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Bangladeshi man sentenced to 40 years in jail for killing family members in Markham

  • Published at 07:44 am November 7th, 2020

He did not want to disappoint them by telling them he had dropped out of his engineering program

A Bangladeshi man who massacred family members in their Markham home in Canada was given four life sentences Friday by a Newmarket judge who set his parole ineligibility period at 40 years.

The convict was identified as Menhaz Zaman who apparently killed his family to prevent them from learning about his double life, that he had dropped out of his engineering program. 

The victims were his mother, Momotaz Begum, 50; his grandmother, Firoza Begum, 70; his sister Malesa Zaman, 21; and his father, Moniruz Zaman, 59, Canadian media say.

“It is difficult to imagine a more horrific way to take a human life than by slitting the victim’s throat. Zaman did so four separate times over a span of hours. It is entirely apt to refer to what occurred in that house as a slaughter,” Superior Court Justice Michelle Fuerst said Friday reading her reasons in sentencing Menhaz Zaman.

Zaman had no prior criminal record.

The judge ordered Zaman to serve four life sentences concurrently.  

For the second-degree murder of his mother, the judge imposed the 15-year parole ineligibility period, noting there were issues in determining if her murder was planned and deliberate.

For the first-degree murder convictions of his sister, father and grandmother, the judge imposed no parole eligibility for 25 years, each to be served concurrently.

Zaman showed no reaction as he listened to the judge from a video remand room at the Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario.

On September 24, the 24-year-old pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder for the July 2019 killings. Each of those murder convictions carries a mandatory life sentence. It was up to the judge to determine his parole eligibility.

Autopsies revealed he struck each victim on the head, likely with a crowbar, and cut their throats when they fell to the floor.

Zaman had been leading a double life for years. He had told his family he was attending an engineering program at York University and would graduate by the end of July 2019. 

In fact, he had dropped out of school due to failing grades and spent his days at the mall, gym, and gaming.

What actually happened

Zaman’s family life was deteriorating. With his sister going against their parents and living with a boyfriend Zaman was growing ever more withdrawn, though he was still the pride of his family. 

The weight of their expectations fell firmly on his shoulders.

During that time he had discovered Perfect World, a 3-D multiplayer role-playing game. Its players are fiendishly committed, and Menhaz made friends on Perfect World Void, a private gaming server where users from Israel, Belgium, and Tunisia gathered to play, banter and trade jokes. 

Menhaz was grateful, he told a fellow player once, that he had made friends on the forum he could talk to.

On July 28, 2019, Toronto police received a call from a man in Minnesota, who was one of the players of Perfect World.

He said he had received a text message from Zaman, who confessed to killing his family. He had also sent photos of four people with blood on their necks, a bloody knife next to one of them.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Zaman killed his mother first at 3pm on July 27, 2019, in the master bedroom and then his grandmother about an hour later, also in the master bedroom. 

He then sat around playing video games and napping while waiting for his father and sister to return from their jobs. He killed his sister around 11pm in the guest bedroom and then his father about an hour after that in his sister’s bedroom.

Zaman told his friend he killed them because he did not want them to feel the shame of having a son like him.

York Regional police officers made the grisly discovery and arrested Zaman at the house.

The judge cited a victim impact statement submitted by three of Zaman’s cousins and “the rest of the family,” who are traumatized, hurt, betrayed, and haunted.

It described their deceased relatives as a “loving, vibrant, and ambitious family.” 

Zaman’s parents, who came from Tangail in Bangladesh, endured hardships to build a new life in Canada.

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