Canadian accused of dismembering, eating student appears in court

MONTREAL Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:23pm EDT

An artist's sketch shows Luka Rocco Magnotta, appearing in court for his preliminary hearing in Montreal, March 11, 2013. Magnotta, accused of murdering and dismembering a Chinese student then posting a video online of him eating part of the body, appeared in court on Monday as his lawyers unsuccessfully sought to close pre-trial proceedings to the press and public. REUTERS/Atalante/Handout

An artist's sketch shows Luka Rocco Magnotta, appearing in court for his preliminary hearing in Montreal, March 11, 2013. Magnotta, accused of murdering and dismembering a Chinese student then posting a video online of him eating part of the body, appeared in court on Monday as his lawyers unsuccessfully sought to close pre-trial proceedings to the press and public.

Credit: Reuters/Atalante/Handout

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MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Canadian porn actor accused of murdering and dismembering a Chinese student then posting a video online of him eating part of the body appeared in court on Monday as his lawyers unsuccessfully sought to close pre-trial proceedings to the press and public.

Luka Rocco Magnotta, deported from Germany after an international manhunt, observed the hearing from a glass enclosure in the packed Montreal court room. During two to three weeks of proceedings, prosecutors will outline the case against Magnotta, 30, and seek to persuade a judge they have enough evidence for the case to go to trial.

Appearing for the first time since soon after his June arrest, Magnotta wore a white T-shirt and khaki trousers, leaning back in his chair as he listened to legal arguments.

Also in the courtroom was Diran Lin, father of victim Jun Lin, whose dismembered body parts were mailed to schools and political parties in the Canadian capital Ottawa and the Pacific city Vancouver in a crime that shocked Canada and gained international notoriety.

Magnotta is accused of first-degree murder, interfering with a dead body and other charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

"This is the worst thing a family can endure. We are empty," the Journal de Montreal quoted Diran Lin as saying in an interview ahead of the hearing. "We had so much hope for Jun Lin."

Police say the video, which they believe is genuine, showed a man stabbing his victim to death before dismembering the corpse and then eating part of the body.

Lin's hands and feet were mailed in May to the offices of political parties in Ottawa and to schools in Vancouver. His torso was found in a pile of garbage behind Magnotta's Montreal apartment, and his head was discovered in a Montreal park in July. Lin was a student at Concordia University in Montreal.

Initial arguments revolved around an unusual defense request to exclude the public and the media, which was denied. The court imposed a publication ban on the evidence presented.

(Writing by Randall Palmer; Editing by Janet Guttsman and Cynthia Osterman)

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