Canadian government to request Magnotta's extradition
Published Monday, June 4, 2012 11:36PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2012 6:36PM EDT
A 29-year-old Canadian man wanted in a gruesome slaying of a Chinese university student has been arrested in Berlin, and the federal government has already begun the process of seeking his extradition from Germany.
Luka Rocco Magnotta was arrested at an Internet cafe in the German capital shortly before 2 p.m. local time on Monday, Berlin police spokesperson Stefan Redlich told CTV News.
Kadir Anlayisli, an employee at the Internet café, said he thought Magnotta looked familiar so he kept an eye on him.
"I looked at him and thought I knew him from somewhere because I read the newspapers every day," Anlayisli said.
Magnotta was reading news about himself and the case online, he said.
When police arrived, Magnotta did not resist arrest, Redlich said.
"He was arrested without a fight."
Magnotta, the subject of an Interpol "red notice," was wanted in the death of Jun Lin, a 33-year-old Chinese student at Concordia University.
Lin's torso was discovered in a suitcase outside the accused man's apartment in Montreal last week. Police later linked the partial corpse to a severed hand and foot that were mailed to the offices of political parties in Ottawa.
The worldwide hunt for Magnotta culminated in Monday's arrest in Berlin.
Surveillance video from the Internet café appears to show Magnotta enter the shop shortly before noon local time.
Another clip then shows seven German police officers calmly walk through the front door of the cafe and past the front cash register. Four minutes later, the officers leave, with one officer guiding Magnotta in handcuffs.
Magnotta first tried to give officers a false name, but then relented, saying, "OK, you got me," Redlich said.
In the past, Magnotta has used the names Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, police said.
Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere confirmed the arrest later in the day, noting investigators used a fingerprint test to verify that the person in custody was Magnotta.
"We're very happy to tell you that the suspect has been apprehended, but this is far from over," Lafreniere told reporters on Monday afternoon.
Lafreniere said investigators are now tasked with beginning the extradition process and delving deeper into the suspect's background, including determining if he is linked to more homicides or other crimes.
Lafreniere said bringing Magnotta back to Canada could take some time, a process that will include "a lot of paperwork."
Meanwhile, Redlich said Magnotta is being transported to a prison where he'll be held for questioning. He is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the federal Justice Department said Monday Canadian officials are now preparing the necessary documents required by Canada's extradition treaty with Germany.
"Officials with the International Assistance Group (IAG) are working expeditiously in conjunction with officials from the Attorney General of Quebec (the prosecuting authority) to prepare the materials in support of the [extradition] request," Julie Di Mambro said in a statement.
She added: "Canada will continue to be advised of the progress of this matter though the German courts."
A spokesperson for Quebec's prosecutions bureau told The Canadian Press that his office will send an extradition request to the federal Justice Department in the coming days.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said Monday that should Magnotta waive his right to an extradition hearing, he can be extradited in short order.
"However, if in fact they are contested, those hearings can take quite a period of time from my understanding of extradition law," Toews said. "So we trust that all the authorities are working hard to make that happen."
CTV News Channel's Mercedes Stephenson reported Monday afternoon that legal experts estimate it could take between a few months and one to two years for the extradition issue to be settled.
Interpol deemed case a ‘priority'
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is in London for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, congratulated police on the arrest.
"Well, I'm obviously pleased that the suspect has been arrested, and I just want to congratulate the police forces on their good work," Harper said.
Redlich said Berlin city police are working with officers at a federal level, who are expected to begin sharing information with their Canadian counterparts.
Montreal police say Magnotta left Canada on a flight bound for Europe on May 26.
More than one person reported spotting the suspect in northwest Paris over the weekend, Lafreniere confirmed on Sunday.
Various French media outlets reported that police were following Magnotta's movements through Paris by tracking his cellphone activity.
Additional reports indicated items belonging to Magnotta, including air sickness bags and pornographic magazines, were found in a hotel in suburban Paris.
As police tracked Magnotta, Interpol circulated its "red notice" to all 190 of its member countries. A "red notice" communicates when a member country is seeking a suspect and asks that he or she be placed under provisional arrest pending extradition.
Interpol says the nature of the crime led the agency's fugitive investigation support unit and its command and co-ordination centre to deem the case "a priority."
Upwards of 400 tips related to the international manhunt had poured in to police, Lafreniere told reporters at the Monday news conference.
Magnotta boasts an extensive digital footprint, which includes a website replete with personal photographs.
Police have also identified him as a male model who has appeared in adult films.
An online group claims to have been searching for Magnotta since 2010 after a video of a young man torturing kittens appeared online. It's also alleged that the suspect posted on white supremacist websites, musing about the creation of all-white countries.
The bizarre accusations and grisly case details have grabbed international headlines, with some news outlets billing the suspect as a "Canadian Psycho."
Lafreniere said Magnotta's online profile, and the wide circulation of news of the case over the Internet, helped bring about the suspect's arrest.
"He used the web to glorify himself but it was also the web that helped in his arrest," Lafreniere told reporters.
Michel Juneau-Katsuya, a former officer with the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), noted the importance of the media and social media in Magnotta's arrest.
"Contrary to the usual habits of the Canadian police departments, who are very conservative in dealing with the media, here they provided quite a lot of information very, very rapidly, which alerted not only the other police departments around the world, but alerted also the media," Juneau-Katsuya told CTV News Channel.
"We're now in an era of communication where it will be more and more difficult for either terrorists or serious criminals or dangerous criminals to hide away because now people are much more alerted, much more vigilant, they can communicate with one another through social media, and that allows the people to be detected much faster."
As speculation swirls, officers at home are trying to separate fact from fiction.
Police have said the severed foot that was mailed to the Conservative Party's Ottawa headquarters arrived with a note warning that six body parts had been mailed out.
Thus far, officers have only recovered the foot and a severed hand, which was apparently destined for the Liberal Party of Canada's offices.
As well, police believe that a video posted to a website specializing in gory videos may depict the victim being dismembered.
The victim's former boss, Kankan Huang, said he was glad the suspect has been arrested.
"I feel like there is justice -- it does exist," said Huang, owner of a convenience store where Lin worked part-time.
Magnotta faces five charges in Canada including first-degree murder, causing an indignity to a body and using the mail system to deliver "obscene, indecent, immoral or scurrilous" material.
With a report from CTV's Ben O'Hara-Byrne in Berlin