'Canadian psycho' Luka Rocco Magnotta may have eaten part of victim
THE Canadian porn actor suspected of dismembering and eating his former lover partied in Paris and evaded police for days before he was caught in Berlin, authorities said Tuesday. The suspect told German authorities he would not fight extradition to Canada.
Luka Magnotta, 29, could be returned to Canada as early as this week, according to authorities. He is wanted on suspicion of killing Jun Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese student he dated.
Video footage of what authorities believe to be the killing seems to show the suspect eating the body, Canadian police said on Tuesday – the latest gruesome detail in a case that emerged when a package containing a severed foot was opened at Canada's ruling Conservative Party Headquarters on May 29.
Shortly after the killing, authorities say Magnotta flew from Montreal to Paris. Scores of French police hunting for him were inundated with hundreds of tips and alleged sightings of the suspect, whose photo was splashed in newspaper papers, TV screens and websites worldwide, thanks to an Interpol alert. The suspect monitored news reports about what police knew and took steps to evade authorities.
Witnesses contacted French police with claims of having seen Magnotta partying in the Bastille area of east Paris, said Christophe Crepin, a police union official who shared details about the manhunt in a phone interview with The Associated Press. One tipster said Magnotta drank a late-night Coca-Cola at a bar in the northwestern Batignolles quarter, which police collected for fingerprints. Pornography magazines and an airsickness bag from the plane he had taken from Montreal to Paris were found in a dingy hotel room where he stayed in Bagnolet, northeast of Paris.
"He needed to be seen, and to party," said Mr Crepin, who relayed information he received from agents in the judicial police unit that tracks fugitives. "Naturally some of the people who saw him broke out into a cold sweat when they recognised him."
Magnotta's refusal to stay low eventually got him caught. He was arrested on Monday while reading about himself at an internet café in Berlin after an employee recognised him from a newspaper photo and flagged down a police car.
Magnotta appeared before a German judge in the afternoon and was held pending extradition, police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said. He was then transferred to a Berlin prison from a police detention centre.
He will have to go before a German court for an extradition hearing once Canada formally requests that he be returned for trial, Mr Neuendorf said.
"I assume there will be no problems," he said. "According to his statements to prosecutors he will not fight his extradition."
That means Magnotta could be returned to Canada as early as this week, according to authorities. The Canadian Embassy in Berlin declined to comment on when Ottawa may file the official papers seeking extradition.
Cmdr Denis Mainville, the head investigator of the Montreal police major crimes unit, said investigators will review hundreds of homicide cases over the last 30 years in Montreal and throughout Quebec for any possible links to Magnotta. Mr Mainville said such a review is routine in such cases.
Montreal Police Cmdr Ian Lafreniere said that although police have not been able to conclusively confirm it, they suspect Magnotta ate parts of the victim's body.
"As gross and as graphic as it could be, yes, it was seen on the video," Mr Lafreniere said.
Authorities allege Magnotta filmed the slaying in his Montreal studio apartment and posted it online.
A copy of what police believe is the video of the killing, viewed online by AP, shows a man with an ice pick stabbing another naked, bound male. He also dismembers the corpse and performs sexual acts with it.
It did not show anyone eating the body but did show a man using a fork and knife on it. Police suggested Tuesday that they have access to more extensive video of the killing, possibly an unedited version.
"We're keeping some details for ourselves," Mr Lafreniere said.
Magnotta arrived in Berlin on Saturday on a bus Paris, said Martin Steltner, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors.
Mr Crepin said Magnotta had contacts in Paris from a previous visit in 2010.
"He didn't come to Paris by chance. He knew he could get along in Paris, he knew people," he said. Police, for example, trailed a large-framed man who had been in contact with Magnotta, he said. Police questioned another man with whom Magnotta spent two nights. The man didn't immediately realise who his companion was, Crepin said.
At times, French investigators grew frustrated with leaks in the media – notably a French TV report indicating police had used technology to track Magnotta's mobile phone. As a result, Magnotta turned it off, Mr Crepin said.
"He had closely monitored what we police were doing to concoct his strategy," he said.
Mr Crepin said surveillance camera footage showed Magnotta boarding a bus to Berlin on Friday evening. He said German officials were alerted that Magnotta might be in Berlin at some point before the arrest, but he did not specify when.
The case's full horror emerged on May 29 when a package containing the severed foot was opened at Canada's ruling Conservative Party headquarters and a hand was discovered at a postal facility, addressed to the Liberal Party of Canada. A torso, meanwhile, was found in a suitcase on a garbage dump in Montreal, outside Magnotta's apartment building.
As they unravelled his background, police discovered that Magnotta changed his name from Eric Clinton Newman in 2006 and that he was born in Scarborough, Ontario. He is also known as Vladimir Romanov. Police said he has 70 Facebook accounts under different names.
Montreal police on Tuesday said DNA tests have confirmed that the body parts mailed to the political parties were Lin's remains, and that they have footage of Magnotta mailing the two parcels that were sent to Ottawa.
"The head is still missing," Mr Lafreniere said. "And one hand and one foot is still missing."
He said they had no indication those parts had been shipped anywhere, however.
Zheng Xu, a press spokesman at the Chinese consulate in Montreal, said Lin's family has been contacted and wants to travel to Canada as soon as possible. He said he was not able to give any further details without the family's approval.
In Germany, surveillance camera footage of the café, obtained by The Associated Press, showed Magnotta casually entering the shop at noon local time wearing jeans, a green hoodie sweater and sunglasses. He briefly spoke to the counter clerk, then walked to his assigned computer where he was later spotted reading news about his case.
About two hours later, seven German police officers walk into the shop, without any haste. The footage shows three police officers accompanying the handcuffed Magnotta a couple of minutes after they first entered the café. Magnotta calmly walks alongside them.
Police say he at first tried giving fake names but then conceded: "You got me."