Two days prior to the August 2014 Montreal Film Festival world premiere of the documentary “Sex Fame & Murder the Luca Magnotta Story”, the Producers were advised that the debut had been cancelled. The event was to have taken place blocks from the location of the crimes depicted in the Video. Magnotta’s actions sparked a world wide manhunt and became a headline story for months. The Quebec Crown Attorney had ordered the Festival to immediately cancel the showing and for the police to seize the video and all promotional materials. The Crown had decided, sight unseen that, airing the documentary prior to the trial might influence it’s outcome. The Festival and the Producers organized a press conference on the morning following the cancelation and seizure of materials. The attack on freedom of speech has provided the producers with an opportunity to research and present the untold stories attached to Luka Magnotta’s journey to infamy.
In, “The Magnotta Confessions”, the Filmmakers inflame Journalists, True Crime enthusiast and all fascinated by Luka’s story. Using exclusive access to authors, Anna Yourkin (Luka’s mother), Brian Whitney and their tell all book, “My Son The Killer: The Untold Story of Luka Magnotta”, this three part series of one hour documentaries hears Anna’s version of the relationship between Mother, Father, Sister and Brother. Luka is revealed as a childhood victim of mental and physical abuse at home and bullying at school. His diagnoses as schizophrenic with personality disorder, leaves the audience conflicted. The programs uncover the Magnotta story and why it matters, by looking into his fascination with fame, his unique exploration in trying out new personalities and what was possible in using social media. Pivotal to the tale is Brian Whitney, the only journalist to speak with Luka during his incarceration. Through him, a tale is told in a reality most eerie, as he reveals what Luka believes happened on the night of Jun Lin’s murder and how he wasn’t to blame.
“The Magnotta Confessions” investigates other murders Luka was suspected in, especially the murder and dismemberment of a decapitated body discovered under the iconic Hollywood sign. Magnotta’s pusuit of fame led him to travel to many places and use several Facebook accounts to control his desired public image. One of his social media accounts suggested he was in Los Angeles at the time of a murder. The user appeared to be offering appointments for massages and included an L.A. area code phone number. The program questions why police didn’t explore information and jurors never saw the beginning of the recording of Luka’s ingenious first in publicity seeking, murder – live on the Internet. One of the first people to see the video ‘1 Lunatic 1 icepick’ online and report it to the police tells how authorities ignored it. Had they followed up, they would have seen a man lying on the bed with his his feet and hands shackled, Luka atop him holding an ice pick. Why did they believe the video was clearly a fake?
People not previously introduced are interviewed. One, a gay German man describes how Luka stayed at his Berlin home, before he realized he was holding a fugitive. Another, a resident of Paris’s red light district, describes hosting Luka. One-on-one interviews with psychiatrists who believe Luka crazy and those who assessed it as all a show for fame, are given time to bear witness. There is a detailed examination of why Luka’s lawyer faxed the investigators a map of how to find Jun Lin’s head. Why was the lawyer later taken off the case for a conflict of interest?
The audience hears the story of one of Canada’s most prized military jets, reserved for use by Prime Minsters, Presidents and Heads of State, being used to fly Luka home. Authorities in Germany demanded a psychiatrist supervise the flight and six officers were required on the plane.
“The Magnotta Confessions” also paints a portrait of the extraordinary damage and of the evil messaging Social Media creates in a public, thirsty for recognition and fame.
EPISODE 1 “The European Tour”
August 2014, two days prior to the scheduled premiere of “Sex, Fame & Murder: The Luka Magnotta Story,” Jonathan Hiltz, one of the Producers hears from the Montreal World Film festival that his exposé documentary has been banned. Quebec’s Crown Attorney has ordered the Sûreté du Québec (Quebec National Police) to seize the Video and remove all promotional materials. Rumour is that there is concern witnesses who appear in the film might influence a jury to acquit. Licenser Bell Media announces it will not broadcast the documentary until Magnotta’s trial is over. There is a complete publication ban.
A day later at a press conference packed with world media, another of the Producer/writers, Myles Shane, tells an amusing anecdote of how he got involved. He saw on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, a clip of the reality show, “Cover Guy,” he had co-produced were Luka appeared. Cooper told the audience that Magnotta was on the run in Paris after possibly murdering Chinese student Jun Lin.
Los Angeles Police contacted Canadian authorities early in 2012, after hearing of Lin’s murder. They were trying to determine if Luka was connected to a similar murder and dismemberment case of a decapitated body discovered under the iconic Hollywood sign. The head was discovered later in a plastic bag, by a dog in Bronson Canyon Park. It seems that Magnotta was using several Facebook accounts. One attributed to him suggested he was in Los Angeles at the time of the murder. The user appeared to be offering appointments for massages and included an L.A. area phone number.
Montreal Detectives finally began to investigate the gruesome murder of Jun Lin, May 29th. They were desperately trying to locate Luka. Commander Ian Lafreniere, of the Montreal Police, says, “We are looking at unsolved murders,” perhaps the one in Gatineau. Had he killed others, would he kill again? Another Interview where a detective talks about behavior and some reaction is better than no reaction, he tells about the game “Ripper” with Christopher Walken playing Detective Magnotta, it is thought that’s why he chose the name.
Back at the Press Conference, Director, Naomi Hiltz, asks, “as the Crown knew about the production for two years why are they going after the film now? Are they trying to hide something?” The following day hundreds of media outlets worldwide release stories on the film being banned, stifling freedom of the press. Interviews with the Director of the Montreal Film Festival, Head of Bell Media, and Crown Attorney (if allowed).
Whitney provides our documentary an exclusive detailed interview of Luka’s recollection of the murder. In begins on May 24, as Luka meets Jun Lin at a McDonald’s.
On surveillance video, May 25, 2012, Luka is spotted on the run in a disguise, at Montreal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport. Montreal Police later discover he flew for Paris on Air Transit Flight 163#. Paris surveillance footage catches Luka exiting the Charles De Gaulle airport.
A nudist resident of Clichy, Paris’s red light district, is introduced to Luka through a gay website called PlanetRomeo at the end of April 2012. When Luka arrives in Paris, he sends a text message, and is invited to the man’s home on the evening of May 28. He recalls that Luka used three bank cards to withdraw money, about €1,500 from an ATM. Magnottaa stayed the night but slept on the sofa. Days later the man recognizes Luka’s face in a newspaper Interpol photo and contacts police. While avoiding capture Luka emails his sister, “How does it feel to be the sister of a murderer?” On a gay website, another man from Berlin, interacts with Luka who indicates he has been living in Paris in a relationship, it has ended. He wants to return to Berlin. After a few days on the run playing catch me if you can with the Paris police, security cameras reveal Luka boarding a Eurolines bus for Berlin, Germany. Magnotta tells Whitney he wasn’t on the run, he was relocating to Germany. “I used all my own credit cards and passports.” Concurrently, his sister is helping the FBI track her brother’s moves.
Luka arrived in Berlin on Thursday. His host claims he found him slovenly, unattractive, yet convinced Luka to buy new clothes and change his hair. They went out several times to restaurants, gay clubs and parties. Luka was introduced to his host’s crowd. Luka spent several thousand Euros very quickly. Both sleep on a sofa bed during the stay, but never had sex, “He was not my style,” says his host. By Monday pressure is on Luka to leave. He is shown how to use public transit, where to find an internet café, is provided a cell phone, and a friend’s number to call if he gets lost. In a prison interview, Luka tells Whitney a very different version of events, “a pedophile predator befriended me and wanted to help me. I was not into him at all, so one morning I simply told him goodbye and I didn’t want to be his friend. He was also a thief who stole 16,000 in cash from me and another 5,000 from my credit and debit cards. He continued to express his love and I continued to reject him.” Luka finds the café. His host waits nearby and calls police, a murderer was staying at his home. According to Police, the German has numerous sex crime convictions, one of which led to a judge ordering him to stay at a psychiatric hospital for three months. The man waits and watches as a café employee flags down arriving officers. German surveillance footage shows officers storming the café and arresting Luka while he is looking at his own press clippings online. “I wasn’t watching myself which was widely reported and falsely reported. I also never proclaimed to the police, ‘You got me,” Whitney reports Luka told him, “The lies people tell are what separates me from the rest of society,” in other words, he isn’t the one that is messed up, it is everyone else.
At the of end of May a package marked with a red heart symbol and containing a left foot is delivered to the national headquarters of the Conservative Party of Canada, finally prompting Montreal Police to begin an investigation. At a Canada Post processing facility, another package containing a left hand is intercepted, addressed to the Liberal Party. June 5, 2012, a package with a right foot is delivered to St George’s School and another package containing a right hand to False Creek Elementary School in Vancouver. On July 1st, Lin’s head is recovered near a small lake in Montreal’s Angrignon Park, after police receive an anonymous tip.
EPISODE 2 “Growing”
Before dawn, May 30, 2012, Anna Yourkin wakes to thunderous banging emanating from her front door. Police from Peterborough-Lakefield Services stand on her porch, others search the backyard. They demand to know the whereabouts of her son, Luka Magnotta. She has no idea what’s going on. Interviews with Doctors who believe Luka Magnotta (born Eric Kirk Newman), crazy and those who think it all a show for fame, are interspersed through the next block, first up psychiatrist Joe Paris.
Anna, glued to Anderson Cooper 360, hears Luka, perhaps with an accomplice, may have videotaped the murdering, dismembering and cannibalizing of International Student Jun Lin, and in a first ever, uploaded the video to the Internet for the world to watch. Anna almost faints only to be held by her son Conrad. Did her son commit murder? An interview with Conrad – recall the moment, inner thoughts, was it unexpected, disclosure of knowledge of Luka leaving for California, etc?
1982, Eric Newman is born to Don Newman (17) and Anna Yourkin (16) in Toronto. Anna reveals that she is a battered woman, while describing Eric’s father as abusive and a “proud Nazi”. Don doesn’t want his three children’s minds polluted by mainstream thinking, he wants them home-schooled. Interview psychiatrist – what is the impact of that environment and being home-schooled, based on what might be called Trumpian theories. Whitney asks about the home-schooling, Luka replies,”I don’t think some people should be parents. Some people don’t have parental instincts.” Don has lost a string of jobs, amd spends most of his days inebriated on the couch. Anna finally sends Luka to Charlottetown Junior School in the sprawling Toronto suburb of Scarborough. Eric exhibits violent flashes of temper – at 12 he hurls a chair at a teacher. Anna divorces Don in 1995 moving herself and the kids to her parent’s house in Bethany Ontario. Anna soon meets Leo Belanger who she describes as loud, aggressive and a know it all. They move in together. Anna becomes pregnant. Leo is abusive towards her and the children, calling Eric names, attacking his sexuality and generally belittling him.
At 16, Eric moves in with his grandmother, Phyllis Yourkin. The bullying and abuse continue at the new school, he drops out before earning his diploma. Phyllis, worried about Eric’s hearing things takes him to a psychiatrist in 1999. He is diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic and goes on disability. He is admitted to Harrison House, a group home for mental illness, chiefly schizophrenia. An April 19, ’01 report from Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay reveals doctors have doubts about Eric. Psychiatrist C.T. M’Cwabeni is told Eric, complaining about hearing voices and seeing visions, has made several visits to a crisis centre. He and Tanis Mather, a crisis worker in Peterborough, share these thoughts, “The impression is that he is schizophrenic,” she suspects the teen “might be looking for benzodiazepines,” a class of anti-anxiety medication and may be faking his symptoms.” By August, 18 year old Eric has overdosed on Clonazepam, a sedative, and is admitted to Ross Memorial hospital. Interview with Psychiatrist Dr. C.T. M’Cwabeni or Tanis Mather.
Eric appears as a pin-up model in 2005 issue of Toronto’s fab magazine using the pseudonym “Jimmy”. He legally changes his name to Luka Rocco Magnotta in 2005 as he “does not like himself,” “bad memories,” and a need to “reinvent” himself, reports Dr. Joel Watts. Eric/Luka is convicted of one count of impersonation and three counts of fraud for using a credit card in purchasing of over $10,000 worth of goods in 2005. Scarborough, 2006, Eric begins doing webcam work, progressing to stripping at downtown club, Remington’s. Here, Eric meets Barbie Swallows and soon is in a tumultuous relationship with his new ‘girlfriend’. She recalls that Eric asphyxiates and revives her, or drugs her to a near coma. Eric begins acting in low budget pornos, then quickly turns to escorting (the production has interviews with Eric’s pimp) and brags to Whitney, he earns over six figures doing this. He boasts one client, Manny Lopez is infatuated with him and stalks him, causing him to continually move and change his number. Eric/Luka creates multiple profiles on various internet discussion forums and on social media to plant false or unverified claims about himself. He dismisses such accounts as part of a campaign of cyberstalking against him and hoaxes. According to police, Magnotta set up at least 70 Facebook pages and 20 websites under different names. Luka does some modelling and appears on reality shows, and OUTtv’s reality series, COVERguy. Naomi Hiltz, Director of Sex, Fame & Murder and COVERguy, remembers him and his audition. Luka files for bankruptcy in 2007, owing $17,000 in various debts. Rumours emerge that same year claiming Luka is in a relationship with Karla Homolka, the Canadian high-profile murderer that he is obsessed with. He denies this in an interview with the Toronto Sun. Luka has many cosmetic surgeries. He auditions for Slice Network show “Plastic Makes Perfect”, in February 2008.
The Sun Newspaper of London receives emails from several different addresses suggesting Luka Magnotta is at the Fusilier Inn, in Wembley, and he is the person behind the online videos of kittens being killed. Alex West is assigned the story and works under the assumption Luka is behind the emails, the kitten videos and the online chat connecting him romantically to Karla Homolka. West visits Luka on Dec. 8, 2011 (we have an interview). West talks about his suspicions with Luka, in the doorway to his room. West believes Luka is creating a “personality cult” online about himself. Luka replies that is preposterous, he receives hundreds of death threats on account of his online reputation. Days later Luka disappears. Two days pass, West receives a disturbing email, supposedly from John Kilbride, a child victim of a pair of notorious British serial killers in a case known as the Moors Murders, claiming that the writer is planning a video where “the victims won’t be small animals,” and continues, “Once you kill, and taste blood, its impossible to stop. The urge is just too strong not to continue. You see, killing is different than smoking..with smoking you can actually quit. Next time you hear from me it will be in a movie I am producing that will have some humans in it, not just pussys.:),” and finishes with the taunt, “Getting away with all this, now that’s genius.”
It is mid-May 2012 and Luka has moved to Montreal. A week before the murder he sees psychiatrist Joe Paris who diagnoses him with a borderline personality.
Derek MacKinnon, lived in the apartment directly above Luka on Decarie. Re-enactment of Derek and Luka making ‘promo’ for ‘1 Lunitic 1 Ice pick’, with the poster that was later found in the garbage.
EPISODE 3 – “The Trial”
On surveillance video, Luka leaves the apartment alone wearing Lin’s t-shirt, in the basement of the apartment through the night, dumping several bags and items in tenants’ bins, finally, he leaves the building and returns with a suitcase similar to the one in which Lin’s torso is found. The 11-minute video, “1Lunatic 1Ice Pick,” is uploaded to a website depicting a man tied to a bed, being stabbed with an ice pick and kitchen knife, being dismembered, followed by acts of necrophilia. The perpetrator uses a knife and fork to cut off some of the flesh and gets a dog to chew on the body. He dumps more bags in the garbage and finally at 10:15 PM, is seen taking out the suitcase.
May 27, a Montana lawyer sees the Internet video and calls the US and Toronto police. He tells he was dismissed, “my story didn’t make sense and ‘why would a killer film his own crime and then post it on the Internet?’ The video is fake.”
As a condition for release to Canada, German officials demanded a psychiatrist accompany the June 2012 flight. Dr. Joel Watts, after receiving a request from the Montreal police, takes on that role. Montreal Police Chief Lafrenie states no traditional Airline will take Luka as a passenger, so at a cost to taxpayers of over $375,000.00, a special military plane, one regularly reserved for Ambassadors, Prime Ministers, Heads of State, and dignities is prepared to transport him back. On landing in Montreal, Magnotta ascends the plane with his hands and feet shackled. He is met by thousands of media snapping photos and asking a barrage of questions. During the Jun Lin murder investigation, Montreal police announce that Magnotta and Homolka dated but subsequently retract the statement and acknowledged that they have no evidence to corroborate the claim. Claudette Hamlin, a Montreal Detective/Sergeant, says that sedative residue was found in a wine glass in the apartment. “I do hope that Mr. Lin was knocked out before Mr. Magnotta cut his throat.”
Luka collapses in the poorly ventilated prisoner’s box during his preliminary hearing in 2013.
Luka meets with his lawyer and discusses how to plead. Together they determine to proceed with an insanity defence. Luka informs Whitney he has been against the defense strategy from the beginning. He wants to take the stand and tell the world the truth. He doesn’t believe that he has any psychiatric problems.
A crime scene photographer testifies she was called to Magnotta’s apartment on Decarie Blvd, May 30 after a video was posted online showing a man being dismembered and his torso sexually assaulted by a wine bottle. She said they found the “Wishful Love” wine bottle, in the garbage. They also found a Casablanca poster and a yellow T-shirt. Another Crime scene photographer produces several photos of the note, box and other evidence, on the second day of the murder trial. Montreal Police photographer Richard Dionne, shows photos which lay out the path to a skull.
A Montreal detective testifies he was working on Canada Day 2012 when received a fax from a Toronto lawyer, someone he had never met, giving specific directions to a Montreal park, “You may find what you are looking for by following these directions,” it is initialled by the lawyer. Before the actual trial commences that Lawyer was removed for conflict of interest. It remains a mystery how Magnotta could have moved the head as surveillance cameras tracked his movements. Did he have have an accomplice, perhaps the man at the start of the murder video was his partner?
Several defence psychiatrists testify Magnotta is schizophrenic and is in a state of psychosis when he kills Lin. Others, testify for the prosecution, that Magnotta has a personality disorder and had the capacity to know the difference between right and wrong on that fateful night in Montreal.
Magnotta’s lawyer told the court his client had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder shortly before the slaying and suffers from schizophrenia. The jurors hear from the prosecutor, evidence will show that Magnotta had been planning a murder for six months.
Testifying during his son’s trial, Don Newman pins the abuse on Magnotta’s mother’s family saying Luka was raised by a domineering mother who got drunk on vodka and was obsessed with germs. At the same time he paints himself as an alcoholic, and after the divorce was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic manic-depressive.
In Camera, the court views a photo of a graphic showing Magnotta in a purple hoodie, with a screwdriver in his hand in front of a Casablanca poster that is featured in the video, that was recovered from the trash outside Magnotta’s apartment. That graphic was distributed online before the crime was committed to promote the posted online video which shows some elements of the killing, and that was played in court. Before the trial begins, a Quebec judge prevents investigators from getting an academic interview, a study surveying sex workers, that researchers from the University of Ottawa conducted with Magnotta in 2007.
A correctional officer at the Rivières-des-Prairies detention centre alleges Magnott was not taking his medication, instead he threw his pills into the toilet. The judge did not allow the Crown to ask Magnotta’s treating psychiatrist, a witness for the defence, about the allegation because he ruled the probative value was “minuscule.”
The Crown prosecutor often compared the crime to the erotic thriller Basic Instinct and wanted to have scenes from the movie viewed in court. The judge ruled that would be too prejudicial.
Impact on Lin family in episode 3
At trial end Luka maked it clear he wanted no unsolicited correspondence or attempts to contact him, especially from the media.
Quebec’s Port-Cartier Prison, 2015, Luka signs up for a dating site called Canadian Inmates Connect and is hoping to find “a ‘prince charming’ who is white, in good shape, between 28 and 38 years old.” Magnotta finds his prince in a convict who has committed a long list of crimes over the years, including robbery with a firearm, which landed him six years. The couple marry in 2017, although the Correctional Services denies them a night alone inside the prison’s private room.