The self-proclaimed white supremacist accused of massacring 51 worshipers at two New Zealand mosques while video streaming the March attack pleaded not guilty Thursday to all charges against him.
Wearing a gray sweatshirt Brenton Tarrant smirked as his lawyer entered not guilty pleas to the 51 charges of murder, 40 charges of attempted murder and one terrorism charge at the Christchurch High Court in relation to the March 15 shooting rampage.
The 28-year-old Australian appeared via a muted video link from the maximum security prison in Auckland where he is being held, and didn’t attempt to speak.
About 80 survivors and relatives of those killed packed into the courthouse gallery for a glimpse of Tarrant.
The court heard that Tarrant had undergone a mental assessment and deemed fit to stand trial.
Prior to the killings, which were livestreamed on Facebook, Tarrant posted a far-right screed online which laid out his desire to “incite violence” against Muslim people.
Judge Cameron Mander scheduled a trial date of May 4, 2020. Tarrant’s lawyer Shane Tait said it is expected to last six-weeks.
Tarrant faces a maximum of life in prison for the terror charge alone.