WARMINGTON: Luka Magnotta’s grisly murder shocked Canada 10 years ago

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He lies thousands of kilometres from his home in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery —  alone and forgotten.

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Jun Lin was a stepping stone to murderer Luka Magnotta achieving infamy.

However, on May 24, 2012, the 33-year-old Chinese national — a student at Montreal’s Concordia University — was alive with a bright future. That future was stolen in an apartment building at 5720 Décarie Blvd. where he went for an on-line dating hook up.

The first indication something was terribly wrong came in a social media posting — called “1 lunatic 1 ice pick” which was a snuff film of the actual murder.

Viewers tried to contact authorities, but before police could respond, Magnotta had severed his victim’s body and sent parts in the mail to addresses in Ottawa and Vancouver which were linked to political parties. He then hopped on a flight to Paris.

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An undated file photo of murder victim Lin Jun.
An undated file photo of murder victim Lin Jun. Photo by Courtesy of Lin family /Toronto Sun

While on the lam, Magnotta taunted authorities with body parts arriving in the mail at locations across the country. It was like a strange game of cat and mouse.

But Magnotta’s whole identity was like that. Created. Manufactured. Fiction.

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His aliases and actions were taken from movies and video games.

Born Eric Clinton Newman, Luka Rocco Magnotta was a character he played — in amateur porn movies,  at modelling jobs or during escort interactions.

Even when we met him at the old Toronto Sun building at 333 King St. E., five years earlier, he seemed mired in fantasy and paranoia during the meeting in which he denied dating Karla Homolka, who was jailed along with her then husband, Paul Bernardo, for the  slayings of three teens, including her sister, Tammy. Released in 2005, Homolka was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

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 Karla was jailed in 1993 for her role in the rape and murder of three girls, including her sister

“I want to set the record straight,” he said in a video photographer Veronica Henri and I shot with him. “I not only have never dated Karla, I have never even met her.”

Yet, he claimed there was an internet rumour campaign trying to suggest he did.

“I have had death threats and someone stole my dog,” he told us. “I think it might be from someone in my pastn … I have worked in adult films and I have met lots of people.”

The night before on AM640, he told host John Downs he’d had “death threats” as a result of  being linked to Homolka. As Veronica and I noted, his hair — dyed blond — seemed similar to Bernardo’s.

“My life feels like it is spinning out of control.”

But his modelling agency offered assurances this was “just Luka” and there was nothing to worry about. Still, in my column, I did write: “If there is anyone out there who can help this young man, I think this might be the right time to do it.”

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Although acting peculiarly, he had a likeable side to him and seemed vulnerable, afraid and in need of intervention. I did not hear of him again until May 30, 2012 when Montreal Police put out an international warrant for his arrest.

Magnotta was suddenly the most talked about person in the world.

Nine days after leaving Canada, Magnotta could not resist being in an internet cafe in Berlin where he was arrested. Magnotta’s thirst for attention seemed to outweigh a desire to avoid detection.

When his trial finally commenced, I was subpoenaed as a witness for the defence, but was not called. Had I had the opportunity, I would have liked to convey I always felt Luka was in need of mental health support.

While what he did, and how he was able to elude authorities, shows planning and execution, his overall state of mind and actions highlight a troubled person.

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Now serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, Magnotta has written about the fun he’s having behind bars and there have even been reports of him getting married. It seems his fantasy life continues from inside prison walls.

In a family statement dedicated to his memory, Lin’s family wrote that Lin, “born on Dec. 30, 1978 in China, came to study in Canada in the hope of building a better future for himself and his family. His dreams and plans were abruptly shattered when he was the victim of a violent crime on May 25, 2012.”

In a statement to the court Lin’s father Diran Lin said the night Lin died, “parts of many other people died in one way or another. His mother, his sister and me, his friends, Lin Feng. In one night, we lost a lifetime of hope, our futures, parts of our past.”

While Magnotta’s journey continues, Lin is buried alone, away from home and a mere crime statistic.

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