A mom’s love for a sadis­tic killer is un­con­di­tional

Toronto Star - - NEWS -

Warn­ing: Graphic de­tails fol­low. My Son, The Killer Did Anna Yourkin — mother of Luka Mag­notta — even re­sist go­ing with that ti­tle for her re­cently pub­lished book, writ­ten with Brian Whit­ney?

For a woman who claims that she was sick­ened by trauma, crazed with an­guish when her eldest child was ar­rested and ul­ti­mately con­victed of first­de­gree mur­der in the sadis­tic sex­ual killing and dis­mem­ber­ment of in­ter­na­tional stu­dent Jun Lin; who, like her son, rails against the treat­ment the fam­ily suf­fered at the hands of preda­tory me­dia — she’s cer­tainly played the sen­sa­tion­al­ism card to push sales.

Sub­ti­tle: The Un­told Story of Luka Mag­notta and “1 Lu­natic 1 Ice Pick.”

Mag­notta, né Eric New­man, was the porn ac­tor, model and gay es­cort who hooked up with Lin on Craigslist, then turned their Mon­treal date into a crime of unimag­in­able hor­rors: rap­ing his bound vic­tim, stab­bing Lin 55 times, com­mit­ting un­speak­able abom­i­na­tions upon the poor man’s corpse, cut­ting the body into pieces, play­ing with his de­cap­i­tated head, mas­tur­bat­ing him­self with a sev­ered limb, sodom­iz­ing the torso, and fi­nally dis­pos­ing of the re­mains in garbage bags and a suit­case. (Stop­ping in the lobby to primp and preen in front of a mirror).

No imag­in­ing re­quired. Mag­notta made a snuff video of the en­tire thing and up­loaded the footage to a web­site spe­cial­iz­ing in gore, even mar­shalling on­line traf­fic by beat­ing the pro­mo­tional drum, un­der var­i­ous han­dles, on other so­cial me­dia sites. That video was en­ti­tled “1 Lu­natic 1 Ice Pick.”

Then, af­ter mail­ing var­i­ous body parts to po­lit­i­cal of­fices in Ot­tawa and two Van­cou­ver schools, Mag­notta jaunted off to Europe, ar­rested weeks later on an In­ter­pol war­rant at an in­ter­net café in Ber­lin, where he’d been eye­balling news cov­er­age of the crime and the in­ter­na­tional manhunt.

In first-per­son chap­ters — al­ter­nat­ing with Whit­ney chap­ters that in­clude his prison in­ter­views and writ­ten cor­re­spon­dence with Mag­notta — Yourkin makes it clear that she loves her son un­con­di­tion­ally. A mother’s love can with­stand any­thing. Al­though their close­ness, as Yourkin re­counts it, the co-birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, the lux­ury va­ca­tions they took to­gether as adults — she was only 16 when Luka was born — is rather creepy.

“Be­cause of chance and choice, I have a son in my life whom I adore. I will stand by him, sup­port, and pro­tect him as long as there is breath in my body.”

Yourkin ad­mits the poor choices she made in men, in­clud­ing the step­fa­ther who phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally abused Luka. While cop­ing with her violent partners, she tried to do her best by her odd­ball son, al­ways re­main­ing in close con­tact. But nowhere does she even at­tempt to ex­plain how Luka turned into a mon­ster, apart from blam­ing var­i­ous med­i­cal au­thor­i­ties for fail­ing to prop­erly di­ag­nose and treat her son’s mental ill­nesses over the years. Yourkin is adamant Luca was never schiz­o­phrenic — the de­fence put for­ward at the three-month trial in 2014, in hopes of se­cur­ing a “not crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble” (NCR) ver­dict. The jury didn’t buy it any­way. Like mother, like son, on that score. “It’s very an­noy­ing,” Mag­notta tells Whit­ney. “I never wanted any­thing to do with the NCR de­fence.”

Just a le­gal ploy, Mag­notta in­sists, speak­ing for the first time since he was handed a life sen­tence for first-de­gree mur­der, in­dig­nity to a body and other charges, with no pa­role el­i­gi­bil­ity for 25 years.

“I have no mental ill­ness what­so­ever. I had to go with it, even though I didn’t want to, but my lawyers pres­sured me into it. I told the doc­tors I had no mental ill­ness. Even now in prison I take no med­i­ca­tions, but the lawyers said our only chance was to go with the NCR de­fence. I wish I didn’t do it. I wish I tes­ti­fied and told the story my way.”

Which doubt­less would have been a load of ly­ing rub­bish.

Mag­notta is adamant with Whit­ney that he never posted the snuff video. That was “Manny.” The same “Manny” — no one has proof that he ex­ists — who had filmed Mag­notta killing kit­tens and put that video on­line. (An­i­mal rights ac­tivists were hunt­ing him on the in­ter­net.) The same “Manny” who cut him, spit on him, forced him to have sex with an­i­mals and threat­ened to kill him if he didn’t do his bid­ding. The same “Manny” who kept call­ing Mag­notta, who wanted a three­some with Lin, kept call­ing and call­ing the apart­ment on that “date night” and or­dered Mag­notta to turn on the we­b­cam so he, Whit­ney writes, “could be a part of what was go­ing on.” The same “Manny” who, in Whit­ney’s ac­count, made Lin tie Mag­notta up, then vi­o­lently sex­u­ally as­saulted him to the point that Mag­notta sobbed.

There are no di­rect quo­ta­tions about what hap­pened next be­cause Mag­notta has never ad­mit­ted to the mur­der. But Whit­ney de­scribes Mag­notta as hear­ing voices in his head, even as “Manny,” on the phone, sug­gested Lin had put some­thing in his drink, that maybe Lin is a gov­ern­ment agent — look out­side for cars with tinted win­dows.

Whit­ney writes: “He was scared. He was dizzy. He heard voices say­ing, ‘Kill him; he is an agent.’ Luka’s mind started racing. He blacked out. He felt some­thing wet. He heard voices. They said, ‘Cut it.’ He felt sick. He threw up. Manny said, ‘I’ll han­dle ev­ery­thing.’ Luka was shak­ing all over. Manny told him to start throw­ing things away in the trash. Lin was on the bed with no arms and no legs.”

There has never been any con­vinc­ing ex­pla­na­tion for the why of what Mag­notta did, be­yond a con­sen­sus of nar­cis­sism, his need to be fa­mous, even if that hinged on a ghastly crime that in­cluded necrophilia and, ap­par­ently, can­ni­bal­ism. (Mag­notta slic­ing strips of flesh from his vic­tim, seem­ing to be pre­par­ing to eat it.)

Mag­notta: “I am fre­quently … por­trayed as this fame-starved un­sta­ble per­son. This in­ac­cu­rate spin could not be fur­ther from the truth. This la­bel is get­ting old. The truth is I have never re­quested or par­tic­i­pated in any in­ter­view with any me­dia out­lets in the last seven years. Hardly the act of some­one ad­dicted to at­ten­tion…

“Other peo­ple’s opin­ions of me mean ab­so­lutely noth­ing. I ig­nore the noise that other peo­ple rant. The peo­ple who know me know Manny. So when id­iots were not wit­ness to the events and who weren’t even there give their opin­ion, who cares, they are com­pletely ir­rel­e­vant.”

Prison, Mag­notta tells Whit­ney, is not so bad. “I’m out­side the ma­jor­ity of the time; I play a lot of video games. We have movie nights. We all have our own TVs. I have paint­ing class and I ex­er­cise a lot. I prac­tice lan­guage stud­ies. Peo­ple need to be proud of their ac­com­plish­ments. Know your value and share it with ev­ery­one.”

Last June, Mag­notta mar­ried a fel­low inmate, An­thony Jolin. Mom at­tended the wed­ding.

“It didn’t mat­ter to me where the wed­ding was tak­ing place, for to me it was a mile­stone in my son’s life, a day that moth­ers hope for. We al­ways hope our chil­dren will find love and hap­pi­ness and mine did.”

Nowhere in her book does Anna Yourkin ex­plain how her son, Luka Mag­notta, turned into a mon­ster.

Rosie Di­Manno OPIN­ION

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.