October 17, 2014 / 8:14 PM / 3 years ago

Son of ex-prime minister testifies at Canada dismemberment trial

MONTREAL (Reuters) - The son of former Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien and the sister of convicted serial killer Karla Homolka testified on Friday at the murder trial of a Canadian man who has admitted to killing and dismembering a Chinese student in 2012.

An artist's sketch shows Luka Rocco Magnotta, appearing in court for his preliminary hearing in Montreal, March 11, 2013. REUTERS/Atalante

Canadian Luka Magnotta used the names and addresses of Chretien’s son and Homolka’s sister as return addresses of grisly parcels sent to two elementary schools in Vancouver, jurors heard.

The packages, along with two sent to two political parties in Ottawa, contained the hands and feet of murder victim Jun Lin.

Magnotta, 32, has admitted to killing and dismembering Lin, 33, videotaping the acts and mailing parts of the body. He is pleading not guilty due to mental illness.

Dragged into being associated with the horrific crime because of their well-known relatives, the witnesses said they had no connection to Magnotta or his victim. Both testified via video conference from different cities.

“My father is more well known than me,” said Hubert Chrétien, whose father was prime minister of Canada from 1993 to 2003. Hubert Chretien, who runs a business that teaches handicapped clients to scuba dive, said: “all my coordinates can be found on the Internet because of my business.”

His name was misspelled “Hurbert” on the return address of the package used by Magnotta to ship body parts to a Vancouver school.

The packages contained body parts wrapped in pink tissue paper, hand-drawn black hearts and poems and notes referencing the wife of the current Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper.

Chrétien’s testimony was followed by that of Logan Valentini, the younger sister of serial killer Karla Homolka. Karla Homolka served a 12-year prison term after being convicted of helping her husband Paul Bernardo rape and murder three teenaged girls two decades ago, including another Homolka sister.

“I was stunned and didn’t know why I was being dragged into something like this,” said Valentini, who changed her name in 1996 to avoid association with her reviled sister. “I just wanted not to be associated with something that I didn’t do.”

On Thursday, the court was shown a graphic video of the killing and dismemberment of Lin which added the suggestion of cannibalism to what has become one of Canada’s grizliest murder trials.

The prosecutor in the case says Magnotta planned the killing for at least six months before the crime was committed, and that he had emailed a British journalist in 2011 saying he planned to kill a human being and videotape the act.

The killing of Lin shocked Canadians and grabbed headlines around the world. Magnotta was the subject of an international manhunt. He was arrested in an Internet cafe in Berlin, where he was reading about himself.

Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by David Gregorio

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