Burgeoning with true-crime content, Netflix is taking a step forward in exploring cases in the digital age. Now, the streaming giant will take on one of the grisliest internet murderers: Luka Magnotta, the infamous Canadian porn star. The colourfully titled Don't F**ck With Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer is a three-part docuseries following the internet sleuths and animal rights activists who tracked down Magnotta while he was on the lam after posting a video of himself murdering and dismembering international student Jun Lin. It goes without saying that this isn't a story for the faint of heart — the events leading up to Magnotta's arrest in June 2012 are just as heinous and dark as you'd imagine.
Who Was Luka Magnotta?
Born Eric Clinton Kirk Newman in 1982, Magnotta started his career as a porn actor, stripper, model, and male escort. His first brush with the law was in 2005 when he impersonated a woman applying for a credit card and bought $10,000 worth of goods. A year later, he legally changed his name to Luka Magnotta.
Police later learned that he set up around 70 Facebook pages and 20 websites under various names. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre, he even posted on the white supremacist website Stormfront about how it was unfair that Chinese and black people had their own countries while whites did not. After two failed stints on reality TV, Magnotta also created the rumour on message boards that he dated the murderer Karla Homolka. He went on a radio show to deny it, which in turn, generated buzz around him.
How Did the Murder Unfold?
In May 2012, Magnotta brutally murdered Jun Lin, a 33-year-old computer engineering student from China attending Concordia University. It's unknown how the two met, but they may have possibly connected through Craigslist's Men Seeking Men section. On a shock site called Best Gore, Magnotta posted a video of himself called "1 Lunatic, 1 Icepick" where he dismembered and desecrated Lin's body. Magnotta sent various body parts to political headquarters and schools; a janitor also found a torso in a suitcase in a rubbish pile in Montreal. DNA evidence later confirmed that the body parts were indeed Lin's. But of course, Magnotta had fled his apartment by the time the police were on his trail.
Who Helped Catch Magnotta?
Magnotta's capture can be attributed to citizen detectives and animal rights activists. Magnotta is believed to be the shadowy hooded person behind several animal abuse videos that began in 2010. Some of the videos that he reportedly posted included one of him suffocating two cats with a vacuum cleaner ("1 boy 2 kittens") and another of a cat being eaten alive by a Burmese python ("Python Christmas").
When John Green (an internet alias) caught wind of the gruesome murder video, he recognised Magnotta as the cat abuser in the vacuum cleaner video. Green was part of an online group diligently compiling evidence against Magnotta for animal mistreatment through clues in the cat abuse videos. However, the police hadn't taken the group seriously when they contacted them about the videos. After seeing the video, Green left a message for a Toronto detective and notified other members of his online group. By the time Magnotta was declared an international fugitive, authorities and online sleuths were on his trail, the latter sending in thousands of tips on his whereabouts.
In an interview with Rolling Stone about this case, Green stated, "There's this unwritten rule of the Internet. It's called rule zero. And it's you don't mess with cats."
What Happened to Magnotta?
Magnotta didn't get away for very long. Police eventually tracked him down on June 4, 2012, in Berlin at an Internet cafe while he was reading stories about himself. He was indicted on charges of committing first-degree murder, offering indignities to a human body, distributing obscene materials, using the postal service to distribute obscene materials, and criminal harassment. In 2014, he received a mandatory life sentence and will be eligible for parole in 25 years.