MONTREAL – Relatives of a former prime minister and a notorious killer testified at Luka Rocco Magnotta’s murder trial Friday after their names and return addresses were listed on packages sent by the accused.
Neither Hubert Chretien nor Logan Valentini knew Magnotta but they were called to testify because the packages he sent to Vancouver schools in May 2012 contained body parts of his victim, Jun Lin.
Valentini, whose sister Karla Homolka was sentenced to 12 years in prison for manslaughter in a high-profile murder case in the 1990s, told jurors she didn’t mail any such box to False Creek Elementary.
Valentini, who changed her name from Lori Homolka in 1996, said via video link from Kitchener, Ont., she was blown away when police called her in 2012.
They wouldn’t give her specifics but she used the Internet to figure out the case in question.
“I was kind of stunned, I didn’t know why I would be dragged into something again that had nothing to do with me,” she told the court.
The jury heard that Karla Homolka is living in Quebec with her spouse. Valentini said she’d seen her sister recently.
She said it is common knowledge she is Homolka’s sibling.
“Everybody knows,” she said. “It’s been in the media that I’ve changed my name and what I changed it to.
“I didn’t want to change my identity, I just didn’t want to be associated with something and get a bad rep for something I didn’t do or have knowledge of. I just wanted to be able to live my life, quietly and free.”
Earlier, one of Jean Chretien’s sons told a similar tale related to his name and address being listed on another Magnotta-mailed package sent to a second Vancouver school.
Hubert Chretien said he doesn’t know Magnotta and never mailed the package, which misspelled his first name as “Hurbert.”
Chretien, who runs a non-profit organization, said his family links are well established and his biographical information is easily found on the Internet.
“My father is a lot better known than I am,” he testified from the courthouse in Gatineau, Que. “But by extension, I’m well known, yes.”
Chretien said he received a call about two years ago from a police homicide detective.
“It wasn’t really pleasant that my name was used,” he said.
“I was pretty surprised. It was something that was strange. I didn’t understand.”
Magnotta, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in Lin’s slaying and dismemberment.
He has admitted the physical acts he’s accused of but has pleaded not guilty by way of mental disorder.
He faces four other charges: criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; mailing obscene and indecent material; committing an indignity to a body; and publishing obscene materials.