Suspect in Body Parts Case Pleads Not Guilty
MONTREAL (AP) - A Canadian porn actor accused of dismembering his Chinese lover and mailing the body parts to political parties and schools pleaded not guilty Tuesday to five charges including first degree murder.
Luka Magnotta entered his plea before a judge via videoconference from a Montreal detention center. It was his first hearing since being extradited to Canada under very tight security from Germany, where he was arrested after an international manhunt.
His lawyer, Pierre Panaccio, requested that Magnotta be evaluated by a psychiatrist to determine his criminal responsibility. The court will consider that request Thursday.
Magnotta, 29, is suspected of killing Jun Lin, a 33-year-old a computer science student at Concordia University, and sending his feet and hands to Canada’s top political parties and two schools. The head is still missing, and police said they would ask Magnotta where it is.
Investigators say Magnotta also posted a video online showing him having sex with the dismembered corpse. A second, unedited version of the video seen by police shows him eating parts of the body. Police say Magnotta and Lin were in a relationship.
During the hearing, Magnotta stood silently between two guards, handcuffed and wearing a brown shirt. He said just one word to his defense lawyer. Panaccio told his client that he hoped to speak with him later Tuesday.
"If you wish to call me at home tonight, I’d be pleased to talk about this," Panaccio told Magnotta.
"Okay," the suspect replied before being led away to detention.
His appearance lasted about three minutes.
Magnotta faces charges including first-degree murder, defiling a corpse, threatening the prime minister and using the mail system for delivering "obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous" material.
Prosecutor Helene DiSalvo said authorities will meet with Lin’s family, who traveled to Canada after hearing of his death. She said finding the head is important to both the case and the victim’s family.
The case became known when a package containing a severed foot was found at Canada’s ruling Conservative Party headquarters on May 29. That same day, a hand was discovered at a postal facility, addressed to the Liberal Party of Canada.
Lin’s torso was found in a suitcase at a garbage dump in Montreal outside Magnotta’s apartment building.
About a week later, the missing foot and hand were found mailed to two schools in Vancouver. Police said notes were included in most of the packages but declined to say what they said.
Magnotta, who fled to Canada before the killing was discovered, spent a few days partying in Paris before moving on to Berlin, where he was caught earlier this month as he read stories about himself at an Internet cafe.
He did not contest his extradition from Germany and arrived Monday in Montreal on a military plane.
Police called the Canadian military flight an extraordinary measure. Police said preliminary checks with private airlines suggested it would be difficult to use a standard commercial carrier to get Magnotta home. Among the problems: the airline would have had to vacate an entire section of seats around the suspect.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday that China was monitoring developments and hoped that there would be justice to give "the victim a result that can have him rest in peace."