June 20, 2012
Magnotta isolated, under constant watch
By Brian Daly, QMI Agency
MONTREAL - Alleged body-parts killer Luka Magnotta is under "super protection" at the east-end Riviere-des-Prairies detention centre as a court prepared to hear arguments Thursday about his mental state.
The 29-year-old former small-time porn actor was moved to the R.D.P. jail on Tuesday afternoon.
He has been kept in strict isolation, no surprise given the nature of the charges against him.
Magnotta is accused in the killing and dismemberment of his ex-lover, Jun Lin. Lin’s body parts were mailed to the offices of Canadian political parties in Ottawa and public schools in Vancouver.
Stephane Lemaire, head of the provincial jail guards' union, told QMI Agency that Magnotta is under suicide watch and never leaves jail guards’ sight.
“It's clear that these types of charges, this type of person, can't be in the general population,” said Lemaire.
He's always alone and he's under constant surveillance for his security and the security of others.”
Magnotta was briefly considered the world’s most wanted man late last month following the discovery of Lin’s torso outside Magnotta’s Montreal apartment.
The manhunt extended to Paris and then to Berlin, where Magnotta was arrested earlier this month.
He was extradited to Canada on Monday under unprecedented security and has pleaded not-guilty to first-degree murder and other charges.
Lemaire said Magnotta is being kept in a secluded part of the R.D.P. jail and is only allowed to exit into a secured open space for one hour a day.
He will likely remain at R.D.P. unless a judge agrees Thursday to a psychiatric evaluation, in which case he would likely be moved next door to the Pinel mental hospital.
The head of the jail guards’ union said that while the charges facing Magnotta are serious, he doesn’t think the former porn actor poses the same threat level as top biker leaders or Mafiosi.
An unprecedented security contingent, including police vans, motorcycles and border services trucks, greeted Magnotta when he arrived in Canada via military jet on Monday.
By contrast, a simple prison van and provincial corrections SUV brought Magnotta from the police booking centre to R.D.P. on Tuesday.
Lemaire said the big police convoys and machine-gun-toting officers are excessive.
“It’s a big show,” he said. “He weighs 100 pounds. He doesn't impress us.”