriciae_gw(07)

It has to be a sort of watershed event in a culture when you go from vengeance based criminal justice to rehabilitative criminal justice. Do you want people to suffer or do you want them to do better? We learn heavily towards suffering though we did go through a short rehabilitative phase. I suppose it makes some people feel better. I have no idea how I would feel in the circumstances.

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

...guaranteed that he end his life behind bars, amounted to circumventing the abolition of the death penalty... ...concluded a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment for the 29-year-old.

I was taken by the same phrase as blfenton quoted. Do they not understand the difference between life behind bars and death?

I cannot say I agree with the second comment. What difference does it make if he was 29 years old, or 40. It isn't as if he was a 19 year old immature kid. He murdered six people, and it could easily have been 12 or more. I'm not eager to see him out again, ever. I don't think the victims and their families should have to worry about him ever getting released. The rest of their lives should not have to be spent making multiple appeals to the courts to try to prevent them from giving him parole every time he would come up for the chance. Yes, I care more about their suffering, than his.

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tryingtounderstand

More info re motive behind Bisonnette Earlier in the day, the court heard how Bissonnette spent hours in front of his computer screen looking up mass shootings, Islam and U.S. immigration policies in the days leading up to the shooting.

During the month of January 2017, he typed in the words "shooting" and "shooter" 150 times in his search engine, a police report presented as evidence shows.

Six men died in the attack on the Quebec Mosque. They are, clockwise from left, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Azzedine Soufiane, Abdelkrim Hassane, Ibrahima Barry, Aboubaker Thabti and Khaled Belkacemi. (CBC)He also looked for information about the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre and the Muslim students association at Laval University 82 times during that month and 12 times in the hours before shooting.

Bissonnette seemed particularly interested in Dylann Roof, a white supremacist who killed nine churchgoers inside a church in South Carolina, searching for references to the mass murderer 201 times during that month.

He also looked up references to Marc Lépine, the man convicted of killing 14 women in 1989 at the Polytechnique engineering school, and looked into feminist groups at Laval University.

A photo of Bissonnette found on his computer shows him wearing a red baseball cap with the slogan used by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, Make America Great Again.

Bissonnette read several articles detailing Trump's executive order which would have temporarily banned people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.

He also consulted Donald Trump's twitter feed on a daily basis, Jacques said.https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-city-mosque-shooting-bisonnette-sentencing-1.4621689

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Embothrium(Sunset Climate Zone 5, USDA Hardiness Zone 8)

Trump leads the nation forward!

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GOD

I can not blame the parents for wanting to believe that there son will be released some day, I simply can't.

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dandyfopp

I regret not shooting more people.

He should never get out.

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

We differ in that, GOD. I'd be among those advocating for not wanting them released. During discussions over time, my children have already been made aware that if they do something horrific, they cannot count on me being on their side. lol It probably comes from my having evil parents, so I feel no obligation to blindly support anyone simply due to blood relation. I would have helped anyone that wanted to put my father in prison.

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patriceny

I believe in and fully support rehabilitation for lower-level offenses.

Reasonable people can argue over what constitute a "lower-level" offense.

However anyone who can murder people in this fashion doesn't ever deserve to live free again.


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Becca Reese

patriciae_gw(07)

It
has to be a sort of watershed event in a culture when you go from
vengeance based criminal justice to rehabilitative criminal justice. Do
you want people to suffer or do you want them to do better? We learn
heavily towards suffering though we did go through a short
rehabilitative phase. I suppose it makes some people feel better. I
have no idea how I would feel in the circumstances.

I think first we should lean heavily towards justice. Justice for the victim(s). Rehabilitation should be for those whose crimes show lesser violence and low rates of recidivism. Suffering, deprivation and general unpleasantness is part of punishment.

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

At-risk youth should continue to be scared straight.


In this case, we could ponder on how many levels things went wrong, but his parents are making excuses and it must be very painful for the families of the victims to hear how the person that murdered their loved one was pushed around in the schoolyard.

The level of selfishness and lack of awareness on the part of the parents is stunning.


Frankly, 40 years is not justice in this case, and no person should be promised "a glimmer of hope" for rehabilitation when they premeditate taking the life of another or others.

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Is this murderer capable of being rehabilitated?

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chase_gw

In Canada life in prison means 25 years wth no chance of parole for a single murder. Multiple murders can have sequential terms imposed. 40 years is a relatively long sentence here. He won' t get out before then.

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josephene_gw

The parents are hurting today wonder how they will feel in 5-10 yrs when they see their son hasn’t changed.

of course they may still be in denial.


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artemis_ma

Too bad. I don't feel any sympathy for their son. For them, perhaps, having been deluded by him, but the son, no.

I am also glad Charles Manson was never released.

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