An Ontario judge sentenced a man to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 10 years for the incel-inspired murder of a Toronto massage parlor employee, Ashley Noelle Arzaga. The assailant, who was 17 years old at the time of the attack in February 2020, was sentenced as an adult despite his youth status, with Justice Sukhail Akhtar stating that a youth sentence would be “insufficient” for such a grave crime.
The brutal attack, which involved the use of a sword, resulted in the death of 24-year-old Arzaga and severe injuries to another woman identified as J.C. Justice Akhtar noted that the murder was fueled by a violent, misogynistic ideology known as “incel” or “involuntary celibate.” The judge emphasized that the perpetrator actively sought out and embraced this extremist belief, leading to his horrific actions.
Alongside the life sentence for murder, the man received a concurrent three-year sentence for the attempted murder of J.C. He had previously pleaded guilty to both charges. This case marks a significant moment in Canadian legal history, being the first instance where an attack was officially recognized as incel-motivated terrorist activity.
Prosecutors argued for an adult sentencing, highlighting the meticulous planning and deliberate actions of the attacker, indicative of adult reasoning and a lack of remorse. In contrast, the defense sought a sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which would limit imprisonment to 10 years.
Last month, the now 20-year-old convict expressed remorse, stating a change in perspective and a renunciation of his previous hatred towards women. The court heard how he planned a violent assault on women with a 17-inch sword, a plan thwarted when J.C. courageously disarmed and incapacitated him.
In victim impact statements, Arzaga’s siblings urged the court to consider the safety of other women and their family in its sentencing decision, highlighting the profound loss and ongoing fear stemming from this tragic incident.