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Second person visible in video, Magnotta trial hears

Accused killer admits he killed Jun Lin but says he’s not criminally responsible

Luka Magnotta, as seen in this mug shot released by Berlin police after his 2012 arrest, now stands trial in Montreal on five charges in connection to the murder of Jun Lin. Credit: Wikipedia/Berlin police

In a surprise revelation, the Crown prosecuting Luka Magnotta told the jury Sept 29 that a second person is visible in the video they’ll see of Magnotta allegedly murdering and dismembering a Concordia student in May 2012.

Magnotta is on trial in Montreal for 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.

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier made the second-person revelation during his opening remarks to the court as the long-anticipated trial got underway.

Bouthillier warned members of the jury that the video they would have to watch of Jun Lin’s alleged murder and dismemberment is graphic and gruesome. He also said that the video begins with footage of another person, also allegedly masked and tied to Magnotta’s bed sometime before Lin.

Bouthillier did not name the other person visible in the video nor discuss his current whereabouts or connection to the scene.

In a quiet but determined voice, Magnotta pleaded not guilty to all five charges presented against him. His lawyer, Luc Leclair, conceded that Magnotta committed the offences but said the jury cannot find him criminally responsible because of a mental disorder.

Leclair told the court that Magnotta, like his father, is schizophrenic and has suffered through a long and tortured history of mental illness.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer explained to the jury that the focus of the trial will now be to determine Magnotta’s state of mind when he committed the acts with which he’s charged.

Bouthillier told the court that he will present evidence that Magnotta planned the murder months in advance.

Magnotta’s trial begins more than two years after the grisly discovery of Lin’s corpse in a suitcase in Montreal. The discovery coincided with a video posted online that appears to show someone beheading Lin’s corpse. The case drew international attention as Magnotta was hunted down and eventually arrested at an internet café in Berlin.

The trial, which is expected to last between six to eight weeks, will call as many as 60 witnesses.

Leclair cited a number of doctors and psychiatrists he intended to call as witnesses and warned the jury that they may be required to read a 100-page report on Magnotta’s mental health.

The trial continues.

Update: Magnotta has admitted to the five criminal charges laid against him but has pleaded not guilty, claiming he is not criminally responsible because of mental illness. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.