TORONTO (WBEN/AP) - Monday in Toronto, the trial began of a Canadian man accused of killing a Chinese student, attacking her in her apartment as her boyfriend watched through a webcam from China.
Brian Dickson offered to plead guilty to manslaughter, but the prosecution rejected the lesser charge in the death of Qian Liu.
In his opening statement on Monday, Dickson's defense attorney said to the jury that this is not a case of who committed the crime, but instead, what happened? The defense will try to pursue a manslaughter conviction instead of one for first-degree murder.
Sean Mallen of Global News was in the courtroom on Monday, where he said Liu's parents were present even during times when graphic images of her body were shown.
Liu was found dead in her apartment April 15, 2011 just a few hours after her boyfriend in China watched via webcam as she tried to fend off an attacker who appeared at her door. The boyfriend told police he saw Liu struggling with a man before her computer was shut off.
"The boyfriend was in China conversing with her via Skype," Mallen said. "After he witnessed what he witnessed, seeing her dissapear and the computer turn to black, he immediatley got on to her chat service and tried to search out people who she might have been talking to in Toronto. He tried to reach out to somebody and say 'something is seriously wrong here and somebody needs to call the police.' He finally reached somebody, and 911 was called in the morning, which is when the police got in and they discovered her body."
Justice Anne Molloy explained to jurors in a Toronto courtroom on Friday that the prosecution intends to prove its case that Dickson is guilty of first-degree murder.