MONTREAL – Luka Rocco Magnotta abandoned the appeal of his first-degree murder conviction in the slaying of Jun Lin Wednesday, setting the stage for an eventual meeting between the killer and his devastated father.
Wearing a light T-shirt, Magnotta appeared before a Quebec Court of Appeal judge by video conference from jail.
Quebec Court of Appeal Judge Genevieve Marcotte asked Magnotta if he was abandoning his appeal voluntarily.
Magnotta replied he’d made up his mind and didn’t need more time.
“I had the opportunity to reflect — yes,” Magnotta told the judge during a brief hearing.
The withdrawal of the appeal now opens up the possibility of a face-to-face meeting between Lin’s father, Diran Lin, and Magnotta.
A lawyer representing Lin’s family said they were relieved Magnotta had abandoned the appeal.
Daniel Urbas said Lin’s father is now willing to meet with the convicted killer.
“He wants to hear something, some kind of response, remorse from the killer of his son and he would like to learn more about what happened that night,” Urbas said.
Magnotta’s Toronto-based lawyer, Luc Leclair, said Magnotta wants to talk to Lin’s father.
Discussions were taking place even as the appeal process was triggered, but now that it’s over, a discussion could take place, hopefully in person, Leclair said.
“The father wants to meet him and it’s more in the spirit of truth and reconciliation to the extent that something can be shared, and (to) answer the father’s questions,” Leclair said.
Magnotta’s lawyer had filed two appeals in January, seeking a new trial for his client. Since that time, Magnotta considered what a new trial would entail, recognizing that the Crown’s evidence was strong.
“It was his decision,” Leclair said.
Magnotta, 32, was found guilty of first-degree murder last December in the May 2012 slaying and dismemberment of Lin.
He was also given the maximum possible sentences on the four other charges: criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.
Magnotta admitted to killing and dismembering Lin but had been seeking to be found not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder.
The Crown had countered the crime was planned and deliberate and that Magnotta’s behaviour and actions were incompatible with those of someone supposedly suffering from a disease of the mind.
The jury deliberated for eight days before returning five guilty verdicts.
Prosecutor Louis Bouthillier said Wednesday Magnotta’s decision to abandon the appeal marks a formal end to the case.
“It’s the end of the process, the appeal process is now terminated,” he said.
The veteran prosecutor was asked if he was surprised that Magnotta withdrew his appeal.
“In my line of work, there are surprises everyday,” he said.