Jury selection in Luka Rocco Magnotta’s long-awaited murder trial set to begin

One of Canada’s most publicized and shocking criminal cases resumes Monday when jury selection begins in the first-degree murder trial of Luka Rocco Magnotta.

MONTREAL — One of Canada’s most publicized and shocking criminal cases resumes Monday when jury selection begins in the first-degree murder trial of Luka Rocco Magnotta.

Magnotta, 32, faces five charges in connection with the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin in May 2012.

He has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and the four others: committing an indignity to a body; publishing obscene material; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; and mailing obscene and indecent material.

The case began with the discovery of a human torso stuffed in trash behind a Montreal apartment building in May 2012. Body parts then began surfacing in different parts of Canada — first at federal political offices in Ottawa and, later, at two British Columbia schools.

A video that purportedly depicted a slaying was posted online around the same time and was linked by Montreal police to the discovery of the body parts.

Magnotta is a native of Scarborough, Ont., who, according to police, set up dozens of Internet user names and maintained 70 Facebook pages and 20 websites.

As the case progressed, Magnotta was discovered to have left the country, triggering an international police manhunt that Montreal police said was the largest in which they had taken part.

Interpol became involved and Magnotta was arrested without incident at a Berlin Internet cafe on June 4, several days after Lin’s slaying.

He returned to Canada a few weeks later, escorted by several Montreal police major-crimes detectives aboard a Canadian government plane.

The proceedings have since wound their way through the courts, with the trial proper scheduled to begin Sept. 22.

The case involving Magnotta captured headlines around the world. He was named Canadian newsmaker of the year and news story of the year by editors across the country in 2012 in the annual poll of newsrooms by The Canadian Press.

During the preliminary stages of his case, court appearances generated a circus-like atmosphere at the Montreal courthouse. Even procedural hearings, which journalists rarely attend, were subject to extensive coverage by local and national media.

Magnotta’s lawyer, Luc Leclair, repeatedly tried to limit what could be written about his client while awaiting trial.

Motions were tabled to limit the scope of coverage or forbid the public and media from attending proceedings altogether. The attempts failed, however, with various judges throughout the process expressing confidence Magnotta would still get a fair trial.

Leclair has kept his public comments to a minimum since Magnotta’s arrest, but says his client returned voluntarily from Europe, choosing not to fight extradition.

“He decided to come back to Canada and to face the public in Montreal, in particular, who will be called to judge him…,” Leclair said in April 2013. “He came, personally, to face the court because he has faith in the Canadian judicial system.”

The preliminary inquiry heard from more than 30 witnesses from Montreal and elsewhere in Canada. In recent months, the court travelled to Europe to question witnesses in France and Germany.

Lin’s family have also expressed faith in the justice system and say they don’t want their son to be forgotten.

Jun Lin, 33, was born in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. He realized a long-standing dream by coming to Canada in 2011.

In interviews with the media in April 2013, his family recalled how Lin had a comfortable life working in IT at Microsoft’s Beijing office, but had sought a move to Canada to study and to improve his life.

He was enrolled as a computer engineering student at Concordia University and worked as a part-time convenience store clerk.

Lin’s parents said he was excited about his future in this country.

The family also described struggling mightily with the loss of their only son. His mother, Zhigui Du, talked of losing the will to live after Lin’s death.

Lin was laid to rest in Montreal in July 2012, in the country and city his family said he loved.

The Lin family have been present throughout the proceedings via a Montreal lawyer. Recently, Lin’s father, Diran Lin, formally asked the court to limit access to some of the exhibits considered to be obscene so they aren’t widely published during the trial.

A Montreal lawyer for Lin’s parents and sister said they don’t expect to make any further comments until after the trial.

Prosecutor Louis Bouthillier will represent the Crown while Magnotta will be defended by Leclair, an Ontario-based lawyer.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer will oversee the trial.

Jury selection is expected to run about two weeks. Fourteen bilingual jurors will be chosen to hear the evidence, while 12 of them will eventually decide Magnotta’s fate.

Just Posted

Updated: SUV smashes through fences and deck in Anders

Driver taken to hospital after SUV veered off 30th Avenue into Anders

Art on Red Deer billboard a reminder of aboriginal women’s strength

Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s image is part of Resilience Project, shown from coast to coast

Red Deer’s new ‘equity co-ordinator’ will promote tolerance

Andrea Lacoursiere was hired by city with Alberta Human Rights funding

More bridge work this summer in Red Deer’s Coronation Park

The park’s north bridge is being rebuilt to ensure safety

Man badly injured in off-road vehicle collision on Saturday

Incident happened in Mountain View County about 10:50 p.m.

CFIA inspects after video shows pigs crammed into B.C. transport truck

The video shows pigs piled on top of one another in a transport truck on a “sweltering” hot day last week

Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber falls to Bryce Harper in Home Run Derby final

WASHINGTON — Nationals Park was eerily quiet late Monday when Kyle Schwarber… Continue reading

Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

HONOLULU — An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent… Continue reading

Banff holds blessing ceremony with Indigenous elders before letting bison roam

BANFF, Alta. — Several Indigenous elders were flown by helicopter into the… Continue reading

Research expedition looks at unseen depths of Labrador Sea ecosystem

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Last summer, a team of scientists returned from… Continue reading

Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

REGINA — Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking… Continue reading

British PM accepts key amendments from hardline Brexiteers

LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted amendments to… Continue reading

‘City of icebergs:’ Study says 100s of Arctic glaciers shrinking, disappearing

The statistics in her recently published paper say it all: hundreds of… Continue reading

U.S. hits back with WTO challenge against Canada’s retaliatory tariffs

OTTAWA — The United States fired back Monday at the Canadian government’s… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month