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Luka Magnotta

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Luka Rocco Magnotta (born Eric Clinton Kirk Newman, July 24, 1982) is a Canadian pornographic actor and model accused of killing and dismembering Lin Jun, a Chinese international student,[1][2] then mailing his severed limbs to the offices of Canadian political parties[3][4] and to elementary schools in another province.[5][6]

After a video allegedly depicting the murder was posted online,[7][8] Magnotta fled the country, becoming the subject of an Interpol Red Notice[3][9] and prompting an international manhunt. He was apprehended on June 4, 2012, in an Internet café in Berlin while reading news stories about himself.[3][10]

He was previously sought by animal rights groups for allegedly making videos of himself torturing kittens and posting them online.[11][12]

History

Luka Magnotta was born in Scarborough, Ontario. He was raised in Lindsay, Ontario, by his grandparents and attended I. E. Weldon Secondary School.[13] He legally changed his name to Luka Rocco Magnotta on August 12, 2006.[14]

In 2003, Magnotta began to appear in gay pornographic videos,[1][15] occasionally working as a stripper and a male escort.[16][17] Despite being described both by himself and by the media as a porn star, his career in porn appears to have been relatively brief.[18] He also appeared as a pin-up model in a 2005 issue of Toronto's fab magazine, using the pseudonym "Jimmy".[16] In 2007, he was an unsuccessful competitor in OUTtv's reality series COVERguy;[16] while he made only a single appearance on the show and was not selected by the judges to continue in the competition, in his own later writings he often claimed to have been a finalist who left the show due to disagreements with the producers.[18]

Magnotta had multiple plastic surgeries and was never satisfied with his appearance.[19]

In 2005, Magnotta was convicted on three counts of fraud against Sears Canada, The Brick, and 2001 Audio Video after impersonating a woman to purchase $16,900 of goods on a stolen credit card,[18] and received a nine-month conditional sentence with 12 months of probation.[20] In 2007, Magnotta declared bankruptcy, which was fully discharged in December 2007.[21]

News stories emerged in 2007 claiming that he was in a relationship with Karla Homolka, a high-profile Canadian murderer,[22] although Magnotta denied in an interview with the Toronto Sun that he had ever even met her.[23][24] During the murder investigation, Montreal police initially announced that the pair had dated,[25] but subsequently retracted the statement and acknowledged that they had no new evidence to corroborate the claim.[26]

Magnotta, or someone connected to him, appears to have maintained an extensive network of profiles on various internet social media and discussion forums, which were used over a period of several years to plant false or unverified news stories depicting him as a celebrity with a large and loyal fan following.[27] These accounts have been credited by the National Post as a possible source of the Homolka claims,[27] as well as false claims that Magnotta spent some time living in Los Angeles as a roommate of Timothy Boham, an adult film actor who was himself convicted of murder in 2009.[27] In addition, these profiles were also responsible for the embellished claims about Magnotta's prominence as a model and porn actor, and also posted numerous other "celebrity gossip" items and opinion pieces on political and social topics.[27] By March 2012, more than two months before Lin's murder, these online personas were already associating Magnotta's name with both necrophilia and serial killing.[27]

In the past, Magnotta had responded to criticisms of him on his personal website, saying that "many hoax websites are created using my image and name, posing as me to seem more believable in respect to the type of audience these websites have."[28]

According to police, Magnotta set up at least 70 Facebook pages under different names,[29] and they can be used as evidence against him in court.[29] A Facebook page titled "Find Serial Killer Luka Magnotta" was created on May 24, presumably by Magnotta himself.[30] Police are investigating three additional videos he may have filmed in Europe while on the run, including one in which he simply says "What's up and hi to all my fans" while Madonna's 1987 song "La Isla Bonita" plays in the background.[31][32][33]

Murder of Lin Jun

Template:Split section Lin Jun (Template:Zh) (30 December 1978 – May 2012)[34][35] also known as Justin Lin,[2][36] was an international student from Wuhan and an undergraduate in the engineering and computer science faculty at Concordia University.[2][37] He worked part-time as a convenience store clerk at Pointe-Saint-Charles.[36][38] Lin had been studying in Montreal since July 2011.[2][17] Lin moved into a Griffintown-area apartment with a roommate on May 1.[2] He was last seen on May 24, 2012,[2][17][39] and reported missing by a friend on May 29.[2][39]

At 11 AM on May 29, 2012,[40] a package containing a left foot[41] was delivered to the national headquarters of the Conservative Party of Canada, which made headlines around the world.[1] The package, which was opened by Jenni Byrne, director of political operations for the party, was stained with blood and had a foul smell. It was marked with a red heart symbol.[42] At 9 PM the same day, a package containing a left hand[41] was discovered by the Ottawa Police in a Canada Post processing facility, addressed to the Liberal Party, and a decomposing torso was found in a locked brown suitcase[42] by janitor Mike Nadeau,[43][44] left in a garbage pile in the alley behind an apartment building in the Snowdon area of Montreal.[45][46]

Nadeau first saw the suitcase on the 25th, but it was not picked up due to the large amount of garbage that day.[42][44] After an 18-hour search of the scene, human remains, bloody clothes, different papers identifying the suspect, as well as "sharp and blunt objects" were found in the back alley.[45][47] Footage from surveillance cameras inside the building showed a suspect bringing numerous garbage bags outside and the images matched a suspect captured on video at the post office in Côte-des-Neiges.[45][48]

At 11:33 PM, police searched apartment 208, which the suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta was renting.[45][42] He moved in four months prior[49] and his rent was paid up to June 1.[43] Blood was found on different items including the mattress, the refrigerator, the table, and the bathtub.[45][50][42][51] The apartment had been mostly emptied before he left.[50][52] The phrase "If you don't like the reflection. Don't look in the mirror. I don't care." was written in red ink on the inside of a closet.[53][43][50][52]

On May 25, 2012[39] an 11-minute video, known as 1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick,[54][55] was posted on Bestgore.com depicting a naked male tied to a bed frame inside a dimly lit room[49] being repeatedly stabbed with an ice pick and a kitchen knife, then dismembered, followed by acts of necrophilia.[7][56] During the video, the 1987 New Order song "True Faith" plays in the background,[3][17] and a poster for the 1942 film "Casablanca" is visible on the wall.[43][49] Canadian authorities were able to obtain a "more extensive" version of the video, and subsequently provided conflicting statements as to whether acts of cannibalism had been performed.[41][57]

On May 26, an attorney living in the US State of Montana attempted to report the video and its contents to Toronto Police, his local Sheriff's department, and the FBI, but the report was initially dismissed by officials.[58][59] After reviewing the recording of the call, Toronto Police denied being offered a link in their conversation.[60] Bestgore viewers also attempted to report the video, however their reports were also dismissed as not credible.[61] Police later confirmed the video as authentic[62] and "have all the reasons to believe" that the victim, an Asian male,[45] is the same one whose body parts were sent to Ottawa.[17][42]

On May 30, 2012, it was confirmed that the body parts belonged to the same individual, later identified as Lin Jun.[2][37] The suspect in the case was quickly identified as Magnotta, who had by then fled. A warrant was issued by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) for his arrest, later upgraded to a Canada-wide warrant by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), launching a national manhunt.[63]

A note was found with the package sent to the Conservative Party headquarters, stating that a total of six body parts have been distributed and that the perpetrator would kill again.[32][64] Notes were also included in the other three recovered packages, but police declined to disclose their contents, citing "concerns about possible copycats".[30][41]

On June 5, 2012, a package containing a right foot was delivered to St. George's School and another package containing a right hand to False Creek Elementary School in Vancouver.[65] Both schools opened as normal the following morning.[30] Montreal police took over the investigation after it was confirmed that both packages were sent from Montreal.[66][67] Magnotta previously stayed in Vancouver for an unspecified period of time and a condo was rented under one of his aliases.[15][30] Bankruptcy records show that Magnotta owed $10,000 to a car leasing company in Burnaby, BC.[15][68]

On June 13, all of the recovered body parts were matched to Lin Jun using DNA samples from his family.[5][6] As of June 21, police have not reported finding Lin Jun's head.[69][70]

Search and arrest

A Canada-wide arrest warrant for Magnotta was issued, accusing him of the following crimes:[71][72]

  1. First degree murder;
  2. Committing an indignity to a dead body;
  3. Publishing obscene material;
  4. Mailing "obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous" material; and
  5. Criminally harassing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and several (unnamed) members of Parliament.

On May 31, 2012, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Magnotta at the request of Canadian authorities, and for several days before and after his arrest his name and photo were displayed prominently at the top of the homepage of the Interpol website. The Red Notice requested that Magnotta be provisionally arrested pending extradition back to Canada by any Interpol member state.[9]

On May 26, Magnotta flew from Montreal to Paris. His cell phone signal was traced to a hotel in Bagnolet, but he had left by the time police arrived.[10][73] Pornographic magazines and an air-sickness bag were found in the hotel room.[10][73] He had contacts in Paris from a previous visit in 2010, and police were following large-framed man who had been in contact with Magnotta.[57][73] Another man he stayed with for two nights did not realize who he was until he had left.[57][73] Magnotta then boarded a Eurolines bus at the Bagnolet coach station, bound for Berlin, Germany.[10]

On June 4, 2012, Magnotta was apprehended by Berlin Police at an Internet café in the Neukölln district while reading news stories about himself.[74][75] He tried giving fake names before admitting who he was.[76] His identity was confirmed through fingerprint evidence.[39][47] Magnotta appeared in a Berlin court on June 5, 2012.[77] There was sufficient evidence to keep him in custody until extradition[6] and he agreed to a simplified process.[38]

On June 18, 2012, Magnotta was delivered to Canadian authorities in Berlin and flown aboard a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-150 Polaris to Mirabel International Airport, north of Montreal. According to German officials, he had not opposed his extradition.[78][79] A military transport was necessary due to safety concerns with placing him on a commercial flight and potential legal difficulties if the plane was diverted to another country.[80] He is being detained in a special cell at the Rivière-des-Prairies detention centre without contact with the other prisoners.[81] On June 19, Magnotta appeared in court by video link to plead not guilty to all charges through his lawyer, Pierre Panaccio.[72][82] On June 21, Magnotta appeared in person at a high security Montreal courtroom and his lawyers did not request a psychiatric evaluation.[70][81] He is to face a preliminary hearing in March 2013.[81][69]

Aftermath

Reactions in China have been highly critical, with some there believing the murder to be racially motivated.[83] Some people there have questioned public safety in Canada, as the Lin Jun killing is the second high-profile murder of a Chinese student there in slightly over a year.[83] Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called Chinese ambassador Zhang Junsai to convey his deep condolences.[1][84]

On June 4, 2012, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was pleased that the suspect has been arrested, and wanted to congratulate the police forces on their good work in apprehending the suspect.[77] Interim Liberal Party leader Bob Rae said that Canadians should mourn Lin Jun rather than "in any way, shape or form" celebrate the notoriety of Mr. Magnotta.[85] Friends of Lin Jun expressed relief at the suspect's capture.[36]

On June 6, Lin Jun's family arrived at Trudeau Airport in Montreal. His mother was barely able to walk and is only known to have said "We come to take you home."[38][86][87][88]

On June 7, 2012 the Chinese consulate in Montréal announced the Chinese Students and Scholars Association of Concordia University is raising money to defray expenses incurred by Lin's family while in Canada.[89][90]

The case also drew comparisons across North America to Mark Twitchell, a convicted murderer inspired by Dexter, who used social media in his crimes and to self-promote his work.[91] Author Steve Lillebuen, who wrote a book on the case, described this new trend in crime where social media allows killers to become "online broadcasters" and have direct, instant access to a global audience they may crave.[92][93]

Investigation regarding other crimes

Magnotta is alleged to have been the person behind a series of videos of animal cruelty involving cats which were posted to YouTube[94] beginning in 2010, including one titled "1 boy 2 kittens" which showed a man deliberately suffocating two kittens with a vacuum cleaner[11] as John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" plays in the background.[95][96] After identifying Magnotta as the likely suspect, animal rights activists offered a $5,000 reward for "bringing him to justice". [96] Alex West, a journalist for British tabloid newspaper The Sun, met Magnotta while he was living in London in 2011, following claims that he had made "Python Christmas", an online video showing a kitten being eaten alive by a Burmese python.[97][98][99] The Sun contacted Scotland Yard, which denied that the python video incident had occurred within its jurisdiction, stating that the video had been "posted from somewhere in North America."[100] Following his meeting with Magnotta, Alex West says that he received a threatening email, which he believes was sent by Magnotta.[14]

Police in Gatineau are investigating possible ties between Magnotta and the 2011 murder of Valerie Leblanc in their city due to the "distinct nature" of both crimes.[101][102] On June 8, Los Angeles police announced they were in contact with Montreal police to determine if Magnotta was involved in the unsolved murder and decapitation of Hervey Medellin,[103][104][105] but later announced that they did not believe he was involved in the crime.[106] The animal rights group Last Chance for Animals claimed responsibility for posting YouTube videos linking him to the unsolved "Hollywood Sign Murder" in an attempt to lure Magnotta into contacting them.[107][108][109]

Cited references

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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Canada murder suspect Luka Magnotta arrested, BBC, June 4, 2012.
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  70. 70.0 70.1 Magnotta appears in person at Montreal courthouse, CTV, June 21, 2012.
  71. {{{author}}}. {{{title}}}. [[{{{publisher}}}]], copyright [[{{{date}}}]].

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