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MAGNOTTA TRIAL: Jury hears gruesome testimony from pathologist

Witness Frank Rubert, from Berlin, Germany, leaves the courtroom after testifying at the murder trial for Luka Rocco Magnotta Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014 in Montreal. Magnotta is charged in connection with the death and dismemberment of university student Jun Lin case that made international headlines.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
October 09, 2014 - 3:31 PM

CAUTION: GRAPHIC CONTENT MAY DISTURB SOME READERS

MONTREAL — The pathologist who performed the post-mortem on Jun Lin says his throat was cut and that his system showed traces of a sleeping medication, Luka Rocco Magnotta's murder trial heard Thursday.

Much of Yann Daze's testimony dealt with Lin's violent death in Magnotta's apartment in May 2012.

Daze said the victim's throat was cut while he was alive and that he suffered so many blows to the head with a hammer they could not be counted.

The pathologist said it was impossible to determine whether the blows were inflicted before or after the actual death.

"All the vessels in the neck had been cut by a sharp weapon," said Daze, who didn't specify which of the weapons seized by police might have been used.

"It's difficult to say. I can't be any more specific than to say it was a sharp weapon."

Daze said Lin sustained 73 post-mortem wounds in the upper body, abdomen and back from four different weapons — a hammer, a screwdriver, a small electric saw and a knife.

These items were later found in the trash behind Magnotta's apartment building.

The dismemberment occurred after Lin's death, Daze told the jurors. There were cuts as well as broken bones. Daze suggested that a hammer or similar object was likely used to smash through bones to allow for an easier severing of limbs, hands and feet.

The victim's body was cut into a total of 10 pieces. The jury only looked at sketches and not actual photos.

Daze noted that while a knife had been used to cut the tissue in the neck, a grinder saw was likely used to cut through Lin's spine to complete the severing of the head.

He said the same type of saw is used in the lab he works at to open up human skulls and is very efficient at cutting through bone.

Lin's head was also struck with a hammer — several semi-circular wounds were found in the area of the left temple consistent with the use of such a weapon. Daze said the victim was struck too many times to be counted.

"It would have taken many, but I can't estimate how many," Daze said. "One impact is clearly not enough (to cause the injuries)."

Parts of Lin's left buttock were missing and there were also lacerations to his anus, Daze said.

On Thursday, the forensic pathologist said the sleep drug Temazepam and Benadryl, an over-the-counter allergy medication, were found in Lin's body. It was the first reference to any such substances being present in his system.

A toxicologist is to testify further on those drugs at a later date.

Daze said the autopsy was difficult given the body was dismembered and the autopsy had to be conducted over five non-consecutive days between June 1 and July 5, 2012.

It meant getting away from the usual approach pathologists employ — examinations done over consecutive days with knowledge from the start of what they are looking for.

Daze testified that police initially found most of the body in advanced decomposition in trash behind Magnotta's apartment building but that the head, feet and hands were missing.

The jury has heard previously that Lin's hands and feet would turn up in Ottawa and Vancouver while the head was recovered a month later at a Montreal park. The mummified head had to be identified using dental records.

Magnotta has admitted to the acts he's accused of in Lin's death, but is arguing he is not criminally responsible by way of mental disorder. For its part, the Crown contends the killing was planned and deliberate and says it plans to prove that.

The charges against Magnotta are first-degree murder; 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.

Daze said he didn't view a so-called murder video online because he knew it was connected to the case and he didn't want to taint his own findings.

He testified he didn't have any interest in watching the video in any case.

"Frankly, I see enough disgusting things in my line of work, I didn't need to see any more," he told the jury.

Daze is expected to resume his testimony Friday.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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