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Luka Magnotta: What did we learn in week one of the trial?

Luka Magnotta court
Luka Magnotta watches the proceedings at his first-degree murder trial in Montreal, Tuesday, Sept.30, 2014. . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike McLaughlin

Warning: The following story contains graphic details and language.

MONTREAL — The first week of Luka Magnotta’s murder trial heard from eight witnesses — four police officers, the victim’s ex-boyfriend, the man who managed the building where Magnotta lived and the same building’s janitor. The testimony, which spanned four days, revealed information not previously known.

The second week of the trial is set to resume Monday, as the prosecution continues to go through the haunting surveillance video tracing Magnotta’s actions in the hours and days following Lin’s killing.

Magnotta appeared to wear his victim’s clothing after slaying 

From Montreal police investigator Claudette Hamelin’s chief testimony on Thursday.

The first glimpse the jury saw of Magnotta on surveillance tapes taken from the building where he was renting an apartment was recorded at 9:32 on May 24, 2012. Wearing a white shirt and dark bottoms, he exited the building.

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Less than an hour later, around 10:20 p.m., Magnotta returned with Lin. Lin wore a yellow t-shirt with light-coloured shorts and a baseball cap. Magnotta held the door open and entered behind the man he would kill within the next few hours.

For live coverage of the Magnotta trial, click here.

READ MORE: Magnotta brought home mystery man a week before murder, court hears

The tapes showed no sign of either Magnotta or Lin for nearly four hours.

At 2:06, early in the morning of May 25, Magnotta walked the hall toward the front door of his apartment building, now dressed in a yellow t-shirt, much like the one Lin had on hours earlier.

Magnotta left the building for only seven minutes. When he returned, still wearing the yellow top, he paused in the front lobby to check out his reflection in the large mirrors covering two walls. He struck a pose, looked at himself from another angle, then headed back toward his apartment.

Magnotta would later be taped wearing a baseball cap similar to the one Lin was wearing the night before. Hamelin told the court the cap was recovered when Magnotta was apprehended in Germany on June 4.

Magnotta had another man bound to his bed before Jun Lin

From Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthiller’s opening statement

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During the opening statements, Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier told the 14 jurors they would have to see and hear some disturbing evidence, including the snuff film Magnotta posted online depicting Lin’s killing and dismemberment.

Police initially thought the torso found outside belonged to Magnotta 

From Hamelin’s chief testimony Thursday.

When investigators were called to 5720 Decarie Blvd. the morning of Tuesday, May 29, 2012, the initial working theory was the torso found inside a suitcase belonged to Magnotta.

Cops arrived on the scene after the building’s janitor, Michael Nadeau made the gruesome discovery of the suitcase Magnotta had dragged out at 10:14 on May 25, the Friday before.

When police arrived, they began going through the dozens of garbage bags piled on the curb and waiting for pickup, where some were leaking what looked like blood. During the search, investigators were looking for more body parts and any tools the killer may have used in committing the crime.

One of the more than 25 bags initially searched turned up a piece of paper inscribed with “Luka Rocco Magnotta 1982/07/24,” leading police to believe the torso could belong to the person with that ID.

It wasn’t until after news of the grotesque snuff film posted online was brought to Hamelin’s attention that the theory changed.

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When the investigator began watching the gruesome, amateur movie, she noticed some items she had seen while picking evidence from the mountain of garbage — a Casablanca poster and wine bottle, both previously thought inconsequential. Police then viewed the apartment building’s surveillance videos, where one man was seen walking in and out of the building, and to the garbage room over and over. The building manager confirmed the man on tape was Magnotta. He was now the suspect.

Magnotta ordered pizza while cleaning up his crime scene

From Hamelin’s chief testimony Thursday.

Among the latex gloves, electronics, body parts and clothing Magnotta dumped in the garbage, was a receipt for a delivery from Pizza Pizza the evening after Lin was brutally killed.

While playing surveillance tapes for the court Thursday, Hamelin pointed out a pizza delivery man entering the building at about 6:30 on May 25, a time coinciding with the order time indicated on the receipt.

Almost four hours later, the surveillance cameras caught Magnotta hauling a large suitcase behind him, carelessly dragging it down three steps and out the front door. He returned empty handed two minutes later.

Victim Jun Lin kept secrets from parents, boyfriend

From victim’s ex-boyfriend’s chief testimony and cross examination Wednesday.

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Jun Lin, the 33-year-old man who fatefully walked into his killer’s apartment building the night of Thursday, May 24, 2012, hid his sexuality from his family and some sexual preferences from his boyfriend.

Feng Lin and Jun Lin put their relationship on hold two years ago, just days before Jun was bound to a bed, killed and dismembered at the hands of another man.

The two Chinese nationals had decided to try being friends, so Feng returned to his family in China, according to his testimony given to the Crown.

At least part of the reason they broke up was because Jun’s family was pressuring their boy to find a woman to marry, he said. They did not know he was gay.

During cross-examination, Magnotta’s defence lawyer detailed items found on Jun’s computer — hardcore porn movies, some including scenes of bondage, and an online chat with another man in which they discussed coffee enemas in an apparent sexual manner.

Feng said he and Jun didn’t have a sadomasochistic relationship and the two never even discussed that sort of sex, let alone explored it themselves.

Magnotta admitted to killing, dismembering Jun Lin, mailing body parts

From Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer’s opening instructions to the jury Monday. 

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The murder trial was barely underway when the court heard Magnotta admitted to the 2012 slaying. He admitted to killing, dismembering, writing threatening notes and mailing body parts across the country.

But he didn’t change his plea: not guilty. Then the 14-member jury was told Magnotta’s defence lawyer was going to argue his client could not be held criminally responsible for his actions, on account of suffering from a severe mental illness.

With that, the determination of whether Magnotta, 32, is guilty or not rests on whether he was of sound ming during the killing. The goal of the defence now turns on proving Magnotta was so psychologically sick he could not grasp the gravity of his actions. The Crown, meanwhile, is focusing on proving premeditation and intent.

Magnotta seemed ‘normal,’ said he had child

From building manager Eric Schorer’s testimony played Thursday. 

Eric Schorer, who managed the apartment building at 5720 Decarie Blvd. in Montreal, said he met Magnotta in 2012 when the eventual killer responded to an advertisement for a $490-per-month bachelor apartment.

He described Magnotta as a normal and cordial guy, dressed casually in jeans and a top. A guy who spoke with a deep voice and made eye contact during conversation.

Schorer’s testimony was given during the preliminary portion of Magnotta’s trial and played for the jury from a recording, as Schorer has since passed away.

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Magnotta had told Schorer he was interested in living in that area because he had a child nearby and a potential job as a caregiver, but was unemployed at the time.

It is not known whether Magnotta has a child, nor whether he was aware of the building’s five cameras. Schorer told the court he hadn’t pointed the cameras out while showing Magnotta around.

Magnotta wrote threatening letters to prime minister and wife

From Montreal police officer Caroline Simoneau’s testimony Tuesday.

Magnotta included hand-written notes on small pieces of pink paper in each of the four parcels he mailed — two to federal political offices in Ottawa and two to Vancouver-area schools.

Two of those notes, both sent to Ottawa, addressed Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wife, using her maiden name, Teskey. The one included in the box sent to the Conservative Party headquarters, written with black marker and signed with a coloured-in heart, read, “Stephen Harper and Lauren [sic] Teskey will know who this is. They f***ed up big time.”

Included in the box to the Liberal Party, Magnotta wrote, “You need to talk to Laureen Teskey and her family! Lots to hide!”

None of the parcels Magnotta mailed, which included notes, body parts and pink tissue paper, had his name or return address; Each had a different return name and address.

One of the senders’ names was  L.Valentini, another Hubert Chretien, while two boxes were sent bearing the name Bordelais.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to clarify the Crown has referenced one video in court.

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