MONTREAL — The dramatic search for Luka Rocco Magnotta ended at a Berlin Internet cafe in June 2012 with an abrupt admission from the accused that he was the person authorities were looking for.
Confronted by a German police officer in the cafe, Magnotta initially identified himself as Kirk Trammell, an American from New York who didn’t have any identification on him, his murder trial heard Tuesday.
But a persistent German patrol officer, Marc Lilge, continued to question the man, who was stuttering, shaking and sweating, as several police cadets looked on.
Finally, came an admission, Lilge testified.
’“You got me, I’m Mr. Magnotta, I’m the man you’re looking for,”’ Lilge quoted Magnotta as saying.
Magnotta is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Jun Lin in May 2012 in Montreal before fleeing to Paris and then heading to Berlin.
He has admitted to killing the Chinese engineering student, but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.
Lilge said he handcuffed Magnotta immediately and that the Canadian’s last words were that he wanted to leave the scene before the media arrived.
Lilge said Magnotta had a grin on his face as he was transported to a detention centre.
“I have the opinion that, somehow, he felt relieved because he had this grin on his face,” he said.
Magnotta faces four charges in addition to premeditated murder: criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.
Lilge is among the final crop of Crown witnesses being heard by the jury through testimony videotaped last June and July in France and Germany.
The Internet cafe employee who flagged down Lilge said he saw Magnotta looking at news stories about himself on June 4, 2012, and recognized him right away because of his distinctive cheek bones after seeing his photograph in a German newspaper.
Kadir Anlayisli said he walked by him a few times to be sure and noted he was looking at online stories.
“There was a picture of this man and all of a sudden this very man was standing in front of me,” Anlayisli said. “I had read that the cellphone had been tracked in France and here he was in front of me.
“Yes, I did recognize him right away because of his cheek bones. He has weird cheek bones.”
Anlayisli attracted Lilge’s attention and Magnotta was arrested before he could pay for the Internet use.
Another German detective, Alexander Huebner, testified he tried to speak to Magnotta a few hours after his arrest but that he wouldn’t talk. The witness said Magnotta appeared very calm.
“I remember Mr. Magnotta being without emotion,” said Huebner.
Under cross-examination from defence attorney Luc Leclair, Huebner said he couldn’t remember if he told Magnotta he could contact a lawyer.
Lilge said he did tell Magnotta about having the right to an attorney but did not tell him about getting consular assistance.
As of Tuesday, the Crown had presented 46 witnesses since the trial opened in late September.
Defence lawyer Luc Leclair is expected to begin presenting his case Friday.