Thu, Dec 25, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Canada dismemberment killer gets life in prison

AP, TORONTO

A handout image shows Luka Magnotta, center, escorted down the steps of a plane at Mirabel Airport in Montreal, Quebec, on June 18, 2012.

Photo: EPA

A Canadian man was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for killing and dismembering his Chinese lover, and mailing the body parts to schools and political parties across a horrified country.

Luka Magnotta, a former porn actor, was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in the 2012 slaying of Lin Jun (林俊), 33, after eight days of deliberations. The conviction carried a mandatory life sentence, with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

“He wanted to be judged by a jury of his peers,” Magnotta’s lawyer, Luc Leclair, said on his client’s behalf. “He accepts the verdict. For quite some time he has been preparing for the verdict with his father, some friends and his therapist. He has been focusing on rebuilding his life.”

Leclair said Magnotta would take some time to examine the merits of an appeal. He has 30 days to file.

Magnotta was also convicted on four related charges and given the maximum sentences allowed under Canada’s Criminal Code, ranging from two to 10 years, for each of those charges.

Magnotta, 32, had pleaded not guilty. While he admitted to the slaying, he sought to be found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity, but did not testify during the trial. His lawyer argued that he is schizophrenic and could not tell right from wrong at the time of the slaying.

The prosecution countered that the crime was both planned and deliberate.

“I thought we had good evidence of premeditation,” prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said outside the Montreal court house. “There was never a doubt the jury would find Magnotta guilty of first-degree murder.”

A key piece of evidence for the prosecution was an e-mail Magnotta sent to a British reporter about his macabre plan six months before the murder.

Reporter Alex West confronted Magnotta in London in December 2011 about cat killing videos he made that had created a stir online. Magnotta replied that cats were just the beginning.

“Next time you hear from me it will be in a movie I am producing, that will have some humans in it...” Magnotta wrote in the e-mail sent on Dec. 10, 2011.

“Once you kill, and taste blood, its impossible to stop. The urge is just too strong not to continue,” he wrote.

After the verdicts, a lawyer read out an impact statement on behalf of Lin’s father, Lin Diran (林迪然), who traveled to Montreal from China and 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,” Lin Diran said in a statement read by lawyer Daniel Urbas. “I had come to see remorse, to hear some form of apology, and I leave without anything.”

The case gained international notoriety when body parts arrived at offices of Canada’s biggest political parties and a video appeared online that prosecutors say shows Magnotta stabbing and having sex with the dismembered corpse.

Lin Jun’s torso was found in a suitcase at a garbage dump outside Magnotta’s apartment building in Montreal. About a week later, the missing foot and hand were found, mailed to two schools in Vancouver. Magnotta was later arrested in Berlin after an international manhunt.

Lin Jun had been living in Canada since 2011, realizing a long-standing dream by traveling to Montreal.

His family has said he had a comfortable life working at Microsoft’s Beijing office, but had sought a move to Canada to study and improve himself.

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