Netflix's three-part Luka Magnotta documentary, Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer, takes a deep dive into how a group of internet sleuths tracked down the culprit behind a series of viral videos depicting animal torture that eventually escalated to an innocent man's death. From 2010 to 2012, Montreal native Luka Rocco Magnotta, born Eric Newman, posted several videos on the internet that showed him violently killing cats. In what would become his final video, he murdered a young man named Jun Lin, sparking an international manhunt and Magnotta's eventual arrest.
Magnotta was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder in December 2014, but consumers of true crime remain fascinated by the case and its many bizarre twists. In fact, these same fans, including the web detectives who dedicated 18 months to searching for Magnotta, are a source of controversy in the Mark Lewis-directed Don't F**k with Cats series. In watching the Luka Magnotta 2019 documentary and seeing how he fed off the notoriety of his videos, viewers are forced to reflect on whether the genre of true crime glorifies the very people it seeks to condemn.
A Homemade Video Violating 'Rule Zero' Inspired Two Amateur Sleuths
Don't F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer opens with casino data analyst Deanna Thompson recounting how in 2010 a link on Facebook led her to a gruesome video titled "1 boy 2 kittens," in which a young man records himself killing two innocent kittens, seemingly for shock value. According to Thompson, the video violated Rule Zero, an unwritten rule of the internet that's also referred to as "Don't F**k with Cats." Thompson was one of thousands of outraged people on the internet who eventually started the "Find the Kitten Vacuumer... For Great Justice" Facebook group.
Thompson, who describes herself in the series as a "textbook definition of a computer nerd," quickly began working with fellow web sleuth John Green to track down the man in the video. The Facebook group soon became a repository for any and all information related to the perpetrator's identity, and eventually led Thompson and Green to a potential suspect.
An Anonymous Tip Led To A Primary Suspect
After weeks of exhaustive research, members of the Facebook group thought they had found their suspect, a man named Edward "Jamsey" Jordan, though Deanna Thompson and John Green both had their doubts. As it turned out, Jordan was not the same person in the "1 boy 2 kittens" video. After being bombarded with threats, Jordan, who had previously struggled with depression, took his own life.
Although it seemed like the case had gone cold, the group regained hope when Facebook user Beverly Kent posted that the culprit in the video was a man named Luka Magnotta. Thompson and Green tried to find out Kent's identity, only to discover it was a sock puppet account (AKA a fake account). Despite Thompson and Green's suspicions, Kent turned out to be right.
Luka Magnotta Had An Elaborate Web Of Aliases, Fake Fans, And Lies Fueling His Pursuit Of Fame
As far as the internet would lead one to believe, Luka Magnotta was one of the most famous people in the world in the early 2010s. Dozens of Facebook groups were dedicated to him, and hundreds of pictures showed him jet-setting all over the world. Some fan pages even posted rumors that he was dating Madonna. There was just one issue with Magnotta's celebrity persona: It was all fake.
When Deanna Thompson began investigating the Facebook groups more closely, she realized that they were all created by "sock puppet" accounts rather than real people. She and John Green also noticed that most of Magnotta's photos were altered to make it look like he was a world traveler, when it was all just a ruse, likely put on by Magnotta himself.
The closest Magnotta got to fame was some modeling, which included an audition for a reality TV show called Cover Guy. In the audition, Magnotta described himself as "devastatingly good looking."
Magnotta Toyed With Internet Detectives Via New Videos
As time passed, internet sleuths eventually lost interest in the Luka Magnotta case and numbers in the Facebook group dwindled. Then out of nowhere on December 2, 2011, two videos titled "bathtime lol" and "Python Christmas" showed graphic slayings of cats. In one section of the video where a cat is drowned, "The Little Drummer Boy" can be heard in the background. There was confusion about why the song was used until Deanna Thompson and John Green noticed the name of the sock puppet account: Leslie Anne Downey.
Lesley Ann Downey was a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in what would become known as the Moors murders in the 1960s. She had been drowned while "The Little Drummer Boy" played in the background, and the new cat video was clearly a sick homage.
This wasn't the first time Magnotta was linked to a serial killer. There had been rumors, likely started by Magnotta himself, that he was romantically involved with Karla Homolka, who was one-half of the infamous Ken and Barbie Killers. The need to track down Magnotta now seemed more crucial than ever.