Witnesses heard from Montreal, Vancouver and Europe as Crown winds down Magnotta case

The Crown’s last in-person witness testified at Luka Rocco Magnotta’s murder trial on Monday as the high-profile criminal proceedings entered their fifth week.

MONTREAL — The Crown’s last in-person witness testified at Luka Rocco Magnotta’s murder trial on Monday as the high-profile criminal proceedings entered their fifth week.

Ballistics expert Gilbert Desjardins was asked about six tools recovered in the garbage outside Magnotta’s apartment building and markings that appeared on the bones of victim Jun Lin.

The tools were a pair of scissors, two knives, a screwdriver, an oscillating saw and a hammer.

Desjardins testified that marks consistent with that of a saw blade were found on Lin’s vertebrae.

Also, marks he said were caused by either a knife or an exacto blade left superficial marks on some of the bones.

No marks on the bones were linked to the screwdriver or the scissors, Desjardins told the court.

More than 40 witnesses had been heard from as of Monday afternoon, including some who appeared through video conference from Vancouver and some from Europe who were interviewed this past summer.

One of those was Jean-Christophe Robert, a Paris resident who met with Magnotta when the accused fled to France shortly after Lin’s slaying and dismemberment in late May 2012.

Robert’s first contact with Magnotta was in April or May 2012 when they hooked up via an online chat site called Planete Romeo.

He said he initially expected Magnotta in Paris on June 4 — the day he was ultimately arrested in Berlin.

Instead, he showed up on May 27 and ended up spending the night at his apartment after their conversations went late.

Four days later, he discovered who “Luke” really was while reading a news story on his smartphone.

“The first word that comes to mind is panic,” said Robert. “After that, reflection.”

He called police with two pieces of information: the name of the hotel Magnotta was staying at and a French mobile number he’d used to contact him.

Earlier on Monday, a Montreal lawyer testified about a relative’s name that ended up on two packages containing some of Lin’s body parts.

Sylvie Bordelais said her mother’s name, Renee Bordelais, appeared on boxes that were mailed to political offices in Ottawa.

Bordelais said her 81-year-old mother was living in the Caribbean in May 2012 and not at the Canadian address that appears on the packages.

Bordelais didn’t recognize the writing and said her mother has health problems that would have prevented her from being able to write.

Magnotta, 32, faces five charges: first-degree 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.

He has admitted to the killing but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.

The Crown is expected to wrap up its case this early this week and the defence is tentatively scheduled to begin presenting its case Friday.

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