WARNING: The details in this article and videos may be disturbing to some viewers
Nathaniel Veltman, 22, returned to testify Monday for a third day in his ongoing murder trial in Windsor, Ont.
Veltman has previously pleaded not guilty to four counts of terrorism-motivated first-degree murder and one count of terrorism-motivated attempted murder.
At the start of the trial, Veltman admitted in an agreed statement of facts he was driving the pickup truck that struck the Afzaal family in London on June 6, 2021, killing four people and seriously injuring a fifth person.
TRIP TO TORONTO
On the evening of June 5, 2021, Veltman told the jury he drove to Toronto.
“I was entertaining the thought to committing an attack there (Toronto) in the future,” Veltman said.
“Why there?” his lawyer, Christopher Hicks asked.
“I wasn’t positive, but I know there is a high Muslim population there,” Veltman replied.
He told the jury he drove to the city to plan an attack, and wore his bulletproof vest and tactical helmet “for comfort” and “for fun.”
Veltman said he didn’t know where he was in Toronto but told the jury his thoughts were scattered, and questioned why he was there and what he was doing.
“I came across a group of Muslims. I felt an urge to step on the gas,” Veltman testified. “I panicked. I looked at them and I never felt anything like that before, but I felt an urge to step on the gas.”
Veltman said he “didn’t feel good at all” about the thought of harming someone so he took the back roads and drove back to London as fast as he could.
IMPACT OF PSILOCYBIN
Throughout his testimony — which started on Oct. 12 — Veltman detailed his history of mental health issues, his home school upbringing by a strict religious mother, and his “period of decline” in 2020.
He told the jury he had a “terrifying” experience with psilocybin, commonly known as magic mushrooms, in September 2020.
Veltman said it “triggered a psychotic event” that he described as “agony,” and that the impact of the high lasted for weeks and impacted his ability to function.
After the death of his grandmother on June 4, 2021, Veltman testified he consumed magic mushrooms again in the early morning hours of June 5, 2021.
“I had taken as many as I possibly could,” he told the jury. “To escape this hell I was living in.”
At the time, Veltman admitted he was addicted to being online, sometimes for up to 10 hours, and consumed mostly far right extremist content that included mass shooter videos and reading manifestos written by mass shooters in Norway and New Zealand.
He called it an “out of control lifestyle.”
Veltman told the jury he would be “filled with rage” when he believed “Muslim on white crime” was going unreported in mainstream media.
“All of a sudden all these justifications (for why these crimes weren’t being reported) disappeared (after he consumed psilocyblin),” Veltman testified.
While he told the jury the thoughts made him panic, he also said he would go back online and, “All the ‘I have to do something’ thoughts came back stronger,” Veltman said.
“I was actually thinking about perpetuating an act of violence,” he said. “It was no longer just a thought. I cannot spend another night like this.”
RETURN TO LONDON
“I was feeling very sick and repulsed about what had happened in Toronto,” Veltman testified late Monday.
When he returned home in the early morning hours of June 6, 2021, Veltman told the jury he threw away garbage he had in his apartment including cardboard boxes and a wooden pallet.
He explained that his apartment was sparse because he had a habit of destroying his electronics in a futile effort to force himself to not go online. He also said it was in disarray because he did try to throw some things away before the incident.
JUNE 6, 2021
Veltman said he went to sleep at some point but didn’t sleep long because he had to get up to go to work at an egg processing facility in Strathroy, Ont.
He said he was more agitated than usual at work, specifically an “obsessive rage” over having to wear a mask.
“I told one of my co-workers that I had went to hell last night,” Veltman testified.
On his way home from work, Veltman said he saw a Muslim family on a street, identified by the clothing they were wearing.
“And the same thing that happened before in Toronto happened,” Veltman said. “I felt this lurch, this feeling of wanting to gag and this feeling of wanting to step on the gas.”
Veltman told the jury he felt “everything could just end” if he acted on his “violent urges” to avenge the “atrocities perpetuated by Muslims.”
He did not act in that moment, but rather went home and returned to his computer to consume more content online.
Veltman told the jury he took the t-shirt he was arrested in off the wall, “thinking about the possibility that if I came across people, what might happen.”
The jury has previously seen the white t-shirt had a black cross spray-painted on it.
He told the jury he had his “tactical gear” on and his “weapons bag” was in his truck as he drove around London.
”I didn’t know where I was at the time, but I know now where this incident happened,” Veltman testified. “I recall thinking I need to turn around and go back (home) then all of a sudden I came across the victims.”
Defence lawyer Christopher Hicks stopped his questions at this point and the trial was adjourned until Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.
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