by Christopher Guly
OTTAWA, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Canadian "psycho killer" Luka Rocco Magnotta, accused of killing and dismembering Chinese student Jun Lin and later defiling his corpse and videotaping the gruesome crime, made a surprise court appearance in Montreal Thursday where his lawyers requested he face a trial by judge and jury.
A pre-trial hearing will occur in January followed by a preliminary hearing, scheduled for March, to determine whether there is enough evidence to send Magnotta to trial for first-degree murder.
The 29-year-old murder suspect was originally supposed to appear via video link as he did Tuesday when he was formally charged with the grisly murder of 33-year-old Lin. It was also believed that Magnotta's legal counsel would ask the court for a psychiatric evaluation of the accused, but no such request was made.
Instead, one of Magnotta's lawyers, Luc Leclair of Toronto -- who was granted special dispensation from the Quebec bar to represent him along with two other Quebec lawyers -- expressed concern over his client's physical and emotional well-being at a detention center in east-end Montreal where Magnotta has no contact with other prisoners.
Leclair asked Quebec Court Judge Jean-Pierre Boyer to ensure Magnotta receives the medication he requires. But at the prosecution's request, details of the drugs are under a publication ban.
Wearing a short-sleeved plaid shirt and blue jeans, the former porn actor and male escort stood handcuffed inside a glass-panelled prisoner's box flanked by two guards and only communicated with his lawyers. Magnotta also faces charges of committing an indignity to a dead human body, posting obscene material on the Internet, mailing obscene material, and criminal harassment of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament.
Security was tight in the courtroom Thursday, with only seven journalists allowed in. Members of the public and other journalists filled another room where they watched the proceedings on live video.
Lin's family was also present at the brief hearing, but they were sequestered in a room out of the media's reach.
Lin, who was born in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, and was reportedly a permanent Canadian resident, is believed to have died on May 24 or 25 after Magnotta allegedly stabbed him with an ice pick before cutting his body into pieces.
Police have recovered Lin's torso, along with his hands and feet mailed separately to Canada's Conservative and Liberal party headquarters in Ottawa and two schools in Vancouver. The victim's head has yet to be found.