Luka Magnotta jury hears details of victim’s autopsy, likely cause of death
Watch above: Prosecutors say Frank Rubert could have been Luka Magnotta’s next victim. Mike Armstrong reports.
Warning: this story contains graphic content.
MONTREAL — A long cut along Jun Lin’s neck was his most probable cause of death, a forensic pathologist concluded after a five-day autopsy on the Chinese student.
“We can not exclude blunt injuries noted to the head from the cause of death, if they were inflicted while the victim was alive, but that couldn’t be determined in the autopsy,” reads the report, filed in July 2012.
Forensic pathologist Yann Dazé offered succinct, matter-of-fact testimony as he walked the jury through one of the more graphic phases of Luka Magnotta’s first-degree murder trial.
READ MORE: Luka Magnotta surveillance videos released
Dazé performed the autopsy on 33-year-old Jun Lin, whose body was found in pieces either tossed into the trash or mailed through the post.
Different body parts arrived for autopsy at different times and in different conditions, Dazé said as his chief testimony began Thursday. He told the jury a toxicology report indicated Lin had sleeping pills and allergy medication in his system.
WATCH: Berlin witness takes stand at Magnotta trial. Domenic Fazioli reports (Oct.8).
The pathologist, speaking in French, said he could qualify Lin’s autopsy as “difficult,” not only on account of those circumstances, but also because the body had suffered considerable trauma. Dazé identified three types of weapons used to kill Lin and destroy his body: sharp, blunt and pointed.
Dazé, reading from his autopsy report, noted the victim’s body suffered 55 stabs in total — 37 to the upper body and 18 to the abdomen, some so deep they punctured the victim’s lungs and intestines. These injuries were inflicted after the victim was already dead, likely with the screwdriver investigators found in the piles of trash Magnotta left behind when he fled Montreal.
There were another 73 superficial cuts to Lin’s back, arms and legs; a part of his buttocks was cut out; and the tips of Lin’s fingers were damaged in a way Dazé said might indicate Magnotta had tried to remove the victim’s fingerprints. Analysis concluded those injuries were also inflicted after death – likely with a knife, the pathologist said.
Lin’s head was found more than a month after the killing in a Montreal park, partly hidden by tall vegetation. It was in an advanced state of decay by the time Dazé was able to analyze it, he said.
Particular coloration along one laceration on the neck indicated it was inflicted while Lin was still alive, Dazé explained. The overall state of the head, however, prohibited Dazé from determining whether it was fully removed from the rest of the body before or after Lin had died from other wounds, he said.
The pathologist also noted blunt force traumas to the skull, likely delivered with the hammer investigators recovered from Magnotta’s items. There were so many fractures on the skull Dazé said he could not count them.
The pathologist also described the dismemberment in detail, concluding the victim’s arms, legs, hands and feet were removed once Lin was already dead.
Dazé said he had some knowledge of the case when he began the autopsy: He knew of a cut-up body left outdoors for some time. He knew some body parts were found in different places, including a suitcase, garbage bags, park, two political offices in Ottawa and two schools in Vancouver.
He was also aware, he said, police had found a screwdriver, scissors, knives and a small electric saw.
Montreal police investigator Claudette Hamlin, who testified over several days earlier in the trial, showed Dazé 10 photos for reference, he said.
He said before the autopsy he had heard of the movie posted online alleging to show Lin’s killing, beheading and dismemberment, but didn’t watch it – not even one frame.
One reason, he said, is someone could argue that watching the movie would create a prejudice, should he ever be called to testify. Secondly, “I see enough disgusting things at my work.”
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