How Luka Magnotta was captured by amateur detectives
WE will know soon enough if Luka Rocco Magnotta murdered. We will know if Magnotta filmed the killing in Montreal and the published it online as the film 1 Lunatic, 1 Icepick. We will know if Magnotta posted body parts around Canada.
Thomas McGrath has written about how Magnotta was captured. We spotted Magnotta a while back. Now we meet David Kerekes, co-author of Killing for Culture, “a unique, definitive investigation into images of death – both real and staged – which have been captured on film either for cinematic, or more sinister, purposes: the complete history of the so-called ‘snuff-movie’ aesthetic.”
Born and raised in Manchester, DAVID KEREKES is a co-founder of Headpress and co-author of the books See No Evil and Killing for Culture. He is also author of Sex Murder Art and more recentlyMezzogiorno, a meditation on life, death and southern Italy.
Through Kerekes, McGrath meets “Alex DeLarge”, who revelas the Animal Beta Project:
Animal Beta Project is an Animal Justice organization. ABP seeks justice for animals that have been harmed by searching for the abusers and turning over evidence to proper authorities. We are not a 501c3 organization, and we do not accept rewards or donations. If someone is posing as ABP and is asking for donations, it is fraudulent.
“The Facebook group was initially set up by someone known as ‘R’ around December 2010 when Magnotta released the first video – that video’s known as “VKK,” which stands for Vacuum Kitten Killer. In that, Magnotta puts two kittens inside a vacuum-sealed bag and then attaches a vacuum cleaner to it and sucks in the air until they die. You’ve got to understand how horrendous this shit was. I mean, I’d seen Faces of Death. I think that when they’re eighteen everyone wants to test themselves by watching the grossest thing possible. But this was no accident – and it was no act. This guy was actually killing and doing so for some demented reason.”
The group took a view and investigated:
Most damningly, group members found that many of Mr. Magnotta’s photos were uploaded with embedded information on the make and serial number of the camera, a hot pink Panasonic DMC-F3. “There are pictures of Luka Magnotta taken with the same camera … as the camera which took the photos of the suspect holding the kittens before they were killed,” wrote Animal Beta Project in a 17-page evidence document posted to their website..
“We have done all that we can do with our very limited resources and investigation experience, and feel that we have enough evidence for our suspect to be named as a person of interest.”
‘There are pictures of Luka Magnotta taken with the same camera … as the camera which took the photos of the suspect holding the kittens. He might end up killing human beings one day,” reads a post to the group’s Facebook page in December 2011. “He might just not stop with animals.”
DeLarge produced a video on Magnotta for For Great Justice. The Animal Beta Project were onto Magnotta. And Magnotta was, allegedly, keen on subterfuge:
“Every comment Luka Magnotta made was about himself, was pro-Luka Magnotta, that was the first thing to look out for. If someone thinks he’s ‘hot,’ that’s usually him.”
In November 2011, ABP posted these two videos, alleging that Magnotta was the kitten killer:
Animal Beta Project spotted a new Magnotta account:
“Magnotta knew he was communicating with us through his videos on Social Media accounts, but this one time was particularly scary. He had just set up a video account in which he’d favorited a load of videos – and in the videos he’d favorited a video of the exact workplace of one of the ABP group, and all five or six films in the account related to the personal locations of secret group members.”
And then, after Toronto police had been interested and then questioned if Magnotta even existed:
…one of the ABP members received a Google Alert. It was 1 Lunatic, 1 Icepick. They posted it to the ABP Facebook group: DeLarge and a couple of other members immediately clocked the still frame of Magnotta crouching in his purple hoodie, Casablanca poster behind him on the wall. “I was just waking up,” DeLarge recalls. “It was 11’o’clock Sunday morning, the sun was shining: I was looking forward to a nice chilled day.”
DeLarge analysed the film.
“Magnotta murdered the guy while filming it, so he’d have to set up the camera, get the video going – afterwards he’d have had to turn to his laptop, with all the body parts lying around, and think, ‘I’ve got to edit this.’ Now, there’s dodgy sound in this video. We think it’s because he tried to use the music in the background, but realized it sounded shit and decided to put a soundtrack on it. Then he had to upload it onto the Internet… can you imagine what it must’ve been like in that room? And all you’re focused on is getting your video out there.”
On May 30, police named Magnotta as the body parts suspect.
Belatedly, the ABP had everyone’s complete attention. “I was actually quite paranoid and just had a feeling the police were going to close the whole group down. Thankfully they didn’t.” On the contrary, a police division now approached them (via PETA, who DeLarge is quick to credit and praise for their involvement throughout), seeking to join the Animal Beta Project. Within hours, a solitary “amazed” representative was admitted and gifted what amounted to a comprehensive foundation for what had overnight become a global manhunt. “You know it’s serious when Interpol release a code red notice saying ‘Magnotta has not been apprehended.’”
So. The internet, so often presented by mainstream media as a force for wrongdoing and evil, enabled obsessives to track down an alleged killer.