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Canadian man convicted of murdering Chinese female student

2014-04-08 11:22 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

A jury found 32-year-old Canadian man Brian Dickson guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a female Chinese student studying at York University in Toronto, after a four-hour deliberation on Monday.

The defence argued that Brian Dickson didn't intentionally kill Qian Liu in her off-campus basement apartment three years ago, and should only be found guilty of manslaughter.

But the first-degree verdict, which carries an automatic life sentence with no parole for 25 years, means the jury believed otherwise.

Over the course of the trial, the jury had seen and heard evidence surrounding Liu's death, including a testimony from her ex-boyfriend Xianchao Meng, who was video-chatting with Liu from Beijing via "Tom Skype" on April 15, 2011, the day she was murdered, when he heard a knock on her door.

She opened the door and had a brief conversation with a man, who then shoved his way into the apartment and tried to embrace Liu while she resisted.

There were two muffled bangs, which were the last he heard from Liu, said Meng. After a period of silence, he heard the man breathing heavily. The man reappeared moments later in front of the webcam, naked from the waist down, to turn off the computer, Meng testified.

Liu was found lying face down and mostly naked, with her nightgown rolled up to her chest, and underwear and tights in a corner of the room.

The semen found on her thigh and groin matched Dickson's DNA to an astronomical probability, according to a forensic biologist's testimony.

Dickson's lawyer Robert Nuttall argued the pathological evidence only showed that Dickson, a tenant in the same building, had sat on Liu's chest with her neck cricked while he was "sexually excited."

Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy told the jurors that before reaching a verdict, they had to decide on how Liu's death occurred and Dickson's level of intent.

After the trial, Nuttall told the media his client accepted the verdict.

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