Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

AdChoices
This file image provided by Interpol shows an undated photo of Luka Rocco Magnotta. A jury has found Magnotta guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin. (The Canadian Press)
This file image provided by Interpol shows an undated photo of Luka Rocco Magnotta. A jury has found Magnotta guilty of first-degree murder in the slaying of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin. (The Canadian Press)

Luka Magnotta given life imprisonment for first-degree murder Add to ...

Read Jun Lin's father's impact statement here.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

Luka Rocco Magnotta stood impassively and kept his eyes trained downward as juror No. 9 rose and, in a loud, clear voice, uttered the word “guilty” five times, including one for first-degree murder in the killing and dismemberment of Jun Lin.

After eight days of deliberations, Tuesday’s verdicts were a quick and sudden end to a saga that began in 2012 with a horrific crime captured in part on video and published on the Internet.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer sentenced Mr. Magnotta to life imprisonment on the murder charge, with no chance of applying for parole for 25 years.

On the four other charges, the native of the Toronto suburb of Scarborough was given the maximum terms allowed under the Criminal Code, ranging from two to 10 years. The sentences are concurrent.

The verdicts came with little fanfare. After days of silence from the jurors, Judge Cournoyer merely told the court they were ready. Within minutes, Mr. Magnotta learned his fate.

The verdicts sent a message that the jurors clearly did not accept the mental disorder defence put forward during the three-month trial.

Mr. Magnotta’s lawyer, Luc Leclair, told reporters his client was “disappointed” but “relieved” and had been preparing himself for the day of the verdicts.

“He came here to face the jury, to put his life in the jury’s hands,” said Mr. Leclair, who continued to argue Mr. Magnotta is schizophrenic. “This is the verdict, so he accepts it.”

Inevitably, the Toronto-based defence attorney was asked whether he will appeal. “Mr. Magnotta will take the time to look at the merits of an appeal, the grounds of appeal,” the lawyer said. “There are some. But today is not the time to address this question. It has been a long and challenging road and I need some rest.”

The Crown had sought the maximum sentences on each charge, while Mr. Leclair elected to leave it to the judge’s discretion.

Mr. Magnotta, 32, did not testify at the trial, and said just three words when Judge Cournoyer asked him before the sentences were read out whether he had anything to say.

“No, your Honour,” was the reply.

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said he was expecting the five guilty verdicts. “I thought we had good evidence of premeditation and the fact that the crime was planned and deliberate.”

The prosecutor lauded the work of the jurors, who began hearing the case in late September, with the verdicts being read out at 11:14 a.m. on their eighth day of deliberations.

“Obviously, they had to work with difficult, very difficult legal issues,” Mr. Bouthillier said. “I want to salute the work of the jury. Individually, the 12 jurors were really magnificent and they did an outstanding job.”

After the verdicts, a lawyer read out an impact statement on behalf of Mr. Lin’s father, Diran Lin, who watched proceedings throughout the trial from a private room in the courthouse.

“I had come to see your trial system to see justice done and I leave satisfied that you have not let my son down,” Daniel Urbas read. “I had come to learn what happened to my son that night and I leave without a true or a complete answer. I had come to see remorse, to hear some form of apology, and I leave without anything.”

The other charges Mr. Magnotta was convicted of were criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.

Mr. Magnotta was seeking to be found not criminally responsible in the May, 2012, slaying by way of mental disorder, with experts testifying he was in a psychotic state the night of the killing and could not tell right from wrong.

The Crown countered the crime was planned and deliberate and that Mr. Magnotta’s behaviour and actions went against someone supposedly suffering from a disease of the mind.

As Mr. Magnotta had admitted to the physical acts, the jury’s task was to determine his state of mind at the time.

The criminal case captured headlines worldwide in 2012 when the little-known porn actor and escort with an enormous Internet footprint became a household name after being linked to the horrific crime posted online.

The jury heard testimony about the gruesome details of Mr. Lin’s death and that many of Mr. Magnotta’s actions were caught on surveillance video or in images taken by the accused himself. They also heard about his upbringing and delved into medical files that showed he was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2001.

About half of the 40 days of testimony were dedicated to forensic psychiatrists who presented duelling versions of whether Mr. Magnotta was of sound mind during the crimes. The key piece of evidence for the Crown was an e-mail that indicated Mr. Magnotta’s macabre plan was telegraphed about six months earlier.

A British reporter, Alex West, confronted Mr. Magnotta in London in December, 2011, about cat-killing videos that had created a stir online. The accused denied being the author before saying in an e-mail to Mr. West two days later that cats were just the beginning and that his next movie would include a human subject.

The Crown said the plan was set in motion in mid-May with the filming of a mystery Colombian man, asleep and naked on Mr. Magnotta’s bed while he straddled him with an electric saw in his hand. Fifty-three seconds of that footage found its way into the One Lunatic, One Ice Pick video that shows Mr. Lin’s dismemberment. The mystery man, drowsy but unharmed, left Mr. Magnotta’s apartment the next day with the help of the accused.

According to Mr. Magnotta, he met Mr. Lin through a Craigslist advertisement seeking a partner for bondage. The evidence suggested Mr. Lin was drugged and his throat slit. The murder itself was not in the video.

In about 48 hours after the slaying, Mr. Magnotta cut Mr. Lin’s body into 10 pieces, mailing the hands and feet to political offices in Ottawa and primary schools in Vancouver. He also bought a plane ticket for Paris online.

When police put out a warrant for his arrest, Mr. Magnotta emptied his bank accounts and fled to Berlin. He was arrested in an Internet café in the German city on June 4, 2012.

The body parts were recovered in the trash outside Mr. Magnotta’s apartment and the four locations they were mailed. Mr. Lin’s skull was found in a west-end Montreal park on July 1, 2012, after a Toronto lawyer mailed directions to the body.

Mr. Magnotta told psychiatrists he became convinced Mr. Lin was a government agent sent to kill him and that voices in his head told him to commit the murder.

Mr. Leclair told the jury to dismiss the experts and to put themselves in the mind of someone with schizophrenia. He told them to consult Mr. Magnotta’s medical records, which included the 2001 schizophrenia diagnosis.

Crown experts countered that his schizophrenia diagnosis was erroneous and that he actually had personality disorders, which are not mental illness.

Mr. Lin, 33, was born in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. He had been living in Canada since 2011, realizing a long-standing dream by coming to Montreal. At the time of his death, Mr. Lin was an engineering student at Concordia University and worked as a part-time convenience store clerk.

Mr. Lin’s father said Mr. Magnotta’s fate – years to reflect on his crimes behind bars – is not unlike the future he, Jun Lin’s mother and his younger sister face.

“It causes me fresh pain to know that my son’s legacy is to be remembered as a victim,” he said in the victim impact statement. “He not only suffered in his murder but will be humiliated for each time his name is mentioned and it hurts me deeply and will hurt me forever.”

Report Typo/Error

Next story

loading

In the know

The Globe Recommends

loading

Most popular videos »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular