A Vancouver elementary school received a severed hand in the mail. On the same day in late May, 2012, a bloodied human foot was delivered to a middle school in Vancouver. A similar parcel was discovered at the Canadian Parliament Building, and law enforcement found still more en route to other government buildings. A “Red Notice,” Interpol’s version of an arrest warrant, was issued for male escort and wannabe gay porn actor Luka “Rocco” Magnotta, based on a disturbing video that seemed to show him killing, dismembering and performing necrophiliac acts. An international manhunt led to an internet café in Germany, where Berlin Police arrested Magnotta. He was extradited to Canada as the primary suspect in the body parts mailing case.
The Canadian authorities will charge Magnotta with murder in the first degree, defiling a corpse, using the Canadian mail system for delivering “obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous” material, and criminally harassing Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as other government leaders.
The signs were all there. A seasoned criminal profiler would have taken one look at Magnotta’s extensive online presence – including videos of the torture and killing of small animals – and realized that here was a true sadist and exhibitionist, just looking for his next shocking performance.
The first degree murder charge alone, if he is convicted, will result in life imprisonment for Magnotta.
Even for reality-shock website bestgore.com, one video allegedly posted by Luka “Rocco” Magnotta was troubling. The video shows the murder of an unidentified man. The killer then dismembered, performed necrophiliac acts upon and ate portions of the corpse. This truly sick video triggered a “Red Notice” arrest warrant from Interpol for Magnotta, a gay porn hopeful, male escort and stripper.
When body parts belonging to slain 33-year-old Chinese international student Jun Lin were sent to two Canadian schools, Canadian Parliament, and the offices of the Canadian Liberal and Conservative parties, the Canadian government demanded Magnotta’s extradition. After a brief stint on the run from the authorities, he was apprehended in a Berlin Internet café, where an employee recognized him reading about his own search.
On June 18th, Magnotta was extradited to Canada, a move he did not contest. A military plane was ordered to transport him out of Berlin because commercial airlines had no interest in taking the high-profile passenger. Upon his arrival to Canada, police interrogated him over the whereabouts of victim Jun Lin’s head. Hours later, he pleaded not guilty to all charges before a judge via video court in Montreal.
The same day, Magnotta appeared before a judge via video court where he entered a plea of “not guilty” on charges ranging from murder in the first degree to criminal harassment of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his unnamed constituents. If convicted in a Canadian criminal court, Magnotta could receive up to life in prison for murder.
Canadian police discovered Lin’s torso in a suitcase stashed in a Montreal alleyway. The torso was missing both hands, feet and the head. The hands and feet were all recovered from the mailed parcels. Based on a tip, Police located a human head in a Montreal park that has since been confirmed to be that of Lin.
Magnotta is no stranger to bizarre and violent behavior. He has been accused of animal cruelty after allegedly posting videos of himself suffocating kittens with a vacuum cleaner. Days after a British tabloid wrote about the videos, they received photos of a kitten being fed to a python in the mail with a warning attached saying “once you kill, and taste blood, it’s impossible to stop.”
Montreal police even thought he was romantically linked to high-profile Canadian serial killer Karla Homolka, a claim which has since turned out to be untrue. Still, one of his ex-girlfriends told the media that he was obsessed with Homolka. Consistent with his narcissistic behavior, it is believed he may have fabricated this rumor himself.
Magnotta’s voluminous internet presence — investigators have said that he has 70 Facebook accounts — has helped police piece together the kind of person Magnotta is. A shameless self-promoter, he has allegedly made an appearance on dozens of websites, looking for clients or just seeking attention from whoever might be watching.
Psychologists often link corpse dismemberment with individuals seeking attention and high levels of sensation, as well those who view themselves in a grandiose and narcissistic manner. Magnotta’s persona certainly resonates with these characteristics — having been quoted after his arrest saying “If I don’t have my looks I don’t have any life.” The video-taping of the murder, as well as the mailing of body parts to apparently random recipients, indicates the alleged killer fantasized about attention he would receive both from the recipients and the general public.
Since Magnotta’s arrest, authorities around the U.S. have been looking into possible links between him and similar murders from Miami, Florida to the Hollywood Hills. While police in Florida have refuted the claims that he could be responsible for a three-year-old cold case, there are sure to be more inquiries into whether or not Magnotta is linked to other heinous crimes.
Luka “Rocco” Magnotta – The alleged killer in this case was born Eric Clinton Newman, the 29-year-old legally changed his name to the more exotic-sounding Magnotta in 2006. He is an aspiring gay porn actor, a male escort and a stripper. A fairly prolific internet sicko, he originally drew attention to himself by allegedly abusing animals, filming the abuse and posting it online.
Jun Lin – The victim is a 33-year-old international student studying at Concordia University who was last seen May 24, 2012, and reported missing on May 29. The Montreal coroner identified the various body parts found in postal packages as Lin’s, thus sparking the international manhunt for Magnotta.
Mark Marek – Marek is the 38-year-old creator of the site bestgore.com, a reality-shock website that shows videos of people killing themselves, torturing animals and committing acts of extreme violence against others. He awaits trial on a charge of corrupting public morals for posting the video. Marek has defended the site, pointing out that users of bestgore.com were the ones who reported Magnotta to the police. According to Marek, he contacted police in Ontario about the video, but they disregarded his call, and his subsequent incarceration is the result of police embarrassment and an attempt to silence him.
Louis Bouthillier & Helene DiSalvo – The Crown prosecutors handling Magnotta’s case, both Bouthillier and DiSalvo have experience with high-publicity cases. DiSalvo successfully prosecuted former world-champion boxer Dave Hilton for repeatedly molesting his daughters.
New Clues To The Canadian Cannibal
The signs were all there. A seasoned criminal profiler would have taken one look at Magnotta’s extensive online presence — including alleged videos of the torture and killing of small animals — and realized that here was a true sadist and exhibitionist, just looking for his next shocking performance.
Magnotta allegedly left a trail of digital breadcrumbs for law enforcement. It unfortunately did not save Jun Lin’s life, but it will surely be used to convict him in court. Every video he posted, every status update or comment that can be traced to him will be used against him in this investigation.
The next question is whether legal actions against reality-shock sites like bestgore.com, the site that hosted the video that appeared to depict Magnotta murdering Lin, should also be held responsible for the death of the graduate student. After all, the site, provided a place for the sick puppies of the world to share their destructive behavior, and that behavior became normalized and even celebrated.
In a blog post on bestgore.com titled “Hey Luka. . . Whats up man? Good show yo!” Mark Marek, the creator, thanks Magnotta for driving up traffic to his website. This does not seem to be the kind of outfit that is in the business of keeping people safe from harm.
It seems extremely likely that Canadian authorities will file obscenity charges against Marek, and their reason for not having done so already may be to ensure cooperation with the Magnotta investigation.
August 28, 2012:
Defense lawyers are currently seeking to exclude some bizarre evidence against Magnotta. According to law enforcement, Magnotta may have been the research subject of a study conducted by two criminologists at the University of Ottawa.
The criminologists have an interview with a subject code named “Jimmy,” who investigators believe is Magnotta.
Both the researchers and Magnotta’s lawyers have filed separate motions asking to keep this interview out of court. We don’t know what the interview is about yet, but since the criminologists’ research tended to focus on sex, violence and crime, it’s a fair guess that if Magnotta is “Jimmy,” there will be some incriminating statements in there.
For Magnotta’s lawyers, their best arguments are, first, that we can’t be sure this is Magnotta, and second, that an interview with Magnotta outside of the context of this case is meaningless and irrelevant.
All evidence in a criminal case has to have some kind of connection to the charges, and based on what little we know about this interview, it seems like it would have nothing to do with these specific charges.
However, the interviews have the potential to expose Magnotta as a sexual deviant, which is precisely what law enforcement and prosecutors hope to prove.
The researchers also have a strong legal argument. They promised their subjects confidentiality in these interviews, and that confidentiality would be breached by using these interviews in court. Ruling against the criminologists could compromise the ability of other researchers across the board to get subjects to be honest with them if the subjects think that there are no confidentiality protections that will be upheld in court. In the field of criminology particularly, where researchers study criminal behavior, losing confidentiality between subjects and scientists would compromise that work significantly.