Friday, 1 June 2012

Luka Magnotta - Who he is, and what to expect.

Luka Rocco Magnotta (aka Eric Newman) - A Personality Profile

In order to understand the way that a murderer operates psychologically, we must examine his acts; relationship to his victim(s); childhood; and his adult life leading up to the first homicide. Using this analysis of the information currently available, I will now attempt to construct a psychological portrait of the fugitive Luka Magnotta so that we might understand the motivations for his horrific acts, and hopefully, predict his future behaviour.

According to an anonymous relative who knew Magnotta since childhood when he was simply "Eric Newman", the future murderer came from a "very dysfunctional" family, spent his early years in Scarborough, and was raised by his grandparents in Lindsay, Ontario. "The essence of this whole story is parenting or the lack of," the relative explained. Newman and his younger cousin Louis Yourkin, now in a Peterborough court facing gun and drug trafficking charges, were reared chiefly by their biological grandmother, Phyllis Yourkin, described as "... the typical matriarch of the family. She is very domineering, controlling and if you have a submissive personality, she will beat you up and do what she wants." Newman's upbringing has also been depicted as structureless.

Recent studies in lust murder have indicated that, more so than physical or sexual abuse, parental neglect is instrumental in the development of sexually sadistic tendencies. Starved of affection and attention, a neglected child may not form the ability to empathize normally. Left alone, he may spend an inordinate amount of time in a world of fantasy, coloured by resentment over his abandonment. This anger, combined with fantasy, will often lead to the playing out of elaborate violent scenarios in the child's head. As the content of his thoughts and actions are either unknown or disregarded by his caretakers, there is simply nobody to intervene to stop these recurring psychological rituals of violence. When the child reaches puberty, and begins his sexual development, eroticism also enters his wicked fantasies. The child thus sexualizes aggression and violence, masturbating to mental images and scenarios such as torture or mutilation - ideas that people who have gone through a "normal" sexual development would find appalling.

This is what I believe happened to young Eric Newman. A former transvestite lover has claimed that Newman both hated his biological father and had very little interest in sex, unless for profit. I propose that Newman grew up harbouring violent fantasies towards his birth father, which may have taken on sexual overtones as he reached adolescence. Though Newman has repeatedly stated that he is bisexual or only participates in homosexual pornography for the cash, given his history, this is likely either a lie or self deception. Newman is not only a homosexual in denial, but also a gay sexual sadist. This explains his lack of interest in conventional sex with either gender. Newman's sexuality has developed in such a way that he can only be fully satisfied by acting out violent sexual acts. Among his various paraphilias, I have identified the following:

- Picquerism: sexual gratification gained from piercing the skin with a sharp object

- Necrophilia: sexual attraction to corpses

- Paraphilic cannibalism: sexual gratification gained from the ingestion of human flesh

- Paraphilic dismemberment: sexual gratification gained from amputating a victim's appendages

- Sexual sadism: sexual gratification from witnessing pain and submission in a victim's body language.

Fundamental to understanding Newman's personality is recognizing his extreme narcissism and psychopathy. Judging by his online exploits alone, there is ample evidence to support a diagnosis of both personality disorders. This narcissism probably developed as a means of counterbalancing the feelings of self loathing he developed growing up due to parental neglect, and his ego-dystonia concerning his homosexuality. Though narcissists are known for their arrogance and perceived superiority, this is almost always underscored by a deep inferiority complex. Their self images are either grossly inflated or delusional, and when these paradigms are challenged by reality, the narcissist's fragile esteem is shattered. The result is often intense anger or depression, as the narcissist is confronted by what he knows deep down inside: that his entire reality and sense of self are completely fraudulent.

Given his upbringing and aberrant psychology, it is unsurprising that Eric Newman decided to change his name to the more exotic sounding "Luka Rocco Magnotta" and sought to reinvent himself as a homosexual sex symbol and model. In his narcissistic mind, he had shed the misery of "unloved Eric Newman from Lindsay," emerging as the glamorous and coveted star Luka Magnotta. Of course, in reality he possessed no exceptional talent or appeal, and was simply prostituting his young body to people who objectified him. Despite small successes here and there, ultimately he would have remained financially unstable or in a state of dependence on an older man. In all probability, he spent his twenties waiting for the big break that never came. Along the way he used the internet to orchestrate numerous publicity stunts to bring attention to himself - the alleged relationship with Karla Homolka may be a prime example of this. Throughout his twenties, Magnotta maintained his secret life of violent fantasy, suffocating kittens in plastic bags to satisfy his sadistic tendencies. The posting of videos of this animal abuse online implies that he derived a thrill from knowing that his work was also causing emotional upset and outrage to animal lovers all over the world. By videotaping the murder of a cat, Magnotta was not only hurting the animal, but also the millions of people who love and wish to protect them. This can almost be viewed as a form of "sadism by proxy."

Enter 2012. At the age of twenty-nine, Luka Magnotta found himself confronted with the fact that his body was getting past its prime, and that his "career" was going nowhere. As an extreme narcissist, the thought of giving up and accepting a regular job would have been psychologically impossible for him. Furthermore, he still carried a deep need for attention, stemming from the neglect he experienced in childhood. This brings us to the murder.

Recent news reports tell us that the victim was a Chinese student who was Magnotta's boyfriend. Past lovers have informed us that Magnotta had a frightening temper and was extremely difficult to get along with. With "the career that never happened" weighing on his mind, and possibly sensing that the one person propping up his fragile self worth - his boyfriend - would soon leave him, Luka Magnotta caved in to the pressure. This does not necessarily indicate a psychotic break, in which he "went insane." Rather, with the weight of the world on his shoulders and little to lose, he finally submitted to the sadistic fantasies he had been keeping at bay all of his life. The murder, overkill, dismemberment and post-mortem rape of his boyfriend/victim would thus have comprised a major psycho-sexual release for Magnotta - the realization of all of his darkest sexual desires and rage in a single gruesome homicide. Emotionally, this would have resulted in a profound sense of catharsis. At least for the time being... until the desires begin to rebuild.

Knowing that he would be linked to the murder, Magnotta decided to use his horrific acts to propel himself to the superstardom that had eluded him his whole life. He had forsaken conventional notions of success as an actor and model, for the notoriety of being one of Canada's most heinous sex murderers. This is why Magnotta posted the snuff video on the internet; why the body parts were shipped to the highest offices of government in Canada. His statement was entirely non-political, and geared towards garnering as much international attention as possible. In doing so, Luka Magnotta finally embraced his true nature - a heartless depraved sadistic killer and pervert - while simultaneously demanding the attention he had strove for his whole life.

At the time of this writing, Luka Magnotta remains on the run. Some claim he may have absconded to Europe. One thing is certain however: he will kill again. With his bank accounts and credit cards monitored and/or frozen, and an APB put out for any vehicle known to be in his possession, sooner or later Magnotta will be forced to obtain cash or a fresh set of wheels. The likelihood that he will rob and murder to do so is extremely high, though these slayings may be less elaborate and more utilitarian than his first known murder. I believe that Magnotta will stick chiefly to urban and suburban centres where he is comfortable, will fit in easier, and be able to access the luxuries his narcissism craves. The key to catching him will be to play upon his need for attention. If possible, lines of communication should be established between Magnotta and the police, with a "supercop" type character emerging with whom the killer can develop a rapport. It is through these channels that he will give himself away. Despite his claims to desiring a life of solitude, Luka Magnotta can not go away. He will be forever the shunned boy acting out for attention.

One final question should be addressed before we reach the end of this analysis: has Luka Magnotta/Eric Newman killed before? This is a difficult poser for a number of reasons. The fact that his first known victim was a lover seems to indicate that domestic problems may have been responsible for this homicide. Serial killers tend to target strangers only, so this could indicate that, though he is extremely vicious and sexually deviant, the Chinese lover could be Magnotta's first homicide victim. At the same time, the slaying involved dismemberment, picquerism, various necrophilist acts, potential cannibalism, and the mailing of body parts to political parties. That Luka Magnotta could go from killing kittens to this Dahmeresque level of depravity without a preliminary murder is comparable to going from 2 to 9 without hitting any of the numbers inbetween. Considering this, I would not be surprised to find that Magnotta was responsible for at least one or two previous homicides. I can also predict with greater certainty, that unless he is swiftly brought to justice, he will kill again.

The likelihood of Magnotta committing suicide is about 50% - he might want to bask in the attention of being Canada's new #1 sicko, or alternatively, his narcissism could spur him to take his own life simply in order to retain control and minimize his own suffering. If apprehended, I expect him to be extremely manipulative and to toy with police - confessing to murders he did not commit, withholding information, lying, and generally playing games. With no structure in his childhood and narcissistic traits, he is simply unable to comply with authority.

In conclusion, let us hope that this extremely dangerous individual is put behind bars before another man endures a similarly agonizing death and degradation. This may or may not be Magnotta's first, but it won't be his last. Presented with the right opportunities, he is likely to escalate the depravitiy of his crimes. Given his starting point, the fate that could befall subsequent victims is almost incomprehensible.

Lee Mellor, author of "Cold North Killers: Canadian Serial Murder"; June 1, 2012


  1. Well written. And I didn't realize he was on the prowl. Let's hope he gets apprehended soon!

  2. Oh man...he posted a snuff video?? So creepy.

    Good job Lee!

  3. Nice write up LEE! very insightful!

  4. Looks like I nailed the "boyfriend dumping him" stressor:

    Magnotta and Andrew Cunanan: cut from the same cloth me thinks.

  5. Wow,that was a fantastic summary. Excellently written. That finally curbed some of my curiosity about this man's mental status.

  6. sad that he probably had a chance at a good & normal life if he hadn't experienced such a traumatic childhood...

  7. hi, im a med-student from austria, really enjoyed the read.
    i teach anatomy courses at university and find myself very interested in forensic pathology.
    when i was 10y old i remember a serial killer emerging in the small moutain country i am from (300.000 inhabitants, very protected/interacting society based on strong moral values, making it very hard for "strange people" not to be spotted right away).
    i remember the s.killer being the number 1 topic (obv) for 2-3 weeks until he was caught and i was fascinated by the attention he got, and by the real life manhunt i only knew from games.
    i spent those weeks at home cuttin articles from newspapers, arranging them chronologically trying to predict his next move/murder.
    ... since then i have followed most manhunts in europe closely.
    now reading this blog i have to say that i came mostly to the same conclusions reguarding luka magnotta.

    however i find it very hard to believe that this wasnt his first human kill. watching the video i just couldnt help but to feel that the dismembering of the body looked like it was done the first time.
    i feel like someone doing it for the 2nd 3rd time would know starting dismemberment by cutting through the thigh, is the worst place, the femur is just so strong.
    i also looks like something goes wrong at the beginning when cam cuts away, then he has already cut his throat when he starts the cam again. i guess this could also be an indication for it being the first kill.

    anyway, i was wondering if u could maby recommend some good literatur reguarding profiling/forensic pathology.
    simon f.

    1. Hi Simon,

      Thanks for the post. What was the name of the killer in your Austrian village? You've sparked my curiosity. The only two Austrian serial killers I am aware of are Jack Unterweger and Waltraud Wagner.

      I agree that Magnotta did not seem very adept at dismembering his victim, however we must not leap to the assumption that he dismembered previous victims. If you look at many serial killers who reach these extreme levels of violence and deviant sexuality (dismemberment, necrophilia, cannibalism etc.), they usually build up to it. For instance, take Jack the Ripper's first victim and compare her to his last. You will notice a profound escalation in the violence. So if Magnotta had earlier victims, they may not have been subjected to the same extremes as Jun Lin. This might not have been Magnotta's first murder, but I suspect it was his first attempt at dismemberment.

      Some good, cheap starting literature on profiling:

      Whoever Fights Monsters - Robert Ressler
      Signature Killers - Robert Keppel
      Mindhunter - John Douglas
      Journey into Darkness - John Douglas
      Dark Dreams - Roy Hazelwood
      The Evil That Men Do - Roy Hazelwood
      The Unknown Darkness - Gregg McCrary
      The Jigsaw Man - Paul Britton
      Picking up the Pieces - Paul Britton
      Mapping Murder - David Canter
      Criminal Shadows - David Canter
      Profiling Serial Killers and other crimes in South Africa - Micki Pistorius
      Catch me a Killer - Micki Pistorius

      That should give you a good solid foundation to start.
      All the best,


    2. Thank u very much, that was very fast reply with interesting thoughts...(the german newspaper currently trys to connect magnotta to the dismembered bodies in miami 2009, hollywood 2012 and arizona 2011(12?), most of them i found way far fetched, thats why i asked.

      i actually come from a mountain country called Südtirol, it was part of AustriaHungary-Kingdom before the 1st world war, after the 1stww it fell to italy and mussolini forced italian settlement before and during 2nd ww. after 2nd world war we soon got a up to this day exceptional autonomy and still are part of italy.

      the serial killer was Ferdinand Gamper, a 39y old shepherd from Meran (2nd largest town in country, known for its thermal baths and a strong neonazi scene). his victims were (mostly) italian (racism played a big part in his profile).

      8.2.1996: kills the german director of Bundesbank and his femal italian lover with a modified hunting rifle in meran

      14.2: kills a italian fieldworker in a suburb of meran
      27.2: kills random italian guy in Meran
      1.3: kills in another suburb of town his "down the road"-neighbor (italian)
      on te same day he was found in a nearby shack, when italian police officer of military tried to enter the building he was shot in the head, then there was shootout with with officers. after using smoke granades and a burning shack there was a final shot. F.Gamper had killed himself with his short barrel hunting rifle (Weihrauch, Kaliber 22 Magnum), the same weapon he used on everyone else, with a shot to frontal head.

      there is also another serial killer called Marco Bergamo, he killed prostitutes (5) within 7 years from 1984. he is actually from my home town Bozen but i was barely borne when he was active

      thanks again and have a nice evening /summer

  8. excellent article... i feel parents should be held accountable raising monsters

    1. Thanks for the kind words Melany. I'm sure the Newman family have been going through hell. If you're interested in the idea of family accountability in raising a monster, try to obtain a copy of "Aftermath" by Monique Lepine. Her son killed 14 people at Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. It's a fascinating look into the heart of the mother of one of Canada's most notorious mass murderers. Provided me with a lot of perspective.

  9. Wasn't there a report in the media from an ex (transvestite) girlfriend that Magnotta had had a sexual relationship with his mother? If true, I wonder how that would feature into your analysis of his sexuality and psychopathology? I don't think we have enough information about his upbringing yet. But I would observe that much can be said of the power of negative MALE role models of course; both Bernardo and Lepine had nasty fathers.

  10. I am 99.9% positive I found a fake account Luka used and wrote about cannibalism and torture. The user is LionelHutz00 on a poker forum called 2p2.

    I don't think the police know about this. He may have killed the girl in his avatar. He refers to her in another thread about his favorite porn star as his favorite. Could indicate he filmed himself killing and having sex with her. The Los Angeles police should know.