NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A man who left a trail of chaos during a stabbing rampage in and around a North Vancouver library two years ago admitted his guilt Monday to killing one woman and hurting six other people.
Yannick Bandaogo, 30, pleaded guilty in a New Westminster, B.C., court to second-degree murder, five counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated assault for the attacks in March 2021.
His 10-week trial was expected to begin Monday, and Bandaogo's next court appearance will be for a sentencing hearing before Justice Geoffrey Gaul on July 5.
Bandaogo said little during the hearing, but told the judge he understood the consequences of pleading guilty and giving up his right to a trial.
An agreed statement of facts read in court in French described a scene of chaos on the day of the attacks, as Bandaogo suddenly and without warning walked up to one victim and stabbed her 12 times, killing her before moving on to others in the Lynn Valley Library.
A court-ordered publication ban has been placed on the name of the woman who was killed.
The statement said the first stabbing set off an immediate response from bystander Sheloah Klausen, who attempted to stop the attack by hitting Bandaogo with an umbrella.
Bandaogo attacked Klausen and injured her head and hands before another bystander tried to stop the attack, also getting stabbed in the process.
After several other attacks in the library, Bandaogo stabbed another victim near a restaurant and kept moving down the street before he was arrested by police.
Bandaogo was treated in hospital for what police said at the time of the attack were self-inflicted wounds.
Six people, ranging in age from 22 to 78, were injured in the attack.
The statement confirms that the attacker did not know any of his victims before the stabbings.
It did not provide a motive for the attacks.
Defence lawyer Georges Rivard said his client "has accepted his responsibility" for the attacks by pleading guilty after processing all the information made available to him before Monday's court appearance.
Rivard declined to speculate on Bandaogo's rationale for the attacks, saying more information on the details of the case, such as possible victim impact statements, will be presented to court during the sentencing process.
"These types of trials are very fluid … and Mr. Bandaogo waited for all the information to be present at that time in order to make the right decision," Rivard said, referring to why his client decided to enter guilty pleas after more than a year of hearings over securing French-language court dates.
Rivard said that, given Bandaogo's offence, he is likely facing life in prison and sentencing will only focus on the parole eligibility aspect.
Crown counsel Daniel Loucks said the guilty plea will help those who were affected by the stabbing from possibly being further traumatized through a trial.
"I would expect that it's a tremendous relief for a lot of the people involved, the victims and the community, to have this result rather than having to go through what would feel like tremendous uncertainty and anxiety of a lengthy trial," Loucks said.
Bandaogo, who was originally from Quebec, made his plea in French.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2023.
Chuck Chiang, The Canadian Press