If the documentary “Don’t F With Cats” taught us anything, it’s that there will always be a group of internet vigilantes that will come together to hunt you down if you post videos of yourself doing harm to animals. The 2019 Netflix docuseries focuses on a group of strangers that built a common bond unraveling the identity of the anonymous person who some pretty disgusting videos. What began as a mission to expose a perpetrator of animal cruelty wound up linking the video maker to one of the most horrific crimes in Canadian history (via Esquire).
The man behind the animal cruelty videos was outed as Luka Magnotta. Magnotta was an aspiring actor and adult film star, trying to engineer his break into stardom. As he aged, though, success continued to elude the budding entertainer. But Magnotta had several plans for the future that would garner more attention than he would ever imagine.
Born Eric Clinton Newman on July 24, 1982, in a small town outside Toronto, the boy who grew up to be known as Luka Magnotta had a troubled life from the beginning. At his 2014 trial, his father testified that he and Magnotta’s mother both struggled with alcoholism, creating an unstable home life for their child (via Narcity). He also went on to explain that Magnotta led an isolated life, and had no friends as a child.
Magnotta’s criminal career began shortly after high school, when he befriended a woman that he felt would be an easy mark for grifting. After gaining her trust, he opened multiple credit cards in her name, racking up more than $17k in debt (via The Guardian). According to The Guardian, Magnotta was also convicted of sexual assault the same year. In an effort to shorten his sentence, Magnotta pleaded guilty and only received a nine-month sentence (via CBC).
Several years later, in 2011, internet sleuths exposed Magnotta as the person behind the grotesque internet videos that showed a man killing kittens (via Oxygen). And as horrific as those videos were, Magnotta didn’t take long to graduate from killing innocent animals to murdering an innocent human being.
One Lunatic, One Icepick
In May of 2012, Magnotta lured Chinese student Jun Lin back to his apartment after meeting him online and viciously murdered him. After murdering Lin, Magnotta made a film of himself dismembering his body. Magnotta then uploaded the video of the murder online, under the title “One Lunatic, One Icepick.”
After dismembering Lin’s body completely, he placed the torso in a suitcase and left it for the garbage collector (via National Post). What he did with the rest of the body cemented Magnotta as one of the biggest psychopaths in Canada.
Magnotta mailed Lin’s foot to Canada’s Conservative Party headquarters. One of Lin’s hands was discovered at the post office, in a package addressed to Canada’s Liberal Party (via Fox News). As for the other hand and foot, they were found mailed to two schools in Vancouver, British Columbia. Shortly after mailing these packages, Magnotta left Canada for Europe. He spent time dodging authorities in Paris before making his way to Berlin (via The Daily Mail).
Captured on the run
Canadian authorities were alerted when the suitcase containing the torso of Jun Lin was discovered by the maintenance man at Magnotta’s apartment. It didn’t take them long to link Magnotta to the murder, and warrants were issued. When footage of Magnotta in the airport was released, Interpol was notified. The European manhunt was now underway (via ABC News).
Within days, Magnotta was spotted in a coffee shop/internet café in Berlin, Germany. He was reportedly reading about his crimes on the internet when police closed in on him. While at first denying that he was Luka Magnotta, he soon admitted his true identity. Magnotta was arrested without incident and later extradited back to Canada to await trial.
On December 22, 2014, Magnotta was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder (via The Globe and the Mail). Under Canadian law, he will be eligible for parole in 2039. As a current prisoner, what has life been like for Magnotta?
Luka Magnotta today
According to The Heavy, Magnotta was able to get married behind bars to fellow inmate Anthony Jolin. The two were wed in 2017 in a prison ceremony. The prison declined the newlywed couple any privacy or access to the prison’s co-habitation area.
In spite of trying to plead insanity in court, Magnotta does not receive any medications for any mental disorder. According to Magnotta, “Even now in prison, I take no medications.”
Magnotta talks of having movie nights, and how he is now interested in painting. He also works out obsessively and is taking foreign language courses. Locked down 22 hours a day, Magnotta has a lot of time to reflect on his crimes. But, according to author Brian Whitney, Magnotta feels no remorse for his actions. “He believes society is sick, not him.” With that outlook on his past, it’s a relief that Magnotta still has a lengthy portion of his sentence left to serve before he is considered for release.
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