Luka Magnotta was ultra-organized in premeditated killing, Crown says
WARNING: This story contains graphic details and language
Luka Magnotta was organized as he put his plan to kill into action, Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier told the jury during closing arguments at the Ontario man's murder trial, as he asked them to find the accused guilty on all five charges against him.
Bouthillier presented his arguments in a meticulous way in a Montreal courtroom, starting first with a detailed timeline of Magnotta’s actions after he killed Concordia University student Jun Lin, 33, and then moving on to highlight testimony from each witness heard at the trial.
The prosecutor called Lin a "perfect victim — the one Magnotta was waiting for," because he didn't have any family in Canada who would worry and call police as soon as he went missing.
Bouthillier told the court all of Magnotta’s actions point to someone who was “purposeful, mindful, ultra-organized and ultimately responsible for his actions.”
Magnotta, 32, is being tried on charges of first-degree murder, committing an indignity to a body, publishing obscene material, mailing obscene material and criminally harassing Stephen Harper and other MPs. He has pleaded not guilty because of mental illness.
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Bouthillier went through every movement Magnotta made after the killing that was caught on video camera, pausing on the pizza the accused ordered and the 16 trips he made, sometimes with sagging bags in hand, to throw garbage out in the basement of the apartment building where he was living and where he killed Lin.
A man on a mission
To prove his theory that Magnotta was a man on a mission, Bouthillier focused on the mere minutes between his errands, stopping at a post office to mail boxes with body parts and then heading to a store to buy new sheets.
“He’s not losing much time,” Bouthillier noted. “He was a very, very busy man.” Purposeful even, Bouthillier said, and there was no indication he was not connected to reality, as his defence lawyer has suggested.
The prosecutor moved on to extracting the key testimony from each witness the jury heard from, including the apartment manager who never told Magnotta there were surveillance cameras in the building, or the pathologist who noted no defensive wounds on the victim.
The most important witness and the most important piece of evidence, Bouthillier told the jury, was U.K. journalist Alex West and the threatening email Magnotta sent him.
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It talked about the urge to kill, referenced cat torture videos and warned that the writer was producing a movie “that will have some humans in it, not just pussys.”
The prosecutor told the court there is an old saying: “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.”
“And boy, did he ever back it up,” Bouthillier said, adding that six months later, Lin was dead and a video showing some of the crime was posted online.
Bouthillier reminded the jury of the police officer who testified that one week after killing Lin, Magnotta deleted from his computer photos and videos that were used in the video posted online.
“Ask yourselves whether Mr. Magnotta, having known the police were after him, was starting to try to get some damning evidence out of his computer,” Bouthillier told the jury.
“Would someone who knew right from wrong do that?” the Crown prosecutor asked, suggesting Magnotta was trying to cover his tracks.
The prosecutor told the jury that none of the last three doctors who saw Magnotta before the killing observed symptoms of schizophrenia.
But once in custody in Germany and awaiting extradition, Bouthillier suggested that Magnotta faked symptoms of mental illness to the psychiatrist assigned to treat him.
“That’s when he started to malinger, to try to get out of the situation in which he found himself,” the prosecutor told the jury.
Mistakes and luck
The Crown prosecutor pointed to three incidents that he said changed the course of Magnotta’s plan, and alerted police to the killing.
The fact that the janitor of his apartment building got curious about a locked suitcase that had been sitting at the curb for several days was the first, Bouthillier said.
The other was the cameras at the post office that caught images of Magnotta sending packages to Ottawa, and the last one was a fax sent to police that led them to find the victim’s skull after the accused’s arrest.
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The prosecutor told the jury that it was a combination of mistakes Magnotta made and lucky breaks for the police that led to his arrest at an internet café in Berlin.
Bouthillier ended his summation by asking the jury to watch the video showing parts of the crime that Magnotta edited, with background music, and then posted online.
The uploaded video does not show Magnotta’s face, even though he is seen on longer, unedited clips found on his camera.
“Sure, [Magnotta] is narcissistic, but not that narcissistic, I guess,” Bouthillier said.
Now that closing arguments are done, the jury will need final instructions from the judge before they begin deliberating to reach a verdict.
The instructions were originally planned for Friday, but have been rescheduled to Monday morning to give the judge more time to prepare.