Luka Magnotta trial: Defence says 'madness' explains killing
Defence lawyer asks jury to look into 'vacant' eyes of accused
In surprisingly brief closing arguments, Luka Magnotta’s defence lawyer asked the jury to find his client not criminally responsible for the five charges against him, including first-degree murder, because Magnotta was not in his right mind when he killed and dismembered Jun Lin.
- Luka Magnotta case: The challenges of a 'not criminally responsible' defence
- Grisly video evidence could take a toll on jurors
Luc Leclair focused on Magnotta's "state of madness" in his summation, using surveillance video to point out behaviour that he called “insane” in the hours following the killing.
Magnotta has admitted to killing and dismembering Lin, 33, but has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him by reason of mental illness.
Leclair told jury members they could use their own common sense and disregard the reports compiled by two psychiatrists hired by the defence to assess Magnotta, hundreds of pages that ended with the conclusion that the accused was in a psychotic state and did not know what he was doing was wrong.
“Put them aside,” Leclair said. “You're not obligated to follow the opinion of psychiatrists. You can decide that Mr. Magnotta was not able to realize the consequence of his acts.”
Focus on the evidence, jury told
Leclair asked jury members to focus on the evidence submitted at trial.
He pointed to medical records that show Magnotta started complaining of symptoms of schizophrenia at the age of 19.
Leclair said that “there’s no doubt” Magnotta suffers from schizophrenia, a condition detailed in his medical records.
As the defence lawyer continued with closing arguments, he jumped from example to example in a disjointed manner.
He suggested the jury read in great detail one of Magnotta’s hospital reports, but in the next sentence, he told them to do what they wished.
“I’m not sure if I’ve lost you or not, but I hope not,” Leclair said at one point.
‘Madness is madness’
Leclair played surveillance video of Magnotta walking in and out of his apartment in the hours before and after the killing, punctuating the clips by pointing out to the jury the behaviour he thinks proves insanity.
The jury once again saw Magnotta walking in the lobby wearing Lin’s yellow T-shirt, shortly after the killing.
“That’s not normal,” Leclair told the court, “He’s in a state of madness.”
As for the image of Magnotta wearing the victim’s blue-and-white baseball cap, Leclair said the video shows “it’s not a trophy, he’s not parading around.”
Leclair listed a string of what he said were examples of strange behaviour: the fact that Magnotta started rumours he was dating Karla Homolka; how he travelled to London to deny he was behind cat torture videos; that he once brought his puppy to a date, but forgot to bring the puppy’s milk.
He also brought up the photo taken while Magnotta was speaking to British journalist Alex West, telling the jury to look into Magnotta’s “vacant” eyes.
“Madness is madness,” Leclair summed up, referring specifically to a report detailing Magnotta’s visit to a Miami hospital in early 2011.
He called Magnotta an “entity that lived, that will live,” but said “there’s a large gulf between the man and the reality.”
Leclair ended by asking jury members to use their common sense and life experience to try to understand the accused’s insanity.
The Crown, which alleges the killing was premeditated, will deliver its closing arguments Thursday morning, with the jury set to begin deliberating after final instructions on Friday.
Two jurors will be randomly excluded from the deliberations, since the law allows for a maximum of 12 people to reach a final verdict.