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Luka Magnotta Murder Trial: Graphic Video Shown To Jurors

10/16/2014 01:48 EDT | Updated 12/16/2014 05:59 EST
CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS

MONTREAL — Luka Rocco Magnotta hunched as low as he could in the prisoner's box Thursday as the jury hearing his murder trial viewed a graphic and gruesome video depicting the death of Jun Lin.

The jurors had been warned from the beginning of the trial they would be required to watch a video that showed the dismemberment and desecration of Lin's body.

They remained impassive as a copy of the 10-minute video, downloaded by the Montreal police, was shown in court.

It opens with the New Order song "True Faith" playing in the background. On screen, a naked and bound man writhes about, raising his covered head as a man in a hooded sweatshirt straddles him.

Jurors had already been told the bound individual, who appears in the first 53 seconds, was not Lin.

The video then switches to the already dead Chinese student being stabbed repeatedly in the upper chest and lower abdomen area with a screwdriver.

The camera moves to the head area, clearly showing Lin's slit throat and blood everywhere.

The video does not show the actual slaying, while the assailant, dressed in dark clothing, is not clearly identified in the footage.

Magnotta is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Lin, 33, in May 2012.

He faces four other charges: 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.

Magnotta, 32, has admitted to the physical acts he's accused of but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.

The jury heard on Thursday that Nadine Paoliello, a Montreal police technological crimes officer, was asked to find and trace the video on May 29, 2012, the same day Lin's torso was found in a suitcase.

She testified it appeared on various sites under different titles, most notably "One Lunatic, One Ice Pick."

Paoliello said she was able to find four copies of the video — three on gore websites and one on a private YouTube account. The YouTube video was 27 seconds longer than the others, but she never compared them.

Her tasks included tracking down who uploaded the video to the gore sites and trying to get it pulled after investigators determined it featured an actual homicide.

She testified that YouTube and two of the gore sites, hosts in the United States, removed the video at the request of Montreal police.

Paoliello said an Edmonton-based site resisted but police didn't pursue the matter because their western colleagues were investigating.

She said she wasn't able to determine who posted the video in the first place. The YouTube video traced back to one Alan Ford with an email address based in the United Kingdom.

"No, I didn't find who was behind the video, it ended with the email address of Alan Ford," Paoliello said.

Paoliello was also trying to find out more about Magnotta, who had a prominent presence on social networks. She found at least 20 Facebook accounts carrying his name.

"I didn't know which one (account) was the right one, which one could help push the case forward," she said.

But it was the video that dominated much of the testimony on Day 12 of the trial.

The jurors watched, some taking notes while one appeared to look away briefly.

All the while, Magnotta slumped over, his head in his hands inside the large glass enclosure where he sits. The video played on multiple screens in the courtroom and in two packed overflow rooms.

Some people left the spare rooms as the video was about to begin and a court constable warned anyone requiring assistance to motion to him.

The judge overseeing the trial ordered a break in proceedings immediately after the video had been viewed.

It showed the body in various states of dismemberment. Using a knife, the assailant cut at Lin's body at different times.

Lin's severed head was then seen and a severed arm was used by the assailant to masturbate.

The video contained other disturbing images, with the last ones a series of still photos showing hacked-off body parts.

Earlier on Thursday, the trial heard from a postal-counter employee who said Magnotta exchanged boxes on May 25, 2012, because they were too small for what he intended to send.

Tomokazu Lee was working behind the Canada Post counter at a pharmacy outlet in the city's west end.

Lee told the jury he remembered Magnotta because he appeared at the counter twice that day: once to exchange boxes and once in the early evening to send two packages.

Magnotta was caught on the store surveillance video mailing two boxes, which contained Lin's body parts. He appeared calm and paid in cash.

The boxes remained at the pharmacy for 48 hours before they were sent out, Lee testified.

In all, four packages were mailed: one each to Conservative and Liberal offices in Ottawa and two others to schools in Vancouver.

The trial resumes Friday.