Alleged New Zealand mosque shooter pleads not guilty

The Australian man accused of killing 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand earlier this year has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Brenton Tarrant, 28, appeared via video link from a maximum security prison for Friday’s hearing at the Christchurch High Court in Christchurch, New Zealand. He’s facing 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one terrorism charge in connection to the March 15 massacre, to which his attorney entered not guilty pleas.

The courtroom was packed with dozens of survivors and family members of those who were killed. No cameras were allowed.

Worshipers were gunned down inside the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch and then at a nearby mosque in the suburb of Linwood. It was the deadliest terror attack in the nation’s history.

Much of the attack was broadcast live on Facebook.

New Zealand police say Tarrant, a suspected white supremacist, wrote a rambling manifesto before the shootings and emailed it to dozens of recipients, including the prime minister’s office.

Six days later, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons, such as the ones used in the March 15 shootings. Ardern has vowed never to say Tarrant’s name.

Tarrant will go to trial on May 4. He will remain in custody in Auckland, New Zealand, until his next hearing on Aug. 16.

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