MONTREAL – It’s a word the mother of dismembered Chinese student Jun Lin never thought she’d associate with the man charged with murdering her son in brutal fashion.
Originally, sorrow and anger dominated Zhigui Du’s thoughts as she asked herself how such an appalling thing could happen to her son in a kind and peaceful country like Canada.
But as she laid her 33-year-old son to rest Thursday, Du said she has begun to feel sympathy on some level toward a man she calls the “devil.”
“Back then, I could only use ‘devil’ to describe the alleged murderer,” said Du, whose son’s gruesome murder captured worldwide attention.
“But later on, when I learned more about this suspect through different news sources, especially about his upbringing, I shockingly discovered my other self who has started to develop sympathy for this person described as ‘devil’.”
Du, who was too distraught to attend the funeral itself, made the remarks through an interpreter during an eulogy she gave at a later news conference.
Lin’s dismembered torso was found May 29 stuffed in a suitcase dumped outside a Montreal apartment building. Various body parts were found mailed to different parts of the country and in a Montreal park.
Luka Rocco Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to several charges in connection with Lin’s death, including a count of first-degree murder.
Any sympathy on Thursday was mixed with a healthy dose of grief and sadness as Lin’s family said their final farewells.
They decided to bury their son’s remains in the land he loved and in the city he loved most.
In an emotional 30-minute ceremony, Lin’s father sobbed openly as he sat in the front row. Before the ceremony began, he entered the chamber and clutched his son’s urn, crying uncontrollably.
Father Henry Rodriguez, who presided over the funeral, called Lin a loving and considerate son who loved life. His life was ended by an “evil act.”
“We need to take this opportunity to turn this horrible situation into something positive that brings justice and peace back to this family and to society,” Rodriguez said.
“We cannot lose our faith and trust in human beings.”
Du looked back fondly on the day her son left China.
“When he left China and came to Canada to study, he wanted us to say goodbye with our smiles,” she said.
“And today, I think it’s time to wipe our tears and see our son go with smiles on our face.”
She said it was ”very difficult” to say goodbye to him.
“But I have been waiting for this day to come, because my son can finally rest in peace in the land that he loves.”
The family says they hope to establish a charity foundation in Lin’s honour that will help young people in distress. Du said it’s a way for the family to give back.
“We have received a lot of help and care from the people here and we want to return something back to this society, to help the youth in need, to help them find their way back to a loving home,” she said.
“Jun Lin has lived a short life, but I think his spirit can continue through this way.”
Lin’s family say they will stay in Montreal and attend court dates next spring, when Magnotta is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing.
A public memorial organized by the Montreal Chinese Alliance Church was held for Lin last Saturday. Various groups are helping to raise money to help Lin’s family stay in Montreal for the duration of the trial.
Concordia University, where Lin studied, has raised money for an award in his name. The university has raised $70,000 thus far.