Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Slain man's mother no longer has will to live

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MONTREAL -- The mother of slain Chinese student Jun Lin says that 10 months after her son's killing, she no longer has the will to live.

The 33-year-old Lin was killed and dismembered last May in Montreal in a case that made headlines around the world.

Lin's family met with journalists Tuesday as the preliminary hearing for his accused killer -- Luka Rocco Magnotta -- is on a break at the city's courthouse.

They wanted to honour Lin's memory ahead of the Qingming festival, a traditional Chinese date for families to commemorate ancestors and the deceased.

Speaking through an interpreter, Lin's emotional mother, Zhigui Du, said she still struggles daily with the loss of her son.

"She said that before, she was full of hope for life... (She now has) no interest to live in this world," said the interpreter as she translated for Du, who broke down in tears a couple of times while talking about Lin.

"She wants so much to hug her son."

Lin's mother, father and younger sister travelled to Montreal from China to follow the court proceedings. Magnotta is facing numerous charges -- including first-degree murder -- in the slaying of the computer engineering student.

Diran Lin, Lin's father, is the only one of the three who has been inside the courtroom for a first-hand look at some of the disturbing evidence that has been presented.

His attendance in court proved to be very difficult.

Overcome with emotion, a trembling and weeping Diran Lin left the courtroom in tears a few weeks ago after hearing evidence. He did not return to the courthouse for a couple of days.

Evidence presented at the preliminary inquiry is subject to a publication ban. The hearing, adjourned until Monday, will determine whether there is enough evidence to send Magnotta to trial.

The family's lawyer said they decided to meet with reporters Tuesday to ensure Lin's memory does not get lost amid the heightened media interest in the suspect and the gruesome details of the case.

Magnotta, 30, a porn actor and stripper, set off an international manhunt last year before his arrest at a Berlin Internet café.

"They don't want their son to be a footnote in the CV of the accused," said attorney Daniel Urbas, a Montreal commercial-litigation lawyer who is acting pro bono.

"They understand the accused is on trial, but for them it's all about their son, the memory of their son and his legacy."

Lin's father recalled how his son worked in IT at Microsoft's Beijing office before moving to Canada to study at Montreal's Concordia University. He arrived in Montreal in July 2011.

"He found Montreal was a very nice city," Diran Lin said through the interpreter, as the family sat at a boardroom table in Urbas' office that was covered with about 20 photos of Lin.

"He wanted to improve himself."

Amid the family's collection of pictures was an identification card from when Lin worked as a volunteer during beach volleyball events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Photos showed Lin as a little boy on a tricycle and as an adult standing with Minnie Mouse at Hong Kong Disneyland.

In most of the photos, Lin has a big smile.

Urbas said Lin's parents called their son by the nickname "pistachio," which he indicated was meant to represent his tendency to burst with happiness and laughter.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 3, 2013 A10

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