POLITICS

Crown asks jury to find Luka Rocco Magnotta guilty in slaying of Jun Lin

12/11/2014 11:12 EST | Updated 02/10/2015 05:59 EST
MONTREAL - In killing Jun Lin, Luka Rocco Magnotta kept a promise made several months earlier to take the life of a human being, the Crown prosecutor said in his closing statement Thursday.

Louis Bouthillier asked jurors at Magnotta's first-degree murder trial to convict Magnotta of first-degree murder and four other charges in the slaying and dismemberment of Lin in May 2012.

Magnotta, 32, has pleaded not guilty and while he admits to the slaying, he is seeking to be found not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.

Experts testified on his behalf that Magnotta is schizophrenic and was psychotic and out of touch with reality the night of the slaying.

The prosecutor reiterated his belief the crime was planned and deliberate as he took the jury through the evidence and argued Magnotta's actions demonstrate he was of sound mind before, during and after Lin's slaying.

"The judge will tell you it was the defence's burden to convince you that Mr. Magnotta was mentally ill ... I submit to you the defence fails on that," Bouthillier told the jury during his day-long final submission.

"What remains is evidence, both pre-and-post offence, showing someone, Mr. Magnotta, who is purposeful, mindful, ultra-organized and ultimately responsible for his actions," Bouthillier said.

"One would not expect someone afflicted with a disease of the mind that renders him incapable of knowing what they have committed is wrong, to act the way Mr. Magnotta did in the hours, days and weeks following his crimes."

Bouthillier said an email Magnotta sent to a British newspaper in December 2011 foreshadowed the killing of a human within six months.

He said the ominous email was followed by a rehearsal involving an unidentified man who appeared at the beginning of the video that eventually showed Lin being dismembered.

The mystery man would leave Magnotta's apartment groggy but unharmed on May 19, 2012.

Less than a week later, Lin, 33, would be the final subject of the dismemberment snuff film published on the Internet with the title "One Lunatic, One Ice Pick."

"He (Lin) just might have been the perfect victim for Mr. Magnotta," Bouthillier said, referring to the fact the victim had no family in Canada.

Magnotta's actions were inconsistent with someone who was out of touch with reality and he was not observed doing strange things or talking to himself, the prosecutor told the jury.

After the crimes, Magnotta fled the country, attempted to conceal evidence and his own identity from authorities.

Over the first 48 hours following Lin's slaying, Magnotta emptied the contents of his apartment, including instruments used to kill and dismember the victim.

The jury heard that the accused dismembered Lin's body — taking care to triple-bag body parts and mail others — bought a plane ticket for Paris and even found time to order a pizza.

"During those 48 odd hours, Mr. Magnotta is very busy, a very, very busy man," Bouthillier said.

A suitcase containing Lin's torso that triggered the police investigation was found slashed, spray-painted and locked, perhaps in an attempt to conceal it, the Crown suggested.

"Why would someone do this who doesn't know right from wrong?" Bouthillier asked.

After arriving in Paris, Magnotta switched hotels and began using a different name.

His laptop seized in Berlin indicated he had read a story about Lin's torso being discovered. He quickly fled to Berlin that same day, emptying his bank accounts. The following day, he deleted images and music used in Lin's dismemberment video posted to the Internet.

"This man looks like he's on a mission," Bouthillier added at one point.

He said a marked change in Magnotta's behaviour came only while incarcerated at a prison hospital in Germany, one week after his arrest on June 4, 2012.

Bouthillier told the jury that no one who met with Magnotta shortly before and following the crimes said he showed any signs of schizophrenia or psychosis. Bouthillier said authorities believe Magnotta was malingering at the prison — faking his symptoms in the face of serious criminal charges.

He told the jury to give little weight to defence expert reports which he said failed to challenge Magnotta on important questions about the crimes and instead relied on the accused's own version.

Magnotta maintained his right to silence and did not testify at the trial. He also refused to meet with the prosecution's expert.

"Why is it, do you think?" Bouthillier asked the jury.

He also pointed to numerous parallels between the case and the film "Basic Instinct," which he said served as an inspiration for the accused.

Magnotta, the Crown said, might never have been caught had it not been for various events, including:

— A curious janitor wanting to have a closer look at a suitcase containing Lin's torso that was bound for the garbage dump.

— Surveillance cameras at a pharmacy capturing images of Magnotta as he mailed boxes containing Lin's body parts. The boxes didn't have the accused's name on them.

— A Toronto lawyer sending a fax to police that led to them finding Lin's head.

"If not for those three events, there probably would have been no case against Mr. Magnotta," Bouthillier said.

"People who commit first-degree murders or other crimes get caught when and if they make mistakes or if the police get lucky, or a combination of both," he said. "This is what happened here."

The case adjourned until Monday morning as Justice Guy Cournoyer said he needs more time to prepare his final charge to the jury.

A dozen jurors from the 14 who listened to the evidence will be chosen to deliberate.

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