The memory of their brave, handsome, adventurous son will always be tainted by the pain and humiliation of his horrific death, the father of Jun Lin told a Montreal courtroom in a victim impact statement delivered shortly after Luka Magnotta was found guilty of the university student's slaying.
“The murder has robbed us not only of Lin Jun, but our ability to think and talk about him without feeling pain and shame,” the statement reads.
On Tuesday, a jury found Magnotta guilty of first-degree murder and committing an indignity to a body – along with three other charges – in the killing and dismemberment of the 33-year-old Lin in 2012.
The verdict means Magnotta will serve a mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole for 25 years. He was also sentenced to 19 years on four lesser charges, to be served concurrently.
Lin's family said nothing throughout the trial, acknowledging that they did not want to interfere in proceedings.
But shortly after the verdict was read, his family broke its silence through the victim impact statement.
It told of a smart, studious young man who was the pride of his family — an adventurous soul who was eager to start a new life half a world away from home to study computer engineering at Concordia University.
He moved in December 2010, working part-time at a dépanneur in addition to his school work. His family said he had plans to stay in Canada and start a business, “to enjoy your language, your opportunities, your fresh air.”
Before the trial, Lin’s mother told CBC News her son viewed Canada as a place that was welcoming and safe for immigrants.
She said her son’s brutal end had shaken her view of the country.
'We lost a lifetime of hope'
In the victim impact statement, Lin’s father said his son’s death has had a devastating effect on the entire family.
“The night Lin Jun died, parts of many other people died in one way or another. His mother, his sister and me, his friends, Lin Feng. In one night, we lost a lifetime of hope, our futures, parts of our past.”
He said Lin’s mother hasn’t smiled or laughed much since his death and she’ll never be able to work again.
“Lin Jun’s sister has tried to take care of her mother, but she too is unable to work, is sad. She has too much responsibilities now for someone so young. I hope one day she is better.”
The father told the court about the heartbreak and dashed hope of a life and a future that will never be. He said his son will never be there to take care of him in his old age or celebrate another birthday.
"I will never see his smiling face on video chat or hear about his new accomplishments or hear his laugh. Lin Jun”s birthday is on December 30 and he will never be there for his birthday, or ours."
The young man loved China, but was drawn to Canada.
“I have spent now more time in Canada and now know why my son wanted to live here. This knowledge hurts all the more to know what my son is missing by not being alive in your country.”
The statement expresses frustration and sadness over Magnotta’s apparent lack of remorse for his actions and the brutality and public nature of Lin's death, which is still haunting and humiliating for those closest to him. Diran Lin does not speak English, but was present in the court throughout the trial, relying on the assistance of an interpreter.
“I had come to see your trial system to see justice done and I leave satisfied that you have not let my son down," the statement reads.
"I had come to learn what happened to my son that night and I leave without a true or a complete answer. I had come to see remorse, to hear some form of apology, and I leave without anything.”
Lin's father addresses Magnotta's father
Diran Lin also had a message for Magnotta's father, who testified in his son's defence at trial.
Speaking through a lawyer representing the family, Diran Lin said he doesn't blame Magnotta's father, whose name is subject to a publication ban, for what happened.
"He does not think you are responsible for his son’s tragedy." Daniel Urbas, a lawyer who has been working pro-bono for the Lin's, told reporters following the verdict.
"He wants to reassure you he respected your decision to come and tell your truth, and he holds no ill will toward the father."
An online fund was launched after the verdict was delivered on Tuesday to collect funds for the Lin family.
Borden Ladner Gervais, the law firm representing the Lin family, organized the effort.
“The donations collected will be given to the three members of the Lin family to help them rebuild their lives,” the firm said in a news release.
Read the whole statement here: