'Canadian Psycho' murder trial starts

2014-09-29 19:59


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Montreal - The trial of a former Canadian porn actor accused of killing and dismembering a Chinese engineering student started on Monday with prosecutors saying this was not the act of a lunatic.

Luka Rocco Magnotta, 32, is accused of using an ice pick to fatally stab 33-year-old Lin Jun in May 2012, before sexually abusing and dismembering the man's corpse, and then posting a video of the heinous act online.

Days after the killing, Montreal police discovered the victim's torso in a suitcase by the trash outside an apartment along a busy highway.

Lin's severed hands and feet were sent in the mail to federal political parties in Ottawa - one of the packages was addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper - and to two schools in Vancouver. The head was found in a Montreal park months later.

Magnotta fled Canada but was arrested in Germany in June 2012, following an international manhunt, and extradited. He was arrested in a Berlin internet cafe, after stops in France and elsewhere in Germany.

Magnotta, who reportedly had been treated in the past for paranoid schizophrenia, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges, including committing indignities to a body and harassing Canada's prime minister.

He can qualify his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity at any point in the trial.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.

On Monday, Magnotta sat idly behind a glass enclosure in a cramped Montreal courtroom, with Lin's father looking on, as the trial got underway.

Prosecutor Louis Bouthillier called on the jury not to be swayed by the evidence into believing that Magnotta must be insane in order to have committed such horrific crimes.

During jury selection earlier this month, Judge Guy Cournoyer told potential jurors that they would be confronted with evidence that was likely to be "shocking and disturbing, which could be upsetting".

Meanwhile in preliminary hearings questions arose about Magnotta's mental health, but he was found fit to stand trial.

The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks, with testimony from 60 witnesses and depositions from others in France and Germany.

Read more on:    canada

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