Nathaniel Veltman’s Trial Begins: Digital Footprints Uncover Grim Motives Behind Afzaal Family Tragedy

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Accused of terrorism-linked first-degree murder, twenty-two-year-old Nathaniel Veltman stands before the court. The charges? The gruesome assault on a Muslim family, resulting in the demise of four family members and severe injuries to a fifth.

On that fateful evening of June 6, 2021, in London, Ontario, the Afzaal family members were awaiting their turn to cross the street. A pickup truck, mercilessly wielded by Veltman, crashed into the unsuspecting Afzaals. Talat, Salman, Madiha, and Yumnah Afzaal lost their lives that night, while their nine years old son miraculously survived his injuries.

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Sgt. Liyu Guan, a digital forensic examiner from the Windsor Police Service, took the stand Wednesday, slowly unfurling the digital puzzle of the criminal mind. Tasked with investigating five electronic devices discovered in Veltman’s apartment — a cellphone, laptop, external hard drive, and two flash drives — Sgt. Guan came across a smouldering trail of disturbing evidence.

On one of the trovables, a document titled “A White Awakening” surfaced, a window into Veltman’s ideology. In a consensual admittance, the defense conceded that Nathaniel Veltman composed the document. Document excerpts were read aloud by federal prosecutor Sarah Shaikh in court.

“I am human and prone to error,” writes Veltman in the document, outlining his political views. Glimpses into his mind reveal his aversion to “mass immigration” and multiculturalism. Despite lacking any tangible evidence, Veltman ruminates about “Muslim on white” crime. He further agitates for radical transformation, envisioning a society exclusive to white citizens, free from anxiety drugs and “cancel culture.”

Amid the unfolding turmoil, Justice Renee Pomerance addressed the jury, reminding them to abstain from emotional prejudice. She urged the jury to separate the defendant’s offensive ideologies from their evaluation of his actions. Instead, she emphasized that their decision must be driven solely by Veltman’s actions, not his convictions. Regardless of the temptation to make racism the cornerstone of their decision, Justice Pomerance reminded the jury that their duty lay in the objective evaluation of the crime based on the incontestable facts presented.