MONTREAL — Relatives of a former prime minister and a notorious killer testified at Luka Rocco Magnotta’s murder trial Friday after their names and return addresses were listed on packages sent by the accused.
Neither Hubert Chretien nor Logan Valentini knew Magnotta but they were called to testify because the packages he sent to Vancouver schools in May 2012 contained body parts of his victim, Jun Lin.
Valentini, whose sister Karla Homolka was sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter in a high-profile murder case involving herself and Paul Bernardo in the 1990s, told jurors she didn’t mail any such box to False Creek Elementary.
Valentini, who changed her name from Lori Homolka in 1996, said via video link from Kitchener, Ont., she was blown away when police called her in 2012.
They wouldn’t give her specifics but she used the Internet to figure out the case in question.
“I was kind of stunned, I didn’t know why I would be dragged into something again that had nothing to do with me,” she told the court.
The jury heard that Homolka is living in Quebec with her spouse, Thierry Bordelais. Valentini said she’d seen her sister recently.
She added it is common knowledge she is Homolka’s sibling.
“Everybody knows,” said the 43-year-old native of St. Catharines, Ont.
“It’s been in the media that I’ve changed my name and what I changed it to.
“I didn’t want to change my identity, I just didn’t want to be associated with something and get a bad rep for something I didn’t do or have knowledge of. I just wanted to be able to live my life, quietly and free.”
Earlier, one of Jean Chretien’s sons told a similar tale related to his name and address being listed on another Magnotta-mailed package sent to a second Vancouver school.
Hubert Chretien said he doesn’t know Magnotta and never mailed the package, which misspelled his first name as “Hurbert.”
Chretien, who runs a non-profit organization, said his family links are well established and his biographical information is easily found on the Internet.
“My father is a lot better known than I am,” he testified from the courthouse in Gatineau, Que. “But by extension, I’m well known, yes.”
Chretien said he received a call about two years ago from a police homicide detective.
“It wasn’t really pleasant that my name was used,” he said.
“I was pretty surprised. It was something that was strange. I didn’t understand.”
Later on Friday, the case heard from an Air Transat employee who confirmed that Magnotta had purchased a round-trip plane ticket to Paris on May 25 several hours after Lin’s death.
The flight, which cost $1,080.50, left Montreal on May 26.
Airline records confirmed Magnotta never boarded the return flight on June 1.
The employee, Steve Fradette, said the ticket was purchased at 4:37 p.m., providing a time-stamped document to back up the testimony. It contradicted the testimony of a witness last week who said the ticket was purchased at 4:38 a.m. on the same day.
Magnotta, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in Lin’s slaying and dismemberment.
He has admitted the physical acts he’s accused of but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.
The Crown intends to show the killing was planned and deliberate and that the slaying had been in the works up to six months in advance.
Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier will also try to prove Magnotta murdered and dismembered Lin and that he sent body parts to Ottawa and Vancouver and hid his head in a Montreal park.
On Thursday, the jury watched the so-called murder video that depicts the dismemberment and desecration of Lin’s body.
The defence has said it will argue Magnotta is schizophrenic and was not criminally responsible at the time of the killing.
Magnotta faces four other charges: 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.
The trial resumes Monday.