Montreal

Luka Magnotta trial: Father says Magnotta grew up isolated

Luka Magnotta’s father, testifying at the first-degree murder trial in Montreal, says his son was not normal when he was young because he was isolated and had no contact with other children his age.

Father's identity protected by publication ban

Luka Magnotta was arrested in June 2012, one month after the death of Concordia University student Jun Lin. (Rex Features/Canadian Press)

Luka Magnotta’s father says his son was not normal when he was young because he was isolated and had no contact with other children his age.

The father, whose name is protected by a publication ban, told his son's first-degree murder trial Friday that Magnotta’s mother insisted on home-schooling her sons, despite not having graduated from high school herself.

As a result, the boys had no friends and were isolated, the father testified.

“They were mixed-up kids and they still are,” Magnotta’s father said.

The father travelled from Ontario to testify today to “help [his] son,” and he had a clergyman sitting next to him for support during his testimony.

He told the court he was 17 and Magnotta’s mother 16 when she got pregnant and gave birth to Eric Clinton Kirk, Magnotta's birth name. He was named after Clint Eastwood and Kirk Douglas.

Another son followed less than a year later, and a daughter a few years after that.

Magnotta’s father said the boys were taught at home by their mother against his wishes, because she was clingy and wanted to have “total control over them.”

She was also a "germaphobe" and wouldn’t allow the children to use public washrooms, he said.

The family moved back to a Toronto suburb from a smaller town, and when the children started school Magnotta would get beat up, his father testified.

He also alleges Magnotta’s maternal side of the family mistreated the boys, and their maternal grandmother tried to get custody. “She wanted mostly Eric. She smothered him. She favoured him,” he said.

Psychiatric problems

The young couple separated when Magnotta was around 11 or 12, the father struggled to recall.  

He told the court he had a drinking problem for many years because of the problems he had with his wife’s family, but he quit when he realized he had a psychiatric problem.

The witness said Magnotta’s mother also had a problem with vodka.

After the couple split up, he started hearing voices, feeling angry and suicidal, and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. 

He takes nearly a dozen different medications, including antidepressants and anti-psychotic pills.

Magnotta’s father said he still hears voices, but not as often as before, and he has a team of psychiatrists treating him.

He told the Crown prosecutor his condition makes it difficult for him to travel, because he doesn’t like airplanes, open spaces, or changes in plans.

Father referred Magnotta to psychiatrist

The father said that when his eldest son was 19 or 20, he referred him to a psychiatrist because he was worried about his behaviour.

Later, the father’s medical records indicate, Magnotta was hospitalized for hearing voices

The entry, dated March 7, 2003, reads: [The father] has been made aware that his son has been admitted to the 10th floor and has been hearing voices. [He] is worried about his son.”

Not a close relationship

Magnotta’s father visited his son in jail while he was awaiting trial several times, and the father told the court they “connect” and understand each other.

But under cross-examination, he admitted he spent five or 10 years not speaking to Magnotta, and he’s estranged from his other children. Magnotta spent more time with his mother and grandmother, the father testified.

Magnotta spent most of his time staring at the floor as his father, the first defence witness, testified.

Lawyer Luc Leclair aims to prove his client should not be held criminally responsible for his actions.

Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to the five charges against him, but he has admitted to the physical acts behind the charges, including killing 33-year-old Jun Lin and committing an indignity to his body.

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier, who officially rested his case this morning, says the killing was premeditated.

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