MONTREAL — Luka Rocco Magnotta fell in love with a male nurse while in detention in April 2013 and misread his kindness as an opening to a sexual relationship, his first-degree murder trial heard Thursday.
Magnotta’s treating psychiatrist, Dr. Renee Roy, testified that the nurse worked in a wing where Magnotta was being held at a Montreal detention centre.
The man initially complimented Magnotta on his clothing, triggering the accused to write the nurse a sexually explicit letter.
Roy said Magnotta even dimmed the lights to his cell in an attempt to seduce the unidentified man.
The interest, she testified, was not solicited by the employee.
“The only thing that happened … the nurse in question was kind and complimented him on his clothing,” she said, adding there was never any sexual contact between the two.
Magnotta, who is standing trial in the May 2012 slaying of Jun Lin, later expressed disappointment at misreading the signs. Roy said he was saddened when the detention centre reassigned the nurse.
Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier asked Roy whether it was uncommon for someone with a serious mental health issue to have such romantic attachments.
Roy, who has treated Magnotta since November 2012, replied that it was not, although medications can sometimes have an impact on libido in patients.
She also said the psychiatrist who initially treated Magnotta in prison released him from care in August 2012, saying he didn’t need constant treatment once his medications had been regulated.
“Mr. Magnotta remained incarcerated, but was no longer subject to a psychiatric follow-up,” Roy said.
Dr. Jacques Talbot saw Magnotta six times between June and November 2012, mainly because he was displaying side-effects from his medication.
Roy said Magnotta eventually asked to be seen by a different psychiatrist because he expressed concerns about Talbot’s English skills.
But she added that the primary reason he wanted a new doctor was that he could go back on Risperidone, an anti-psychotic medication Talbot had removed.
The medication has secondary effects that are not unlike symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, Roy said.
“I discussed it with him and I told him I was not at all in favour of putting him back on the medication,” she said. “I told him it was not a good idea and Dr. Talbot had done a good job by taking him off.”
Magnotta, 32, has admitted to killing Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese engineering student, but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.
He 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.