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Webcam death plea planned

The man accused of killing a Chinese student, attacked in her apartment as her boyfriend watched helplessly on a webcam connection, will "absolutely" plead not guilty, his lawyer said Friday.

"We want to put together a strong defense, and I anticipate that on behalf of my client," Steven Krys, who is representing Brian Dickson, told the Associated Press.

The body of Liu Qian, 23, a York University student from Beijing, was found April 15 in her Toronto apartment a few hours after her boyfriend witnessed what appeared to be the beginning of the attack before the webcam was shut off.

Liu was found naked from the waist down but with no obvious signs of sexual assault or trauma severe enough to kill her. An autopsy was inconclusive, and police results of toxicology tests might not be known for weeks.

Zheng Yaru and Liu Jianhui, Liu's distraught mother and father, visited the coroner's office Thursday after meeting with police. Tears streamed down Zheng's face, and she was assisted by others as she left the morgue.

Police refused to release any details about the crime or its possible motive.

Dickson, 29, lived in an apartment in the same house as Liu, a police source said on condition of anonymity because the source wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

Dickson stood Thursday before the court in a wrinkled white shirt and blue jeans as a charge of first-degree murder was read. He did not enter a plea, and his case was held over until Tuesday.

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