This is part of my ongoing series on Canadian Mass Murders.
Update: September 24, 2020,pleaded guilty to:
- second-degree murder – for murdering his mother, Momotaz Begum
- first-degree murder – for the murder of his grandmother,
- first-degree murder – for the murder of his sister, Malesa Zaman
- first-degree murder – for the murder of his father Moniruz Zaman
He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 26, 2020.
A Bangladesh immigrant’s dream began in the late 1980s when Moniruz Zaman immigrated to Canada. Saman came here in search of a better life for himself, his future wife and their future children.
He married, had two children and worked hard to provide for his family.
A humble cab driver, Moniruz Zaman worked hard, saved every penny he could and eventually purchased the family home in Scarborough, as well as rental properties he used for extra income. Momotaz, his wife, managed the rental properties for the family.
Like all parents, the Zaman’s only wanted the best for their son. They urged him to train to become an engineer because a good education leads to a good job which leads to a good life.
This is the tireless work ethic that built Canada into a great nation.
Despite his parents’ best efforts to give their son all the benefits they never had, Menhaz Zaman turned on them out of a twisted sense of personal shame over his long history of failure.
This hard-working immigrant family’s Canadian dream ended in a nightmare when their son, Menhaz Zaman, murdered his entire family.
“For three years Ive (sic) been telling my parents i go to uni[versity], when actually I was just hanging out at the mall four days a week. I don’t want my parents to feel the shame of having a son like me,” said a screenshot sent to a fellow ‘Perfect World Void’ gamer.
Shortly before the day he slaughtered his entire family, Menhaz Zaman turned away from his father’s Muslim faith “because of terrorism and immoral acts in the name of religion.”
Why he blamed his family for the atrocious acts of others is unclear.
First Comes Threat, Then Comes Murder
On March 9, 2019, “Menhaz” sent a private message to another ‘Perfect World Void’ gamer, saying, “Going to kill my parents and go to jail yo. … gonna miss u,” according to screenshots seen by numerous news outlets.
On July 28, 2019, 23-year-old Menhaz Zaman carried out his threat, killing Moniruz Zaman, his father, his mother Momataz Zaman, sister Malesa, and his grandmother inside their Markham, Ontario, home.
“I killed mom and granny so far, waiting for sister in 5 minutes and dad in 1 hour,” he typed into a chat window on Discord. A few minutes later, Malesa walked through the front door, and Menhaz allegedly struck her over the head with the crowbar, leaving her to bleed out on the floor. She was still wearing her nametag, pinned to her kelly-green grocery store polo shirt.
“First mom then granny then sister and lastly dad,” he wrote. “I was shaking the entire day and now dad killed I stopped shaking.”
“Literally told my parents my uni[versity] graduation was July 28th,” the messages read. “I couldn’t have delayed it any longer.”
Yet another screenshot said, “I know it sounds confusing but what’s done is done and what had been planned has been concluded.”
At 3pm that same day, York Regional Police arrested 23-year-old Menhaz Zaman on the front steps of the family home and charged him with four counts of first-degree murder.
“We are not looking for any further suspects in this case at this time,” said Const. Andy Pattenden, spokesperson for York Regional Police. “We do believe that the man we have in custody that has now been charged is responsible for these murders.”
Menhaz Zaman remains in custody awaiting trial.
If you’re interested in learning more about the immigrant family destroyed by their own son, Toronto Life wrote a compelling story of a family disintegrating while still trying to achieve their goals for the future and their dreams for their children.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
Menhaz knew he’d never be able to tell his parents he’d dropped out of school. They’d never forgive him. He’d need to find another way to get out of his mess. Soon, he was fantasizing about killing his parents. He spent three years planning how to do it.
Menhaz was a dutiful kid, with a boyish, bespectacled face. He was his parents’ favourite, and his mother doted on him.
According to friends, he was almost always at home: his mother picked him up every day for lunch, and she would often leave social gatherings early if she knew he was home and thought he might be hungry.
When he wasn’t bringing his mother’s groceries in from the car or shovelling the driveway or going to mosque on Fridays with his father, he was tucked away in his bedroom on his laptop.
Around strangers, Menhaz was desperately shy; when he spoke it was softly, stuttering, eyes cast toward his shoes.
At school, he kept to himself. He was a decent student, enrolled in the physics, chemistry and math classes that would get him into an engineering program, like his father wanted.
“It wasn’t clear if he liked school,” said one classmate who worked on an assignment with him in Grade 11 physics. “But he always came to class, and he always paid attention.”
He didn’t initiate conversations or raise his hand. He didn’t date or go to parties. He kept his inner life hidden away, not a flicker of sadness or anger detectable in his steadfast life.
“He was just an average Markham kid,” one of his high school friends told me. “He did well in school, went home and played video games. I know hundreds of kids in Markham who are just like that.”
When Menhaz was accepted to York University’s mechanical engineering program, his parents were thrilled.
“He always seemed like the family’s golden child,” one neighbour said.