Alleged New Zealand Mosque Killer Pleads Not Guilty

The dome of a mosque

The man accused of killing over 50 Muslims in an attack that sent shockwaves across the globe is pleading not guilty, reports The New York Times. In a brief court appearance on Friday morning, the Australian native submitted the plea through an audiovisual link from Auckland Prison, the city’s only maximum security jail.

Brenton Tarrant is alleged to have killed 51 people and injured several more in a murder spree that targeted two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. By pleading not guilty, the accused is dragging families of the victims, as well as the surviving victims themselves, into a lengthy and emotionally charged trial.

When Tarrant filed his not guilty plea, the NYT reported that there was an “audible intake of breath” from the courtroom, where 80 seats were filled with survivors of the horrific attack, as well as their families.

A majority of the hearing was a discussion among the judge, prosecutors, and Tarrant’s counsel, which “cannot be reported for legal reasons.”

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