Today in Montreal, Luka Magnotta, 32, was found guilty by a jury of a gruesome premeditated murder and four other charges, and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. The chances of Magnotta ever being paroled are slim to none, because society generally does not give people who commit horrendous crimes like his a second chance.
To recap, in case you haven’t heard about this case, here’s an excerpt from today’s article in the Montreal Gazette by Sue Montgomery, who has been reporting on the trial — which has had worldwide coverage — since its beginning:
The jury in the case found Luka Magnotta guilty of all five charges he faced in the killing and dismemberment of Chinese national Lin Jun.
After a little more than seven days of deliberations, eight women and four men decided the 32-year-old Scarborough native knew exactly what he was doing when he brought Lin Jun to his apartment on May 24, 2012, then slit his throat and cut him into 10 pieces.
He knew what he was doing when he bought mailing boxes to send Lin’s feet and hands, wrapped in pink tissue paper, to schools in Vancouver and to the Liberal and Conservative parties of Canada.
He knew what he was doing when he videotaped hours spent with Lin, then edited portions together, added music and uploaded the end result to the Internet under the title One Lunatic One Ice Pick.
So, while Lin Jun’s parents — who gave a moving victim’s impact statement to the court today after the verdict was announced — undoubtedly will suffer every single day for the rest of their lives because of what Luka Magnotta did to their son, Magnotta will be pampered in the Canadian prison system with three square meals a day, full medical and dental treatment and, no doubt, will have other privileges that many impoverished honest people around the world will never know.
At taxpayers’ expense.
Is justice being served by letting Magnotta stay alive? Or should Canada reinstate the death penalty to deal with the likes of him?
I know that some people in Canada would say that the legal system should not have the right to take a life. Some would cite religious grounds. I suppose some Christians hold out hope for his redemption, and that his time in prison might lead him back “to Christ,” while others might believe he is going to hell no matter what — so why tarry?
But there are many schools of spirituality (I adhere to one of them) that believe you reap what you sow (i.e. karma), and that if you murder without just cause, you will die a similar death in this life or another one (a future incarnation). We might, in fact, be doing people like Magnotta a favour by executing them because we might be saving them from future deaths like the ones they caused. They would be reaping what they have sown sooner rather than later, and we would also be saving taxpayers the burden of having to support someone they might not want to support.
For those who don’t hold religious and/or spiritual beliefs but hold out some hope for Magnotta’s redemption and a possible contribution to the betterment of mankind, I would ask this: should we then be locking him up for life, or should we have a special training facility where he could be rehabilitated and be allowed to re-enter society?
Here is my question for all Canadians, and for those in other countries/states where the death penalty has been banned:
Should Canadians (and people in other countries) be allowed to vote in a nationwide referendum seeking the reinstatement of the death penalty for those convicted beyond a shadow of a doubt of premeditated murder?