MONTREAL – Luka Rocco Magnotta collapsed in court during his preliminary hearing while appearing distraught by the evidence presented against him Tuesday.
The notorious suspect in a killing-and-dismemberment case was suddenly lying on his right side, crumpled into a fetal position.
He was still handcuffed and shackled.
“You might want to make room for an ambulance,” the Crown prosecutor, Louis Bouthillier, told the guards outside the courtroom.
His lawyers came to check in on him, and gazed at Magnotta across the glass-enclosed defendant’s box in the special high-security courtroom where the case is being heard.
The episode happened while Magnotta took in evidence in the gruesome case, whose content is temporarily subject to a publication ban.
The evidence could be made public, if the case goes to trial.
During the hearing Magnotta had held his hand over his mouth, as if he felt ill. His eyes were closed for much of the session.
The 30-year-old suspect appeared to wipe tears, behind his glasses, several times. His head remained down during much of the session.
About 10 minutes into that segment of the hearing, Magnotta turned to the bailiff next to him and asked him to convey a request for a break.
The bailiff raised his finger for permission to speak and asked the judge for a five-minute pause. The judge agreed to an extended break for lunch.
That’s when Magnotta stood up and collapsed to the floor.
He is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of Jun Lin, a 33-year-old Concordia University engineering student from China.
Magnotta is also facing four other charges relating to the case.
He is accused of dismembering Lin and mailing parts of his body across Canada, before leading police on an international manhunt. Magnotta was ultimately arrested in Germany.
Lin’s parents were not in the courtroom Tuesday morning. His father has attended the preliminary hearing at times but has not stayed in the courtroom when the most graphic evidence has been heard.
The current hearing will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to send Magnotta to trial.