This morning, jurors at the Magnotta murder trial in Montreal heard from witness Eric Schorer, the apartment manager who called the police when Jun Lin’s torso was first discovered in a suitcase outside the building.
Schorer died earlier this year, so the court played audio from the testimony he gave during the preliminary trial in March 2013.
Court staff and jurors listened attentively as the recording detailed Schorer’s first encounter with Magnotta and the chilling discovery made following his tenant’s departure.
Schorer described Magnotta as "very normal, very cordial," and said the accused had told him he wanted to live in the neighbourhood because he had a child nearby and a potential job opportunity in the area.
Magnotta has been charged with five offences, including first-degree murder, in connection with Lin's death. He has pleaded not guilty, but has agreed to the facts of the case, including that he killed Lin.
Because of that admission, the Crown does not need to prove the facts of the case, but does need to convince the jury that Magnotta had the state of mind to commit the crimes.
His lawyer has told the jury he intends to argue that his client should be found not criminally responsible for the death because he suffers from a mental illness.
The prosecutor in the case said he intends to prove the killing was premeditated.
Magnotta left apartment abruptly
Schorer told the court the accused provided a passport — on which his name read Luka Rocco Magnotta— as ID, and paid his rent with cash or cheques.
Schorer said he never saw Magnotta with a child or with any pets.
When asked about his tenant’s departure, Schorer told the court that Magnotta left without warning, even though advance notice was required.
He said it was building janitor Michel Nadeau who made the grisly discovery of a torso on May 29, 2012.
Schorer said he called the police after Nadeau told him he had found a torso in a suitcase abandoned outside the building.
This testimony follows the final moments of defence attorney Luc Leclair’s cross-examination of Montreal police forensic technician Caroline Simoneau, a lengthy process Leclair has spread out over three days.
At the defence’s request, Simoneau brought in physical evidence the jury had already seen in photographs, allowing Leclair to file the objects as exhibits.
This means the jurors can now have a closer look at the items, which include notes and gift wrapping included in parcels sent to political parties and schools, several articles of clothing and random objects retrieved from Magnotta’s trash.
Leclair zeroed in on smaller details, such as hand-drawn hearts found on some of the parcels, and the fact that the bar codes were ripped out or crossed out of the gift bags.
In total, more than 60 witnesses are expected to testify during the six-week-long trial.
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