Luka Magnotta didn't kill Jun Lin, father tells trial
A court sketch of the Luka Magnotta trial in Montreal, Oct. 31, 2014. (DELF BERG/QMI Agency)
MONTREAL - Luka Magnotta's legal team opened its defence Friday, with his father saying his son heard voices and was once committed to a psych ward but didn't kill Chinese student Jun Lin.
The 50-year-old, whose name is protected by a publication ban, said he's visited his son, 32, four or five times in jail and never asked his son if he killed and dismembered Lin, something Magnotta admits to doing.
"I know he didn't do it, that's just my own feeling," the father said under cross-examination by Crown lawyer Louis Bouthillier.
Referring to Magnotta's birth name, he added, "I know him as Eric Newman."
The defence wants a jury to find Magnotta not criminally responsible because of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
The father laid out his own long history of psychosis, schizophrenia and manic depression, saying he said he and his son "understand each other."
The witness said Magnotta was committed to a psychiatric ward at age 20 after telling him he heard voices.
"He wasn't well, that's as far as I know," said the father.
Saying that he testified to "help my son," the older man described the young Magnotta as a "messed-up" kid who was bullied by schoolmates and isolated by a germophobe mother.
The defendant and his brother and sister grew up in a climate of divorce, physical abuse and alienation in Toronto and the Peterborough, Ont., area, said the father, a tall man with long, greying hair.
The Toronto cleaning worker used a cane and remained seated throughout his testimony.
Magnotta, 32, looked at the floor throughout.
The older man said medication helps him cope with hearing voices telling him to kill himself and to harm others.
"Now I'm stable," the father said under questioning by defence lawyer Luc Leclair.
The father was 18 and the mother just 16 when Magnotta was born in Toronto.
Though Magnotta had a "happy life" as an infant, the family and the marriage deteriorated quickly.
He blamed his now ex-wife for keeping Magnotta out of school until Grade 6.
"Was he a normal child?" Leclair asked.
"No," the father replied. "He didn't have any friends, he was being taught homeschooling, he wasn't learning anything in my opinion."
When asked about Magnotta and his brother, the father replied, "they were very messed-up kids, in all ways, and they still are."
Leclair must persuade the jury that the former porn actor could not form criminal intent despite admitting to killing and butchering Lin, 33, a computer student from Wuhan, China.
The Crown says Magnotta planned six months in advance to kill someone and make a movie about it.
Prosecutor Louis Bouthillier used the father to attack Magnotta's credibility on Friday.
The prosecutor mentioned a woman who once accused Magnotta of sleeping with his father's new wife.
The father said he confronted his wife and Magnotta, and that the accuser was lying.
"What makes you so sure she's the liar and they're not the liars?" Bouthillier asked.
"I can't be sure," the father replied.
"Because you weren't there," Bouthillier added.
The witness said, "No, I wasn't."