Warning: This story contains distressing details.
Over 12 hours after a Muslim family was struck by a truck while on a walk in London, Ont., on June 6, 2021, the accused killer sat shivering in a police interrogation room, telling a detective he didn't have strong connections with anyone in his life and felt he didn't have much to lose.
The murder-terror trial of Nathaniel Veltman, 22, in Ontario Superior Court in Windsor is now in its second week. On Monday, the jury watched a police video of the accused speaking to London police Det. Micah Bourdeau the morning after the attack.
Bourdeau, in the witness box Monday as the video was playing, will be cross-examined by the defence in the afternoon.
In the video footage, the accused says, "I would say I didn't feel like I had much to lose at all. If I did, I wouldn't have done it because there would have been someone else, but I didn't have much to lose."
The accused spent a lot of time on the internet, doing "research" about what he called media dishonesty and the role of Western governments in covering up crimes committed by minorities against white people. Even online, he said, he didn't interact with people who shared his views because he was worried about being put on a government watch list.
"I was very paranoid about the feds," he told the detective.
Yumnah Afzaal, 15, her parents, Madiha Salman, 44, and Salman Afzaal, 46, and family matriarch Talat Afzaal, 74, were killed. A boy who was nine years old at the time survived.
Veltman has pleaded not guilty to four charges of first-degree murder, one charge of attempted murder and related terror counts.
Prosecutors allege the Afzaal family members were targeted because they were wearing traditional Pakistani clothing and were Muslim.
The one friend the accused had, he confirmed to Bourdeau, was Muslim. That baffled the detective, who said he was confused how the accused could be friends with someone who is Muslim and also set out to kill people who follow Islam.
T-shirt taken as evidence
"He's secular," the accused explained about his friend. "And I doubt he wants anything to do with me now, but yeah, he's probably the closest friend I've ever had. He technically comes from a Muslim family but he's not really Muslim."
In an interview earlier in the night that was played for the jury last week, the accused appears confident and happy to talk about his motivations for killing the family, including revenge and to send a warning to others who practise Islam.
By the second interview, at around 10 a.m. June 7, he's cold and is sitting hunched over, often hugging himself. He tells the officer, "I feel like I'm having a dream.
"Look, I didn't want to do this — I just felt like I had to," he tells Bourdeau. "This was very, very, very distasteful, but I just felt like it was the only way I could send the message I had to send. I felt like I had no other option."
Eventually, his T-shift, which is white and spray painted with a large black cross, is taken as evidence. The accused told the detective the shirt is a joke, meant to look like a "crusader shirt."
He also told Bourdeau he made a point to flash the "OK" sign with his hand when he was arrested, a benign symbol that in some circles has come to symbolize white power.
"It was a successful troll," he explained. "The stupid liberals call everything racist all day every day, and people thought, 'I bet we can make them think the OK symbol is racist,' and it worked."
He noted he doesn't use the term white power because he doesn't want to "enslave the blacks," but rather, he wants "ethnic autonomy" and to "not give over everything to minorities."
The trial was moved to Windsor long before the trial started. The reasons for the relocation are under a publication ban.