Alexandre Bissonnette, a suspect in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, February 21, 2017. Some of the children and widows of six murdered men began taking seats in the front row of the courtroom on Friday, after passing through extensive security screening like all those attending proceedings.
He also pleaded guilty to six counts of attempted murder, including one count for the 35 people who were present in the mosque at the time of the shooting but who were not injured.
Some experts say it highlights the ongoing legal debate over consecutive life sentences in Canada.
Bissonnette pled guilty in March 2018 to six counts of first-degree murder and six counts of attempted murder.
In a decision that took almost six hours to read, Huot said a sentence of 50 years or more would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
The killer's "highly premeditated" attack would be "written in blood" in Canadian history as one of the country's worst tragedies, Huot said in court.
The Crown said it will take the time to study the 246-page decision before deciding whether to appeal.
Several people in the room wept as the judge read a second-by-second account of the shooter's actions on the night of the crime.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 29, will be eligible for parole in 40 years.
"I hope that justice will be served and the sentence will reflect the crime that was committed", said Huot, La Presse Canadienne reported. Even if the judge decides the sentences should be served concurrently, it does not necessarily mean Bissonnette would walk out of prison after 25 years.
A university student at the time of the shooting, Bissonnette was seduced by nationalist and supremacist ideologies into committing this "unjustified and deadly" massacre, Huot said.
The longest sentence to date in Canada is 75 years without parole.
Bissonnette also told a psychiatrist that he regretted not killing more people. "I am not a terrorist, I am not an Islamophobe".
In this judgement, Huot modified the 2011 consecutive sentencing law to give himself the discretion to deliver consecutive life sentences that are not in blocks of 25 years.
"No matter the outcome of today's decision, nothing can diminish the incredible support & solidarity felt by many Canadian Muslims in the wake of the attack, and during the past 2 years", the group said on Twitter.