Diran Lin lost everything when he lost his son, Jun Lin. Now, the only consolation the grieving father will settle for is knowing why Luka Magnotta chose to murder the Concordia University student.
"What he did was very cruel," Diran Lin said on Monday morning in Montreal.
He addressed the media with the help of a translator, nearly one week after Magnotta was handed a guilty verdict for killing the 33-year-old Chinese student in 2012.
He said he still hoped to meet Magnotta in person to ask him why he killed Lin.
"I have nothing to say to him. He’s a beast. He’s worse than a beast. But I just want to ask him why he did this," Diran Lin said.
He commended the Canadian legal system and Judge Guy Cournoyer for finding Magnotta guilty of first-degree murder.
He said he was satisfied by the punishment — first-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence in prison with no chance of parole before 25 years. Magnotta was also found guilty of four other charges.
Lin's father spent four months in Montreal, sitting in the courtroom every day of Magnotta's murder trial. He retired to a room when the court was shown graphic evidence of the murder.
"I came here for the trial first, because I miss my son," Diran Lin said.
"Another reason was to find out why it happened, but there is no result for this."
A visibly emotional Diran Lin thanked Montrealers, Chinese students in the city and journalists for caring about his son's death.
“I want to say thank you from my own heart."
Diran Lin said he expressed concern when his son told him he wanted to move to Montreal to do his master's degree in computer engineering at Concordia.
'No matter what sexual preference he [had], I love my son. I respect his freedom.'
- Diran Lin
Lin promised his father before moving from Beijing to Montreal that the city was safe.
He said he has visited the city on a few occasions and that he believed his son would be secure while attending Concordia.
Even after his son's horrific death, Diran Lin said he believed Montreal was a safe and welcoming city.
Over the course of the 10-week trial, Lin's father has become recognizable.
He said people approach him on the street to comfort him, and that he received dinner invitations from members of the Chinese community during his time in Montreal.
During Magnotta's trial, witnesses who knew Lin — including his former boyfriend Lin Feng — testified that Lin hid his homosexuality from his family.
On Monday, when asked about how he felt regarding this discovery, Diran Lin said he had up until recently not been aware of the term "sexual preference."
He said he often told his son to find a woman to marry and have children, and that Lin typically obeyed his parents.
He wished his son could have become a father.
"No matter what sexual preference he [had], I love my son. I respect his freedom," he said.
Dec. 30 would have been Lin's birthday. Diran Lin said he would go to Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery where Lin's ashes are interred to mark the occasion.
Diran Lin, father of Jun Lin, addressed the media on Monday morning, nearly a week after Luka Magnotta was convicted of murdering his son. (CBC)
Diran Lin quit his job to come to Montreal for Magnotta's trial.
Lin said his wife, who stayed in China, is in poor health and is being looked after by a doctor.
As for himself, he said his hair turned grey over the course of the trial.
Diran Lin is expected to return to Beijing in January, but he doesn't know quite what he is going back to.
"Losing my son means losing everything to me," he said.
A fund was started by the law firm representing the Lin family members to help them get back on their feet.
So far, $15,000 has been collected for the family. Lawyer Daniel Urbas said more donations are needed to help support Diran Lin, his wife and his daughter.