Canada
Luka Magnotta murder case back in court

Luka Rocco Magnotta, arrived at Mirabel airport in a military aircraft in the early evening on Monday June 18, 2012.

Credits: QMI AGENCY

BRIAN DALY | QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - The Luka Magnotta murder and dismemberment case that made headlines worldwide last year is back in court Wednesday, but it's not clear if the defendant will appear.

The Crown and the defence are to make pretrial motions at the Montreal courthouse in advance of a 10-day preliminary hearing scheduled for March.

The 30-year-old Toronto-area native faces several charges including first-degree murder in the killing and dismemberment of Chinese student Jun Lin in late May.

Police say Lin was lured to Magnotta's Montreal apartment and brutalized while a video camera rolled. The clip was later posted to the Internet.

The former small-time porn actor then fled to Europe, triggering a manhunt that took a macabre turn when a janitor found Lin's torso in a suitcase outside Magnotta's apartment.

Fear and uncertainty gripped the nation after Lin's hand and foot were mailed to political parties in Ottawa, and other parts were sent to two schools in Vancouver.

It became one of the top stories in the world in early June amid details of Magnotta's creepy narcissism, reality-show auditions and heavy social media presence.

Magnotta was captured in Germany after six days and was flown back to Canada amid unprecedented security for a civilian suspect.

He has been held in isolation at an east-end Montreal jail for the past eight months.

A court appearance in June by the slightly-built, buzz-cut suspect drew a horde of onlookers and reporters, forcing courthouse staff to set up an overflow viewing room.

If the case goes to trial, it would be one of the most heavily publicized court hearings in Canadian history because dozens of foreign journalists are planning to attend.

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