Suspect in body-parts case returned to Canada

MONTREAL — Luka Rocco Magnotta, the lone suspect in a brutal Montreal killing that made headlines around the world, is on a flight bound for Canada.

MONTREAL — Luka Rocco Magnotta, the lone suspect in a brutal Montreal killing that made headlines around the world, is on a flight bound for Canada.

The federal government confirmed Magnotta was aboard a military transport plane that took off Monday from Berlin, where the 29-year-old was arrested earlier this month following an international manhunt.

Amid fevered media reports, there was some confusion about whether the plane had actually managed to take off but the Canadian government confirmed he had left Germany.

“The plane is en route now,” Julie Di Mambro, a spokeswoman for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, wrote in an email.

Magnotta was arrested in a Berlin Internet cafe after Montreal police issued a warrant for his alleged connection to last month’s grisly killing and dismemberment of Montreal university student Jun Lin.

The male escort and porn actor, originally from Scarborough, Ont., is accompanied on the flight by Montreal police officers. He is expected to face numerous criminal charges once he returns to the city, including first-degree murder.

Federal sources say the plane is also carrying German and Canadian officials, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers and Canada Border Services Agency employees. The plane was already in Germany when it added Magnotta as a passenger.

Magnotta is being restrained during the flight.

The plane will land at an undisclosed location. The suspect, however, is expected to be in Montreal as soon as possible to face a judge.

The Quebec prosecutor’s office said Magnotta would likely have to appear in court within 24 hours, in keeping with Article 503 of the Criminal Code.

A spokesman for Berlin’s prosecutor’s office confirmed that Magnotta was extradited Monday, in the custody of Canadian police.

Martin Steltner expressed relief that Magnotta had left his country.

“We are glad that he’s gone,” Steltner said. “A lot of trouble in this case.”

The gruesome details of the Montreal slaying, and the subsequent international police search, whipped up a storm of media interest around the world.

Lin’s torso was found locked inside a suitcase in an alley outside Magnotta’s Montreal apartment building. His hands and feet were mailed separately to the offices of political parties in Ottawa and schools in Vancouver.

DNA tests have confirmed that all the body parts belong to Lin, a Chinese national studying computer science at Concordia University.

The 33-year-old’s head has still not been found and police have made its recovery a priority so the family can have some measure of closure.

Police also believe the killer videotaped the Lin’s death and posted the footage online.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Monday that he’s been pleased with the co-operation between Quebec police and government departments, particularly National Defence for providing a plane on short notice.

He noted that Magnotta himself sped up the process by declining to contest his extradition. Magnotta could have delayed his extradition but chose not to fight it.

“The suspect in this case decided to voluntarily return to Canada, so that this matter can proceed as quickly as possible,” Toews said in Ottawa.

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