MONTREAL - Luka Rocca Magnotta has admitted to all five of the charges he’s facing in the infamous murder and dismemberment of a 31-year-old computer engineering student.
Then he pleaded not guilty on the formal indictments.
That means, as his lawyer Luc Leclair told court here this morning, that the defence will be seeking a not criminally responsible verdict — an unsound mind which rendered him incapable of forming intent or understanding the consequences of his actions.
For the jury, it means watching the gruesome videotape that court heard captured the indignities perpetrated on Jun Lin, a recording allegedly made by Magnotta himself on May 25, 2012, and posted on the web within hours — one day before the defendant flew to Paris.
“You heard about the so-called murder video,” prosecutor Louis Bouthillier told the jury in his opening address. “Most of you have not seen the so-called murdered video. You will get to see it here in court. You are judges now.”
Within that short time frame between the Lin’s murder and Magnotta’s departure for Europe, the defendant is said to have dissected the victim’s body and then mailed some of the parts — legs and feet — to various addresses across Canada, including the Conservative party offices in Ottawa and two Vancouver area schools.
Lin’s torso was discovered on May 29, stuffed into garbage bags and a suitcase — the zipper left partially open, a red substance oozing out — deposited in an alley behind Magnotta’s Montreal apartment.
“You will hear evidence that it had been there a few days,” Bouthillier told court.
Lin’s head was found in a city park.
The charges against Magnotta are first-degree murder; committing an indignity to a body; publishing obscene material; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; and mailing obscene and indecent material.
Magnotta was impassive as Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier outlined his case and told jurors he expects to show them the crimes committed were planned and deliberate.
Bouthillier said the testimony of a journalist from England will indicate the murder had been in the works for six months.
He said the reporter and his media organization received an email in December 2011 that will show Magnotta was intending to kill a human and film the event.
“This email makes it clear that Mr. Magnotta was planning to kill a human being and was going to make a movie,” Bouthillier said.
For the first time, it was also confirmed that another individual appears in the beginning of the video — a male tied and bound, lying on Magnotta’s bed. Those images account for 53 seconds of the video’s contents; the “indignities” inflicted on Lin 10 minutes. The 53 seconds, court was told, were videotaped a week before Lin’s murder.
“Another man, bonded, lying naked on the bed in Mr. Magnotta’s apartment,” said Bouthillier.
Just like Lin. But surviving his encounter with the accused.
The first witness at the trial, which is expected to last between six and eight weeks, is Caroline Simoneau, a crime-scene technician.
The trial is expected to last between six and eight weeks.
Lin's father, Diran Lin, was in the courtroom on Monday along with a lawyer and translator.
- With files from The Canadian Press