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Luka Magnotta didn't act like a schizophrenic person, psychiatrist says

11/27/2014 03:34 EST | Updated 01/27/2015 05:59 EST
The psychiatrist hired by the prosecution to analyze Luka Magnotta’s behaviour says Magnotta was “ultra-organized” in the hours and days after he killed Jun Lin.

Dr. Gilles Chamberland testified at the first-degree murder trial that Magnotta offered up just enough information to psychiatrists after his arrest to guide them toward a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Chamberland had to base his assessment on other reports, including the two compiled by the psychiatrists hired by the defence, because Magnotta refused to meet with the Crown’s psychiatrist.

Magnotta has admitted to killing and dismembering Lin, but has pleaded not guilty to the five charges against him because his mental illness left him not criminally responsible.

The Crown alleges the crime was planned.

In the Montreal courtroom Thursday, Chamberland pointed out that in the 48 hours following the killing, Magnotta planned his trip to Europe, cleaned and packed up his apartment, and even made attempts to find escort clients overseas.

“That’s a lot for 48 hours,” Chamberland testified. “It requires a very high level of organization.”

The psychiatrist said that organization is at odds with a major symptom of schizophrenia, disorganized thought, which furthered Chamberland’s belief that Magnotta does not suffer from schizophrenia, but rather a variety of personality disorders.

Chamberland suggested that Magnotta’s earlier diagnosis of schizophrenia in his late teens was the result of drug use.

Organized description of symptoms

The forensic psychiatrist also noted a level of organization in the way Magnotta acted after his June 4 arrest in Berlin.

The accused spent a week being examined by Dr. Thomas Barth, a psychiatrist in the Berlin prison where Magnotta was detained before being extradited.

Barth testified for the defence that he suspected Magnotta suffered from paranoid schizophrenia because he flitted from topic to topic and complained of auditory hallucinations.

But Chamberland evaluated the behaviour differently, pointing out to the court that Barth asked only one question and got a multitude of answers: that Magnotta was hearing voices like a radio and felt watched; he was no longer taking antipsychotic medication; his father was schizophrenic; and that he had an abusive childhood.

Chamberland told the court that if Magnotta was looking to be seen as schizophrenic, he provided the full picture in the first interview, including symptoms, previous medical history and a family history of illness.

After that, according to Chamberland, the accused stayed isolated in his room or simply repeated the same symptoms.

“For me, that’s anything but disorganized thought,” Chamberland testified, adding that Magnotta also minimized his drug use and painted himself as the victim in his interactions with Barth.

Chamberland said that he believes a histrionic personality disorder, where patients are full of drama and seek attention, explains Magnotta’s behaviour in Berlin.

The psychiatrist continues his testimony this afternoon.

Earlier today, the judge warned the jury that closing arguments could be pushed back to the week of Dec. 8, with deliberations later that week.

The trial, now in its ninth week, was originally expected to last two months.

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