MONTREAL (Reuters) - Images of a Canadian man holding a door for the Chinese student he later dismembered were shown at trial on Thursday, with the prosecution telling the jury the footage was from surveillance cameras at the building where the gruesome murder took place.
Canadian Luka Magnotta, 32, has admitted to killing Jun Lin, 33, videotaping his acts and mailing parts of the body to elementary schools and to two political parties. He is pleading not guilty due to mental illness.
Lean and fine-boned in the footage watched by the jury, a now heavier Magnotta looked far different in court, where he sat behind a glass pane wearing a black T-shirt and dark-rimmed glasses.
Grainy footage taken from four security cameras on May 24, 2012, showed Magnotta and Lin entering the weathered Montreal apartment building, which overlooks a busy expressway.
Over the next day, Magnotta is repeatedly seen entering and leaving the building, carrying and disposing of black garbage bags and a gray suitcase, his trips interrupted occasionally to fix his hair in the entrance mirror.
The footage shows Magnotta easily carrying the gray suitcase into the building on May 25, while laboring to drag it down the stairs when he departs several hours later.
In court on Thursday, janitor Michael Nadeau testified that he noticed a foul-smelling, locked gray suitcase among the heap of black garbage bags he was removing from the back of the building to the curb on May 29.
Nadeau said he used a pair of pliers to break the lock and that he and a resident who was helping him with odd jobs that day looked inside.
“We saw (the) neck, shoulders and top of (the) torso, and that was enough for us,” Nadeau told the court.
Nadeau then called the police.
Magnotta applied to rent the apartment in March 2011 for C$490 ($439.34) a month and said he had a child living in the area and had found a possible job as a caregiver, Eric Schorer, the caretaker of the building, said in a recorded interview played in a Montreal courtroom. Schorer died in 2014 before the trial started.
The prosecutor in the case says Magnotta planned the killing for at least six months before the crime was committed, and that he emailed a British journalist in 2011 saying he planned to kill a human being and videotape the act.
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 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.
Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Andre Grenon