In May 2012, Luka Magnotta murdered a university student named Jun Lin, chopped up his body, and mailed his limbs throughout Canada, then shared a video online of his crimes titled "1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick."
There was a horrid stench coming out of the suitcase. It had been there for days now; the janitor had noticed it every time he swept out in the alleyway behind the apartment building. Up until then, he’d been able to ignore it, but the smell from inside was getting worse and worse: a choking, sickly stench, like a pig roast left out to rot.
But nothing could have prepared him for what he found inside: a man’s severed torso with the limbs torn off.
The other parts of the dead man would eventually turn up throughout the late spring of 2012, but they would be found nowhere near that apartment in Montreal. His left foot would show up in a package wrapped up by the Canada Post, delivered to the offices of Canada’s Prime Minister. The package carrying his left hand, on its way to the Liberal Party, would be intercepted just in time.
But no one would be able to stop the right side of his body from reaching its destinations: two elementary schools full of children in Vancouver, British Columbia. Both schools would start their day by opening up packages of severed, decomposing human remains.
It didn’t take long to figure out who’d done it. Luka Magnotta, after all, had filmed his own murder. He’d uploaded an 11-minute video of himself hacking Jun Lin to pieces onto a website called “bestgore.com” for the whole world to see.
So the mystery wasn’t as much a question of “who” had done it as it was a question of “why?”
Eric Newman: The Boy Who Would Become Luka Magnotta
Luka Magnotta was born Eric Newman in Ontario in 1982. The new name was one he chose himself, a sort of reinvention meant to purge bad memories.
“He said there was some messed-up stuff that happened to him when he was a kid,” Nina Arsenault, one of Magnotta’s few friends, has said. Magnotta, she said, was so disturbed with whatever had hurt him that he’d break into fits of punching himself in the face.
It’s hard to say what memory was torturing him so horribly. Perhaps it was that his parents abandoned him at age 10 and left him to live with his brutal and domineering grandmother. Or it might have been something from his teenage years, when he was young and bisexual in a small Ontario town that didn’t make that easy.
Or maybe it was just madness. Magnotta, after all, had inherited paranoid schizophrenia from his father and had started hearing voices at the age of 18.
Whatever it was that had left him disturbed, Luka Magnotta had done everything in his power to erase Eric Newman. He’d rebuilt his whole face through plastic surgery and thrown himself into a new life as a male escort and minor porn star.
Even his family was worried. As his own aunt later said, “He was a time bomb waiting to explode.”
1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick: The Death Of Jun Lin
Jun Lin just wanted a friend. He was a 33-year-old international student from China who hadn’t quite been in Montreal for a year by the time of the spring of 2012. When Luka Magnotta, now 29, contacted him, he was just happy to have a friend.
“He wanted to find someone with something in common,” one of Lin’s friends later recalled. “He didn’t deserve this.”
Magnotta claimed that the two met on the night of May 24 after Lin responded to a Craiglist ad that the former had posted in hopes of finding someone interested in sex and bondage.
That night at 9 PM, Jun Lin sent one final text to a friend. The next time anyone saw him was in a video, uploaded to bestgore.com the next day, carrying the title “1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick.”
As the video revealed, Jun Lin had been stripped naked and tied to a bed frame. While the music of New Order blared through the speakers, Magnotta hacked him apart with an ice pick and a kitchen knife. He then filmed himself both sexually violating and dismembering the body, while also allowing a dog to chew on the body and allegedly even eating parts of it himself (police have claimed that cannibalism is evident in an extended version of the video that they reviewed).
1 Boy 2 Kittens: A History Of Madness
Luka Magnotta was already being investigated for horrific acts of violence for more than a year before he killed Jun Lin. A group of online sleuths had been working together via Facebook to hunt down Magnotta because he had uploaded video of himself killing animals.
A year and a half before killing Lin, Luka Magnotta had uploaded another video entitled “1 Boy 1 Kittens” in which he suffocated two tabby kittens to death with a vacuum and a plastic bag.
Since then, the online sleuths had amassed an incredible amount of information to bring Magnotta down. They’d pulled metadata from his animal torture pictures, found evidence about where he was hiding, and shared it all with the police, trying to stop him before he killed a human being.
It hadn’t been hard for them to track Magnotta down. He’d done everything he could to build up his online presence. He’d created Wikipedia pages about himself twice, created his own fake fan pages, and spread rumors that he was dating serial killer Karla Homolka.
The sleuths hunting Magnotta speculated that he’d likewise killed cats for the attention. “There’s this unwritten rule of the internet. It’s called rule zero. And it’s you don’t mess with cats,” one of the sleuths told Rolling Stone. Another added: “What better way to get famous than to f*** with cats?”
But when these sleuths contacted the police, there wasn’t much of a response. As one of the vigilantes recalled:
“I’m told, ‘It’s just cats’. … They brushed me aside. What else could I have done? In the end, I told them this guy is going to turn around and kill somebody. And they poo-pooed me.”
The Hunt For Luka Magnotta
Of course, Luka Magnotta did turn around and kill somebody.
And once the video of Jun Lin’s death was confirmed authentic, police began hunting for the killer. After the janitor at Magnotta’s apartment building found the torso, with papers identifying the victim nearby, police checked the building’s security footage and saw their victim and their killer entering the building just before the murder.
It didn’t take long for police to arrive at Magnotta’s apartment in the building, where they found blood on the mattress, bathtub, in the refrigerator, and elsewhere. He wasn’t there but they had their killer — and, after matching the torso remains with those that had been mailed all over Canada, police also fully knew what had become of their victim.
By that point, Magnotta had fled to Paris under his own name, easily allowing authorities to follow his trail. He then took a bus to Berlin, but police kept on his trail and would soon take him down.
They found him in an internet café in Berlin on June 4. When the police came in, Magnotta was Googling his own name, reveling in his own fame.
The Words Of A Killer
“Something forced me to do it. It just gave me this weird energy,” Luka Magnotta told a psychiatrist while waiting for his trial to begin. “Something just happened in my brain.”
Magnotta said that he and Linbwere lovers, sharing a night together when a black car outside filled him with a conviction that Jun Lin was a secret agent. “Tie him up. Cut it,” he heard a voice tell him, he said. “Do it. He’s from the government.”
Then, after he’d slit Lin’s throat and chopped up his body, Magnotta said that the voices told him: “Give it back to the government” (hence mailing the body parts to government offices).
But it’s of course hard to say if Magnotta is telling the truth. The details and organization of the crimes, another psychiatrist said, show that Magnotta was having “anything but disorganized thought.” Instead, other analysts said that Magnotta knowingly committed the crime for the attention and that, for him, the problem was simply that, “negative attention is better than no attention at all.”
We may never know for sure what went wrong inside the mind of Luka Magnotta. His jury, though, didn’t accept his insanity defense. In December 2014, they found him guilty on all counts and sentenced him to life in prison.
But for the family of Jun Lin, Luka Magnotta’s punishment will surely never be enough.
“I will never see his smiling face,” said the victim’s father, “or hear about his new accomplishments or hear his laugh. Lin Jun’s birthday is on December 30 and he will never be there for his birthday or ours.”
After this look at Luka Magnotta and the murder of Jun Lin, read about cannibal killer Armin Meiwes, who placed an ad looking for someone to eat — and got a response. Then, read about the twisted crimes of serial killer Edmund Kemper.