Canadian dismemberment accused was a 'plain simple kid' -witness

Tue Oct 7, 2014 6:37pm EDT
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) - A retired U.S. naval officer who hired an accused Canadian killer as a C$150-an-hour male escort during trips to Montreal recalled him on Tuesday as a "plain simple kid" who brought his puppy along to one of their meetings.

Luka Magnotta, 32, has admitted to killing and dismembering Chinese student Jun Lin, videotaping the acts and mailing parts of the body to elementary schools and to two political parties in 2012. He is pleading not guilty due to mental illness.

"For me, he was a clean-cut kid," said Thomas Murphy, 69, who hired Magnotta three times during frequent trips to the city. "He really wasn’t into drinking. We never finished a bottle of wine - that kind of struck me."

Murphy told a Quebec court he did not recognize Magnotta, who is now heavier, wears glasses and has darker hair than the lean young man he first met in March 2012.

The retired naval officer said he invited Magnotta to his apartment in Montreal’s trendy Plateau district after finding his profile "Nathan22" on a male escort site.

"He was a plain simple young kid. He was trying to make a few bucks," Murphy said. "He was a real friendly guy. I had no reason to suspect any of this."

The government says Magnotta planned the killing for six months before the May 2012 crime, emailing a British journalist in 2011 saying he intended to kill a human being and videotape the act.

Last week, jurors were shown grainy footage taken from security cameras on May 24, 2012, showing Magnotta and Lin entering Magnotta's Montreal apartment building.   Continued...

An artist's sketch shows Luka Rocco Magnotta, appearing in court for his preliminary hearing in Montreal, March 12, 2013.  REUTERS/Atalante