MONTREAL (Reuters) - A graphic video showing the killing and dismemberment of a Chinese student by a Canadian man was shown in court on Thursday, adding the suggestion of cannibalism to what has become one of Canada’s grisliest murder trials.
Canadian Luka Magnotta, 32, has admitted to killing and dismembering Jun Lin, videotaping the acts and mailing parts of the body to elementary schools and to two Canadian political parties. He is pleading not guilty due to mental illness.
Magnotta sat hunched over in court as the jury watched a video that was shot in his Montreal apartment. It showed him stabbing, slashing and performing sexual acts on a bloodied, dismembered body.
The jury had been warned early on in the trial about the disturbing video, which for more than 10 minutes showed close-ups of body parts interspersed with images of Magnotta, dressed in black, cutting a buttock with a knife and fork and a black puppy licking the dismembered torso.
Lin who had a sleeping pill and allergy medicine in his system, may have died from blood loss when his neck was cut, a pathologist testified at the trial last week.
The pathologist said Lin was stabbed 55 times and then dismembered, but he could not say whether the university student was still alive when he was decapitated.
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.
A Montreal police officer testified on Thursday that she was asked in May 2012 to find more information on the video, which had been posted on several websites, including the popular video-sharing site YouTube, under the titles: “One Lunatic, One Icepick” and “Time to Shake Things Up a Bit”.
Police asked the website hosts to remove the videos and to share account information about who had uploaded them.
“We had the information that a murder had taken place so we didn’t want the video to circulate,” police investigator Nadine Paoliello told the court.
Paoliello said she contacted YouTube parent company Google in early June 2012. She said that Google agreed to take down the video but would not reveal any information about it, or about the user who had uploaded it, without a warrant. Google did not judge the matter “to be urgent enough” to reveal the information without a warrant, she told the court.
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.
Reporting by Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Peter Galloway