MONTREAL – A Canadian man accused of killing and dismembering a Chinese student in Montreal in 2012 admitted on Monday to committing the acts he is accused of, but his lawyer said he is schizophrenic and therefore not criminally responsible.
Luka Magnotta, 32, admitted 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.
Magnotta is charged with first-degree murder, committing indignities to Lin’s body and broadcasting obscene material. He is accused of dismembering Lin and mailing body parts to Canadian political parties and two elementary schools.
“A person is not responsible if he or she suffers from a mental disorder at the time of the act,” defense lawyer Luc Leclair told the jury.
Standing beside Leclair behind a glass panel in a tiny Montreal courtroom, Magnotta responded “not guilty” as each of the five charges was read by the court clerk.
Earlier on Monday, the prosecutor alleged Magnotta had started to plan to kill a human being and make a movie of it six months in advance, citing an email Magnotta allegedly sent to a journalist.
Leclair said Magnotta had been seen for years by different psychiatrists, and that he had been diagnosed in Montreal in 2012 with having a borderline personality disorder. Other psychiatrists have diagnosed him with schizophrenia, Leclair said.
Surveillance images from Magnotta’s apartment building in Montreal in 2012 showed him walking with Jun Lin, an engineering student and convenience store clerk, prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said.
“These images from the surveillance cameras are the last images of Jun Lin alive,” Bouthillier said.
Eight women and six men make up the jury, but two of the 14 will be dismissed at the end of the trial with the remaining 12 left to deliberate.
“You must avoid all media coverage of this case,” Quebec Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer told the jurors. “Keep an open mind as the evidence is presented.”
Cournoyer told jurors not to tweet about the trial.
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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