NEWS

Luka Magnotta online dating profile defended by website owner

07/01/2015 06:21 EDT | Updated 07/01/2016 05:59 EDT
The founder of a prisoners dating website is standing by her decision to publish an ad from convicted killer Luka Magnotta, even though it doesn't state his conviction for murder.

"People can go on [my website] and if they're not familiar with somebody such as Luka Magnotta, they can just go onto the computer and Google these people and find out what they're in jail for anyways," Melissa Fazzina, founder of Canadian Inmates Connect Inc., told CBC's As it Happens guest host Susan Bonner.

The website tries to hook up lonesome convicts — some behind bars for violent offences like first-degree murder — with potential companions on the outside. Fazzina does not make it mandatory for inmates to provide details of their conviction. 

"It wasn't shocking that he didn't provide those details. Some inmates don't for whatever reason," Fazzina said. "With Luka Magnotta, he quite possibly could have just forgotten. Or, maybe he was under the impression the the world knows what he was convicted of and just didn't find it necessary to fill in that blank."

After posting an inmate's profile online, Fazzina said she will reply with a letter asking them to fill in information about their conviction if they neglect to include it. She is continuing this practice with Magnotta as well.

Magnotta was convicted in December of first-degree murder for the 2012 Montreal killing and dismemberment of university student Jun Lin.

Fazzina said she received his application almost two weeks ago. The ad went up on her website on Sunday. In the ad, Magnotta describes himself as  "single white male, 33, 5'11" and 175 lbs with dark hair and blue eyes."

Magnotta says that he is "Seeking single white male, 28–38 years of age, white and in shape. One who is loyal, preferably educated, financially and emotionally stable for a long-term committed relationship. If you think you could be my prince charming, send me a detailed letter with at least two photos."

"One who is loyal, preferably educated, financially and emotionally stable for a long-term committed relationship," Magnotta wrote. "If you think you could be my prince charming, send me a detailed letter with at least two photos."

Fazzina said she is sending Magnotta a package requesting more information. When asked what she'll do if he still leaves his conviction status blank, she said she wasn't sure. But she said she is considering making the "Convicted Of" field mandatory.

'You have to be careful'

"With Luka Magnotta I haven't treated him any differently than any of the other inmates that have joined the website."

Asked about potential dangers for vulnerable people using her site, Fazzina said there is a warning on the website. 
"Just like with any site that's out there for people to meet people, you have to be careful," she said. "There's also inmates that are vulnerable too."

Fazzina said she doesn't make any money from the website. Instead, she said, it has "turned into a passion for me" as she uis able to advocate for inmates and help them connect with society. 

She said she does feel "very bad" for the families of the victims, but insisted "this is a human right that these inmates are entitled to.

"They have a right to communicate through written letters with people on the outside," Fazzina told the CBC's Bonner. "To me, it's all or nothing when it comes to these rights."
 

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