Monday, October 6, 2014

Canadian man admits to killing, pleads not guilty

The trial of a Canadian man accused of murdering and dismembering a Chinese student in Montreal in 2012 began on Monday with the prosecutor alleging the crime was planned six months in advance, Reuters reports.

Luka Magnotta, 32, admitted on Monday to the acts underlying the five offences he is charged with, including killing Chinese student Jun Lin, 33, but he also pleaded not guilty to each charge.

The judge said the jury will have to decide whether the acts were committed “with the required state of mind for each offense” or, in other words, whether Magnotta was of sound mind.

As well as first-degree murder, Magnotta has been charged with committing indignities to Lin’s body and broadcasting obscene material. He is accused of dismembering Lin and mailing the body parts to Canadian political parties and two elementary schools.

Magnotta, standing behind a glass panel beside his lawyer in a tiny Montreal courtroom, responded “not guilty” as each of the five charges was read by the court clerk.

Crown prosecutor Louis Bouthillier told the jury that evidence in the trial would show that the murder was planned for half a year.

Jury selection for the trial, expected to be one of the most sensational murder trials in Canadian history, took two weeks as the prosecutor and Magnotta’s lawyer chose from some 1,600 candidates in an attempt to find impartial jurors that are as yet unswayed by the intense publicity surrounding the 2012 murder and manhunt.

“You must avoid all media coverage of this case,” Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer told the eight women and six men selected to sit as jurors. “Keep an open mind as the evidence is presented.”

Two of the 14 jurors will be dismissed at the end of the trial with the remaining 12 left to deliberate.

Cournoyer told jurors not to “tweet” about the trial.

A publication ban imposed by the court bars media from reporting certain details of the case. Explicit details were publicized during the international search for Magnotta, but cannot be repeated.

Lin’s father, Diran Lin, traveled from China to attend the trial.

The killing of Lin in the early summer of 2012 shocked Canadians and grabbed headlines around the world. Magnotta was the subject of an international manhunt. He was arrested in an Internet cafe in Berlin, where he was reading about himself.

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