Court hears details of Luka Magnotta’s dramatic arrest in Berlin
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to clarify the Crown has referenced one video in court.
MONTREAL — Luka Magnotta spent one hour and 43 minutes at a Berlin Internet cafe on June 4, 2012 before German officers arrived on the scene and apprehended him, the jury in Magnotta’s first-degree murder trial heard Tuesday.
Montreal police investigator Claudette Hamlin showed the surveillance tape from the store during the second day of her cross-examination.
The footage was dark, but Magnotta was seen stopping briefly outside the shop on a sunny day, then entering at 11:54 a.m. June 4, wearing sunglasses. He approached the counter, removed his sunglasses, spoke briefly with the store clerk, then walked past the camera’s view, further into the Internet cafe.
At 1:36 p.m. a man is seen standing leaning on the doorframe, looking out onto the street. He waved his right arm, signalling up the street toward his left.
READ MORE: Luka Magnotta surveillance videos released
Then a police truck passed on the street. At 1:37, seven German police officers entered the store. The camera remained pointed at the desk, leaving the police and Magnotta out of view.
Some customers exited. One woman, wearing a purse on one arm, entered. She stopped at the desk, and appeared to have a conversation with the clerk.
The first police officer walked out of the Internet cafe at 1:41, less than five minutes after coming in. On his heels, another officer escorted Magnotta outside, all passing behind the woman with the purse.
Two men stopped in their tracks on the street as the rest of the officers left the Internet cafe.
Throughout her cross-examination by defence attorney Luc Leclair, Hamlin screened footage from the airport in Montreal where Magnotta left on May 26, 2012 to fly to Paris, from the Paris airport upon his arrival and from the bus station in Paris where, on May 31, 2012, Magnotta left for Berlin.
READ MORE: What did we learn in week one of the trial?
Hamlin also went through items police found in the hotel room in which Magnotta stayed, including a Mickey Mouse t-shirt he wore during the flight to Europe, an empty wallet, some papers with writing and a contact lens case with one blue lens.
On Monday, the Montreal court released the footage Montreal police investigators recovered from five cameras in Magnotta’s apartment building, providing a haunting timeline of the hours and days that passed from the fateful moment Jun Lin walked into the Montreal building with his killer in May 2012, until Magnotta left the building for good to take off for Paris less than 48 hours later.
WATCH: Luka Magnotta and Jun Lin arrive together at Magnotta’s apartment
The jury on Monday saw evidence of Magnotta spending the night with an unidentified male, less than one week before killing Jun Lin in his dingy bachelor apartment.
Hamlin showed the court surveillance footage of the mystery man entering the apartment building on the night of May 18, 2012, walking in behind Magnotta.
At 4:30 a.m. the following morning, the cameras caught Magnotta in the basement garbage room, throwing something out. He was next seen leaving the building briefly at 11 a.m. And finally, the mystery man was seen leaving with Magnotta at 11:30 a.m., apparently requiring a hand from Magnotta to help steady himself.
It is not yet known whether this is the man Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said last week was seen on the same video tape depicting Lin’s killing and dismemberment, parts of which were posted online.
Despite an exhaustive search, Montreal police have not been able to identify the man who spent the night with Magnotta, investigator Hamlin told the court.
Bouthillier has also made certain the jury was aware of Magnotta’s meticulous, though imperfect, clean-up efforts and that Magnotta appeared to wear some of his victim’s clothing — a t-shirt and baseball cap — in the hours and days following the killing.
WATCH: Magnotta seen leaving apartment wearing Jun Lin’s shirt
Another mystery the investigators never solved, this one revealed during Hamlin’s cross-examination, is how and when Lin and his eventual killer met — despite poring over a mountain of photos, downloads and online chats from Lin’s computer, as well as Magnotta’s phone records.
Leclair is tasked with convincing the jury that, although his client has admitted to everything of which he is accused, he can not be held criminally responsible on account of suffering from a severe mental illness.
Leclair must also defend against the Crown’s allegations of premeditation and intent. His questioning to Hamlin revealed Magnotta travelled under his full name, Luka Rocco Magnotta, and purchased a ticket to Paris online via Expedia at 4:38 a.m. on May 25 — shortly after his apartment building’s surveillance footage showed him wearing what looked exactly like his victim’s t-shirt.
WATCH:Luka Magnotta leaves the apartment with a small black dog and returns minutes later. The dog was later found dead among the trash left outside the apartment building.
The Air Transat flight to Paris left the following evening, after Magnotta spent hour upon hour clearing out his apartment, acquiring a suitcase and visiting a Canada Post location, according to police testimony.
The defence also pointed out twice that Lin’s computer contained downloads of racy-sounding material. His intention there, the trial judge explained, is to suggest Lin had a propensity for casual sex and a penchant for bondage — two characteristics that could have led him to Magnotta’s apartment when things simply went horribly wrong.
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