Magnotta and Homolka: Anatomy of a rumour

Luka Rocco Magnotta never dated the notorious Karla Homolka—contrary to reports that just won’t die


When fugitive murder suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta next appears in a Canadian courtroom, he will have much to answer for. But one thing of which he is not guilty, never has been, and almost certainly never will be is this: Having an affair—or even a casual relationship—with schoolgirl killer Karla Homolka.

Yet in the past few days headlines have appeared in newspapers and on major news websites like “Suspect in dismemberment case dated Karla Homolka” and “Porn star wanted in murder/dismemberment case dated Karla Homolka.”

Those headlines are slowly going away now but, after two days on the Internet, they have a life of their own and will undoubtedly spawn new stories and headlines in the future.

Here’s how a five-year-old fabricated story suddenly flared to life in the heat, pressure and exhaustion of a horrific murder investigation.

I first heard of Magnotta in September 2007 when I was Deputy Managing Editor at the Toronto Sun. He was briefly at the centre of a flurry of media attention in Toronto for denying he had been in a relationship with Homolka after her release from prison. He said an anonymous Internet campaign feeding the false rumour was ruining his life.

“I have lost modelling jobs and have been receiving death threats,” Magnotta told talk radio station AM 640.

Among those questioning Magnotta at the time was Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington, who recalled Thursday, “He might have been the creepiest person I ever interviewed.”

Warmington quickly determined during that 2007 interview that Magnotta had no connection to Homolka—but had some serious personal issues of his own to address.

“You spend 10 seconds with him and you easily come to the conclusion it’s all in his own head and all for attention,” Warmington said on Thursday.

Because I had directed the Toronto Sun team that found Karla Homolka in Montreal after her release from prison in 2005, I maintained a professional interest in her post-prison activities. I found the various Internet blog posts and discussions that Magnotta complained were linking him to Homolka. Like Warmington, I quickly concluded there was no basis for believing a connection between Magnotta and Homolka existed. And I also came to the conclusion that Luka Magnotta had probably posted the Internet rumours himself as a publicity-seeking stunt.

There was barely even a chance Magnotta and Homolka were in the same city at the same time, let alone cavorting.

After her release from prison in July 2005, Homolka lived in the Montreal area under the close supervision of her lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais. Homolka’s social milieu was so restricted during that period that she ended up marrying Bordelais’ brother. After she bore a child in early 2007, Homolka left Canada for the French Antilles with her husband and son.

One month before Homolka’s release from prison, Magnotta was convicted on a number of fraud charges in Toronto under his birth name—Eric Clinton Newman. He was sentenced to a nine-month conditional term with nightly curfew, which he served at his mother’s home in Peterborough. He was also put on probation for 12 months.

It was after completing that sentence that Eric Clinton Newman legally changed his name to Luka Rocco Magnotta. And moved to Ottawa. He would later return to Toronto but he did not move to Montreal until long after Karla Homolka had left that city.

That’s where the issue should probably have ended, but it didn’t. New rumours–and even newspaper stories from as far away as the Bahamas—kept reappearing over the years linking Magnotta and Homolka.

Then, on Thursday, journalist Colin Horgan reported on the Ottawa political website ipolitics.ca that repeated attempts have been made since October 2011 to edit Karla Homolka’s Wikipedia page to insert Luka Magnotta’s name as Homolka’s husband.

“According to Wikipedia’s history of revisions, in October 2011, Magnotta’s name replaced that of Thierry Bordelais, the man who in 2007 was reported to be Homolka’s husband …

The article was apparently left untouched for months, until February 2012, when again Magnotta’s name was inserted…

The article was edited again on March 4th (here), 5th (here), and 30th (here) of this year. Each time, Magnotta’s name was inserted, and each time by a different user.

There is no way to tell whether the changes were made by Magnotta or not.

Magnotta is also mentioned as Homolka’s husband in a piece written for Allvoices.com.

‘Karla Homolka serial murderess and husband Luka Magnotta in the Caribbean,’ reads the title of that piece. The piece was written by ‘inewsman’ in June, 2010. The contributor profile picture bears a remarkable resemblance to Magnotta.”

So the name of a smalltime porn actor, convicted fraudster and self-promoter was still tenuously—if erroneously—connected to one of the most notorious killers in Canadian history at the same time that a new chapter in horrific Canadian murders was opening in Montreal and Ottawa.

When Magnotta was identified as the prime suspect in the ghastly Montreal murder and dismemberment, those Homolka connections floating around on the Internet rose up again to join the ongoing outrage over videos posted online that purportedly showed Magnotta torturing and killing kittens.

So, of course, reporters asked the official spokesman for the Montreal police about the Homolka link, as well as about the kitten killings and all the other macabre aspects emerging in the Canadian crime story of the year.

Answering the dozens of questions was Ian Lafreniere, a veteran of le Service de police de la Ville de Montreal, recently promoted to the rank of commander from sergeant for his good work handling police media relations during the Quebec student demonstrations.

Like other police officers on the case, Lafreniere had been working around the clock.

“For most of the officers that have been there all night long, this is the kind of crime scene they’ve never seen in their life, in their career,” he told reporters who had also been working through the night. “So, yes, I can consider that a horrible crime.”

When reporters asked Lafreniere about the Internet stories linking Magnotta and Homolka, he treated the questions as what they were—minor distractions floating around the periphery of a huge, fast-breaking murder investigation with the accused murderer still on the loose and still a threat to the public, either in Canada or elsewhere.

So when the Homolka connection came up, Lafreniere said police had heard the rumours. “I’ve got no reasons to doubt about it,” CTV News quoted him saying. And the Montreal Gazette had Lafreniere agreeing with the possibility that Magnotta “could have been a good friend” of Homolka.

In the deadline pressure of pulling together a huge story from multiple sources and several reporters, those quotes—and the titillating link between two of Canada’s ghastliest murder stories—resulted in this lead paragraph going out to Postmedia news outlets across Canada on Wednesday:

“MONTREAL — Montreal Police have confirmed the suspect at large in a gruesome murder and dismemberment case once dated notorious sex killer Karla Homolka.”

Other news outlets, including Maclean’s itself, CBC News and CTV News, used the Lafreniere quotes as affirmation that there was some kind of relationship between Magnotta and Homolka. Still others were more circumspect in making the connection, referring to police confirmation of a “link,” not a relationship.

By Thursday morning, Montreal police were trying to clear up the confusion caused by Lafreniere’s ambiguous, off-the-cuff comments on Wednesday.

By Thursday afternoon, Postmedia websites were carrying the following paragraph in their Magnotta coverage:

“Montreal police backtracked Thursday on claims they made this week that Magnotta had dated Karla Homolka, one of Canada’s most notorious sex killers. Police officials clarified that they were aware of the many rumours posted on the Internet, but had no proof to substantiate those stories. In 2007, Magnotta came forward to news media to deny that he had dated her, although many at the time suggested he was the one who started the rumours to gain attention.”

So the Magnotta-Homolka story is back to what it was before — an unconfirmed, unfounded, untrue Internet fabrication. A false rumour probably started and certainly fueled by Luka Rocco Magnotta himself.

But, unfortunately, the headlines and stories saying “police have confirmed” the Magnotta-Homolka connection will remain in Internet space forever, overshadowing the retraction stories and just waiting to be pulled out and cited as sources of misinformation at some point in the future.

The rumour is mightier than the real news sometimes, no matter how bizarre and unbelievable the real news already is.


Magnotta and Homolka: Anatomy of a rumour

  1. There IS a connection between Magnotta and Homolka. Just a few months ago, I was doing some research on Homolka for a project. I found Homolka’s sister’s facebook page approx. three months ago. She has rechanged her name to Logan Valentini.
    Here’s the link:
    Upon viewing her profile, you will find her friends include Vldamir Romanov. Vldamir Romanov is Magnotta’s alias, and Magnotta’s picture is up on the profile.
    Please view the profile and investigate it yourself. Again, I saw this facebook page approx. 3 months ago — it’s not like it was just added yesterday. In addition, she has multiple friends with last name Homolka, Bordelais and Magnotta — thus proving the Homolka-Magnotta link.

    • Nice try – anyone can create multiple fake accounts with whatever names they want. Whoever did it didn’t even do a good job – only 23 friends total.

    • It at best confirms this Logan person accepted friend requests from these others. There are plenty of people out there who accept just about any friend request they receive, even though they don’t know the person. If Magnotta is stalking Homolka (and this article can certainly leave one with that impression), tracking family members would surely be part of his method.

    • Magnotta is not his family name either. There’d be little reason that she’d be friends with other Magnotta’s if Karla and Luca were involved. More likely Luca chose this name based on research from their pages or that he has created all of the accounts on his own.

    • That’s a fake account that someone made. I’ve seen Lori/Logan’s real account.

    • Interesting… the poster trying to call attention to a page that he claims to be the proof of the M-H link has a handler “Justin” which is one of the names M uses. What a sad life this loser. He thinks he is a master of disguise and he is an idiot. What for? Sad, sad life to think that you are famous when in fact you are notorious. He obviously took in wrong the many movies he has seen.

    • Not the real one. Nice high school picture of her. Its not even on her real page.

    • What about the two photos here? The one when you open the page and the one in the limo. Supposed to be Karla. What do you think?

  2. Answering the dozens of questions was Ian Lafreniere, a veteran of le Service de police de la Say what? “Ville de Montreal, recently promoted to the rank of commander from sergeant for his good work handling police media relations during the Quebec student demonstrations.” 1) Is that all it takes to get promoted to commander – good media relations? So now that the good commander has botched up this little bit of news, does he get demoted back to Sarge?

    • he didn’t botch up, when asked about the rumours he said “I wouldn’t doubt it” the media, in their usual way, turned things around and decided he said ‘yes, they did have a relationship’. In no way did he ever say that they did. The media will forever turn a phrase to make a story to garner attention. Everything is in the interpretation of what they choose to print. I am sure there was much good work done before student demonstrations as well. Promotions aren’t just handed out they are earned through hard work, exams and interview processes.

  3. Pls respect the victim and his family, I hope some media (CBC; some Chinese-language websites) can remove these photos containing sex and torso.

    • How anyone can disagree with your statement is beyond me.

  4. This type of issue is the exact risk posed by today’s news sources being practically obsessed with, “speed first, accuracy second.”

  5. After reading this article I googled Thierry Bordelais as this was the first time that I had read that Homolka was married and I wanted to see his picture. What I found were the pictures under his name look just like Magnotta holding a baby. Check it out. Very strange!

  6. Here the proof of connection between homolka and magnotta.. youtube…. watch the nearly end of this dicovered movie. the two posing on the bed and getting kissed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbOzIZwXKHg

  7. So in other words, this long-winded explanation comes down to this: the media no longer check their sources adequately before running with a “story”.

  8. I am in disagreement with the theory that the 2 did not know each other. Like yourself I have maintained an interest in Karla’s post-prison activities. I have been following her for years on various forums and as recently as last year made a post describing a friend of hers that fits Magnotta’s description and situation perfectly. Below is an excerpt from said post:

    I have a friend, he is male and has a son from his first relationship, he told me something very interesting.
    1.) All children need to follow orders or they will have no order in their lives as adults.
    2.) Spare the rod spoil the child
    3.) He wants his son to grow up to be a well rounded and professional adult
    I agree with some of the things he says, however, he is Russian/Italian and comes from a strict background. I suppose its just in his nature. He claims in Russia when he is there on vacation everyone slaps their children? I cant understand their way of thinking over there.
    Anyways, our children frequently play together and his son is now in acting school since the father is a model/actor himself and I COMPLETELY notice the differences between his son and my son.

    This entire post is actually quite interesting in the context of Karla’s history, but note that her friend is described as Russian/Italian (Romanov/Magnotta); he has a son; and is a MODEL/ACTOR. I don’t think you can discount it all as coincidence.

  9. Magnotta the show off that he is, would have posted along time ago a picture of him and Homolka, I never saw any pictures of him and Homolka and plus I onced ask him about a list of title of porn films he had made (to verified his claim), he could not even tell me one title or show me a clip of his porn films. It was made-believe created by him.

  10. Magnotta is linked with Karla’s sister Lori (now using a different name) in several ways under all of Luka’s three names.

  11. It is this aspect of this horrendous crime that has provoked the most anxiety in me, I regret to say. Following the conviction of Rafferty, I decided to educate myself as well as I could about criminal profiling, interrogation procedures, and criminal investigation generally. In this process I ran across a video on Karla Homolka’s website which encouraged everyone to leave the couple in peace. At the end of the video were a selection of photos, which I immediately thought was strange, particularly as they seemed out of context and inappropriate, it was a diaplay of individual shots not of a couple but only the ‘spouse’ of Holmolka. I left it. Then when this story broke I instantly recognized the individual in the photographs I had seen. I had to investigate. Going on instinct I felt there was something terribly wrong. It was then that I started exploring, but not transgressing my ability to cope with potential obscenities, etc, the blog and reports talked about. I became more and more frightened at (yes my imagined but also potentially true) observations that it was exceedingly difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. Certain patterns slowly became more evident: the putting out of data followed by a denial of their veracity; blogs which I believed were copied which I now assume were read as part of a process of developing legitimatization for actions and behaviors but as I cannot assess how much was understood nor how they contributed to developing intentions and purposes, I can only speculate on same. At one point I thought this is the work of someone who ‘does not exist’, like I have understood ‘evil not to exist” all phantasmagoria of projected possibility and public personas. I struggled with the reality that I too could consider myself to process ‘reality’ through similar thought processes. I even compared them to the phantsies I meet with daily which we do not consider to be psycopathic because they are merely the way we sift through possibilities. Many other theories or conjectures followed. I have recently come to peace with what I experienced, only through a detached recognition of the truth that yes, it is necessary to recognize that ‘dark side’ of human nature that is talked about, that is have the ability to see such realities in a ‘true light’. As far as the insight it gave me into the ‘non existence’ of an integrated self, I will not speculate more than that the inner life experience and the interaction with others, as well as choices made even as we progress daily in our lives indicate to me that indeed the psychopathic elements within human nature have something to do with contradictions regarding personal self worth. It does not surprise me therefore, that there is in the blogs mentioned a constant denial of wrong doing, and belief in an essential self-goodness; blaming the other for injury, and projection of intrinsic ‘faults’ onto others. There is also a recurring deception between what the language describes as reality, and the actual physical perception that is represented. I will leave it to both the theologians and the psychiatrists, theist and atheist, to draw relevant conclusions with respect to this case. P.S. In defenence to what I feel I have learned from this experience I shall post my ‘real’ name, despite the fact that it represents a being which is itself in a process of ‘development’. Thank you.

  12. I did leave a message earlier describing what insights I feel I came across following the internet posts that I chose, with discretion, to watch. Considering the difficulty I hoped to portray in distinguishing fact from fiction, I merely concluded by making the choice to publish this post under my ‘real’ name. As however, it is a facebook account, and as the investigation reveals awareness of such possibilities of deception even here, on the blog Lucas Magnotta, please be advised that I only admit friends to the FB site and am not looking to extend contacts. I am not going to repost my former remarks. I thought they would be posted, but perhaps it is fortunate that this was not the case. The best.

  13. Macleans = National Enquirer … Guess Rogers Co figures smut sells better

  14. I think this guy Luka…in his own sick way…is trying to upstage the Rafferty case as well as the Bernardo case. I just get rather suspicious that this event pops up shortly after the conviction of Michael Rafferty…Canada is becoming a haven for sick-o’s…

  15. Just one illustration of the lousy reporting in the Magnotta case. Who counted how many media outlets presented the Montreal airport photos as Paris airport? If any of those pseudo-journalists had thought about it for just one second, they would realize no passengers undergo security checks AFTER landing. Hello? Security checks are done BEFORE flying, to annoy travelers and to some extent to screen for weapons, bombs and dangerous goods. Once landed, nobody gets screened or scanned. Hello? That’s unless Magnotta was having a connection in Paris, which at the time, we knew he wasn’t. Paris was his final destination on Air Transat flight 610.

  16. Excellent event, that the scum named Homolka was brought to our attention again in connection to this monster. This is pure karma. Poetic justice for the travesty of her not being in a jail cell.

  17. There are pictures and videos of them together.
    Can ANYONE write news articles these days without having done absolutely no research?

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