Mosque killer Bissonnette sentenced to life with no parole for 40 years

QUEBEC -- The man who shot dead six worshippers in a Quebec City mosque in 2017 has been sentenced to serve 40 years in prison before being eligible for parole.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Francois Huot called Alexandre Bissonnette's attack gratuitous and insidious as he handed down the sentence today. Several people in the room wept as the judge read a detailed account of the shooter's actions.

Six Muslim men, aged between 39 and 60, were killed when Bissonnette stormed the mosque and opened fire on Jan. 29, 2017. Bissonnette pleaded guilty last March to six counts of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder.

The Crown had recommended that the 29-year-old Bissonnette serve six consecutive sentences totalling 150 years. The defence argued the sentences should be served concurrently, which would have made him eligible for parole after 25 years.

In a decision that took nearly six hours to read, Huot said a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

The longest prison sentence in Canada to date is 75 years without parole, which has been given to at least five triple killers since the law was changed in 2011 to allow consecutive sentences.

The judge begin his ruling by saying the day of the murders "will forever be written in blood in the history of this city, this province, this country."