MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Montreal court on Thursday set a March date for preliminary hearings in the case of Canadian porn actor Luka Rocco Magnotta, accused of murdering a student, dismembering the body, mailing out body parts and then posting a video of the killing online.
The 10-day hearing, before a judge and jury, is set to start on March 11, 2013.
Magnotta, 29, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and two other charges connected to the brutal death of Chinese student Jun Lin on May 24 or 25. He was deported to Canada from Germany last week.
“He wanted to come back to Montreal,” Magnotta’s lawyer, Luc Leclair, told reporters outside the courtroom. “He trusts the Canadian judicial system.”
Leclair did not request a psychiatric evaluation of Magnotta, who left a long and bizarre internet trail as a gay escort, and would-be reality TV star.
Police say the video, which they believe is genuine, showed a man stabbing his victim to death before dismembering and defiling the corpse and then eating part of the body.
Lin’s hands and feet were mailed to the offices of political parties in Ottawa and to schools in Vancouver, while his torso was found in a pile of garbage behind Magnotta’s Montreal apartment. His head is still missing.
The case horrified Canada and prompted an international manhunt. Montreal police have described the crime scene as the worst they have ever seen.
Magnotta appeared in person in a packed courtroom, wearing a short-sleeved plaid shirt tucked into pants.
“I‘m just here out of curiosity.... I want to see his face, it’s silly, isn’t it? ” said Montrealer Danielle Champlain. It was her first time at a court hearing of any kind, she said.
Writing by Janet Guttsman; Editing by David Brunnstrom