October 1, 2014 / 5:44 PM / 5 years ago

Canada dismemberment victim broke up with boyfriend before death

MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Chinese student killed and dismembered by a Canadian man broke up with his boyfriend just weeks before he was killed, the former boyfriend said in court on Wednesday.

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

Canadian Luka Magnotta, 32, has admitted to killing and dismembering Jun Lin, 33, videotaping the acts and mailing parts of the body to elementary schools and to two political parties. He is pleading not guilty due to mental illness.

Testifying in a Quebec court, Feng Lin, 35, said he and victim Jun Lin broke up just weeks before he was killed because Jun Lin’s family was pressuring him to meet a girl and get married.

Speaking through an interpreter, Feng Lin said he had gone back to visit family in China and was still exchanging 40 to 50 text messages a day with Jun Lin, even after they broke up.

He cut short his trip to return to Montreal when Jun Lin ceased returning his text messages and was en route to Montreal when a classmate of Jun Lin’s telephoned him with news. “The friend told me there was a TV clip and informed me that the body belonged to Jun Lin,” Feng Lin testified.

“It was only after my arrival in Montreal that I looked at the first part of the video. I don’t know how long I watched, probably several minutes,” Feng Lin said. The prosecutor said the jury will see the video allegedly made by Magnotta that shows the killing taking place in Magnotta’s apartment.

Feng Lin said he contacted the police because the man he saw in the video was not Jun Lin. The court has been told that an unidentified man appeared early in the video, alive but bound and naked on a bed in Magnotta’s apartment. The rest of the video shows Lin’s dead body on the same bed, the prosecutor said.

Magnotta’s lawyer, Luc Leclair, says he is not criminally responsible for the crime because he is mentally ill.

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

Feng Lin said he and Jun Lin met in Beijing in 2009 and became lovers in Shanghai and then in Montreal, where they both attended university, but the relationship ended in May 2012.

“He (Jun Lin) was facing some pressure from the family. His parents were not aware that he was gay. He was trying to date a girl,” Feng Lin told the court.

Jun Lin had been previously married to a woman. Lin’s father, Diran Lin, has traveled from China to attend the trial.

Feng Lin said the Chinese engineering student moved out and was sharing an apartment with a male roommate after Feng Lin left for China. Feng Lin said he was not aware if Jun Lin - who called himself Justin in Canada - had a relationship with another man.

“I am suggesting that there are many things you did not know about Justin,” said Leclair.

Earlier on Wednesday, Leclair showed jurors boxes that had been used to send gift-wrapped packages with parts of Jun Lin’s body and menacing notes to two Vancouver elementary schools and two political parties in Ottawa. One of the boxes appeared to have a blood stain on it.

A publication ban imposed by the court at a preliminary hearing has barred media from reporting certain details of the case. Explicit details were publicized during the international search to capture Magnotta but cannot be repeated until they are presented at trial. The jury was not being sequestered.

The killing of Lin in the early summer of 2012 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.

Writing by Andrea Hopkins; editing by Amran Abocar, Andre Grenon and Cynthia Osterman

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