He may be defending himself against charges of perpetrating a brutal murder, but that hasn't stopped Luka Magnotta’s fans from coming out of the woodwork.
While some have congregated on social media pages simply to support the 30-year-old Ontarian as he faces first-degree-murder charges, others have adamantly professed Magnotta's innocence (including several who have contacted this journalist).
But a few superfans have gone a step further – they've come out in person.
Kyle Gilgen drove all the way from Raleigh, North Carolina, to let the so-called Canadian Psycho know that he's not alone.
Kyle Gilgen spent the better part of two weeks in the Montreal courtroom, staring dreamily through the bullet-proof glass at Luka Magnotta.
Luka Magnotta is charged with murder and dismemberment in the death of Lin Jun.
Gilgen spent the better part of two weeks in the Montreal courtroom
, sitting in the front row of the public gallery, staring dreamily through the bullet-proof glass at Magnotta, who sat and listened to the evidence brought against him.
Gilgen, who goes by the name Ethan Sommers on his Tumblr page, muses about the court case and Magnotta on his blog. "He looks fantastic! His skin is cleared up and I like his hairstyle. He really hasn’t gained too much weight either," Gilgen writes. "Since he can wear street clothes to court he’s been very fashionable."
Gilgen's blog contains a disturbing array of pictures – graves, car accidents, dead animals – as well as an abundance of pictures of Magnotta. Many of the pictures were taken during Gilgen's time in Montreal, where he took a tour of sites relevant to Magnotta’s hearing, including the apartment building that was the scene of the crime, the park where the victim's head was found, and the gravesite of Lin Jun.
He says that he's never actually met Magnotta, but he's sent a few letters, and Magnotta is aware that he has a supporter in the room.
While Gilgen describes himself as a fan, he maintains that he's not in love with Magnotta. "No, I have a boyfriend and I'm in love with him. I think Magnotta is very attractive, but I don't think that there's any sort of relationship beyond what it is," Gilgen told Xtra.
Gilgen isn’t the only interested onlooker. During the hearing a slew of criminology, sociology and journalism students, as well as an assortment of interested laypeople, sat in the courtroom and overflow room to watch the proceedings.
Several people, possible fans, have gotten a smile and wave from Magnotta as he exited the courtroom.
But Magnotta spent March 19 much less composed
. After viewing video evidence that caused several in the courtroom – the judge included – to squirm, Magnotta looked visibly shaken and eventually collapsed as he was leaving his high-security prisoner's box.
Gilgen expressed concern for Magnotta's well-being.
"I really hope he's okay. I'm really worried," Gilgen told Xtra outside the courtroom room. "I haven't heard anything about if he's all right."
Magnotta returned the next morning, and while he, again, looked sick and disgusted at video and picture evidence that was being displayed on the monitor above him, he managed to regain his composure as the court moved on to other matters.
Gilgen, however, wasn't in the courtroom for that. After Montreal student publication The Political Boullion reported that Gilgen is facing charges of robbery in the United States and that he was in Canada illegally, Gilgen returned to the US.
The Magnotta preliminary hearing continues today (March 21) with witnesses from Ottawa, then breaks until April 8, when the court will hear from witnesses from Vancouver and Berlin, as well as from a friend of the victim.
speaks with Gilgen in the video interview below.