The witnesses: Who has the Crown called to testify in the Luka Magnotta trial?
MONTREAL — The third week of Luka Magnotta’s first-degree murder trial gets underway Tuesday. Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier has so far called 12 witnesses as he works to convince the jury Magnotta was of sound mind and planned to brutally kill and dismember 33-year-old Jun Lin in May 2012.
In his cross examinations, defence attorney Luc Leclair has made attempts to discredit some witnesses by questioning their professionalism and reliability in his attempt to convince the jury his client was so psychologically sick when he killed Lin that he cannot beheld criminally responsible.
Here is a look at who the Crown has so far called to testify:
1. Caroline Simoneau: Montreal police forensic investigator who took photographs in the early days of the investigation, when Jun Lin’s torso was first discovered in a suitcase outside the building where Magnotta had been renting an apartment. She photographed the suitcase, the mountain of items collected from garbage bags piled outside on the curb as well as the four parcels Magnotta mailed out to Ottawa and Vancouver.
2. Chantal Turmel: Montreal police investigator who photographed the scene where Magnotta stabbed, cut and sliced Lin. She showed that unit 208 was emptied out and wiped down, appearing clean at first blush. A closer look, however, showed spatters, smudges and pools of what appeared to be blood throughout the bachelor apartments.
3. Richard Dionne: Montreal police investigator who, through a series of photographs, walked the court along a path in a Montreal park, leading to the grisly discovery of Lin’s severed head more than a month after he was killed.
4. Feng Lin: Jun Lin’s former boyfriend, who flew in from China to testify. Questioning from the two sides of the court revealed two distinct descriptions of the friend Feng lost — a healthy, loving and gentle man, versus a secretive man who was into bondage and casual sex.
5. Eric Schorer: Building manager at the apartment building who met Magnotta earlier in 2012 when the killer responded to an advertisement for the $490-a-month 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 over speakers because he has since passed away.
6. Michael Nadeau: Janitor at the apartment building who discovered the torso inside a suitcase and called police. Nadeau also took the garbage bags from the basement of the building to the curb, probably completely unaware he was carrying body parts, tools likely used in the killing and bloodstained clothes.
7. Luc Savard: Montreal police computer technician who recovered footage from a number of cameras including the apartment building and a post office. During his testimony, he explained how he tested the accuracy of the surveillance cameras in question.
8. Claudette Hamlin: Detective sergeant with the Montreal police who presented the surveillance tapes from the apartment building, Montreal and Paris airports, a Paris bus station and the Berlin Internet cafe where Magnotta was arrested. She also obtained phone records and went through thousands of photos on Lin’s computer. She said police could not solve two mysteries about the case: How Lin and Magnotta met and the identity of the mystery man who spent a night at Magnotta’s one week before Lin.
9. Dong Dong Xu: Friend of Lin living in Montreal for around three years now. He is originally from China, and spent a lot of time with Lin and Lin’s boyfriend. Lin’s boyfriend had moved back to China just weeks before the killing. After he hadn’t heard from his lover and friend for almost two full days, he enlisted the help of Xu who led a frantic search around Montreal in a futile attempt to find Lin.
10. Thomas Murphy: Former U.S. Navy officer who hired Magnotta as an escort several times over three months, just before Magnotta killed Lin. Murphy described his escort as a nice, simple, young kid who was “trying to make a few bucks.” Murphy said he saw Magnotta as a clean-cut guy. They had a date to meet on May 21 — three days before Magnotta would take Lin home and kill him — but Magnotta never returned Murphy’s text, he told the court. The next time Murphy saw Magnotta was in a photograph on the news, wearing a striped red, white and blue tank top.
11. Frank Rubert: Berlin man who housed the killer for his remaining days of freedom. He’d met Magnotta — who had been using an alias — through an online dating service called Gay Romeo. They hit it off, spent an entire afternoon and evening chatting online, and eventually the seemingly nice, young man Rubert met said he’d like to visit his new friend in Berlin. Rubert remained unaware of who was sleeping under his roof until he decided to pick up a newspaper on June 4, the day Magnotta was arrested.
12. Yann Dazé: Forensic pathologist who performed autopsy on Lin and determined the long cut along the victim’s neck was the most probable cause of death. Dazé was forced to defend his professionalism and expertise Friday, when Magnotta’s lawyer suggested some of the expert’s actions rendered him “incompetent.”
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