MONTREAL – A Canadian man was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for killing and dismembering his Chinese lover and mailing the body parts to schools and political parties across a horrified country.
Luka Magnotta, a former porn actor, was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder in the 2012 slaying of Jun Lin, 33, after eight days of deliberations. The conviction carried a mandatory life sentence, with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
"He wanted to be judged by a jury of his peers," Magnotta's lawyer Luc Leclair said on his client's behalf. "He accepts the verdict. For quite some time he has been preparing for the verdict with his father, some friends and his therapist. He has been focusing on rebuilding his life."
Leclair said Magnotta will take some time to examine the merits of an appeal. He has 30 days to file one.
Magnotta was also convicted on four related charges and given maximum sentences allowed under Canada's Criminal Code, ranging from two to 10 years, for those charges.
Magnotta, 32, had pleaded not guilty. While he admitted to the slaying, he sought to be found not criminally responsible by reason of insanity but did not testify during the trial. His lawyer argued he is schizophrenic and couldn't tell right from wrong at the time of the slaying.
The prosecution countered the crime was both planned and deliberate.
"I thought we had good evidence of premeditation," said prosecutor Louis Bouthillier outside the Montreal court house. "There was never a doubt the jury would find Magnotta guilty of first-degree murder."
A key piece of evidence for the prosecution was an email Magnotta sent to a British reporter of his macabre plan six months before the murder.
Reporter Alex West confronted Magnotta in London in December 2011 about cat killing videos he made that had created a stir online. Magnotta replied with an email that cats were just the beginning.
"Next time you hear from me it will be in a movie I am producing, that will have some humans in it ..." Magnotta wrote near the end of the email sent Dec. 10, 2011.
Later in that message, he added: "Once you kill, and taste blood, its impossible to stop. The urge is just too strong not to continue."
After the verdicts, a lawyer read out an impact statement on behalf of Lin's father, Diran Lin, who traveled to Montreal from China and watched proceedings throughout the trial from a private room in the courthouse.
"I had come to see your trial system, to see justice done and I leave satisfied that you have not let my son down," the statement said, read by lawyer Daniel Urbas. "I had come to see remorse, to hear some form of apology, and I leave without anything."
The case shocked Canadians and quickly gained international notoriety when body parts arrived at offices of Canada's biggest political parties and a video appeared online that prosecutors say shows Magnotta stabbing and having sex with the dismembered corpse.
In May 2012, a package containing a severed foot was found at the headquarters of Canada's ruling Conservative Party. That same day, a hand was discovered at a postal facility, in a package addressed to the Liberal Party of Canada.
Lin's torso was found in a suitcase at a garbage dump outside Magnotta's apartment building in Montreal. About a week later, the missing foot and hand were found, mailed to two schools in Vancouver.
Magnotta was later arrested in Berlin after an international manhunt.
Lin was born in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. He had only been living in Canada since 2011, realizing a long-standing dream by coming to Montreal. His family has said that Lin had a comfortable life working at Microsoft's Beijing office, but had sought a move to Canada to study and improve himself.
Lin had enrolled as a computer engineering student at Concordia University and worked as a part-time convenience store clerk.