03/21/2014 11:51 EDT | Updated 05/21/2014 05:59 EDT

Webcam slaying accused's guilty plea rejected by Crown

Brian Dickson, the man accused of killing York University student Qian Liu in an attack partially captured on the victim's web camera, has had his guilty plea to manslaughter rejected by the Crown.


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Dickson's attempt to plead guilty to the lesser charge came Friday as jury selection for his murder trial was underway. With his plea attempt now rejected, jury selection for the trial will continue.

Justice Anne Molloy explained to the panel of jurors in a Toronto courtroom that the Crown intended to prove its case that Dickson is guilty of first-degree murder.

Liu, 23, was found dead on April 15, 2011 in her basement apartment near the campus.

On the night she died, Liu had been engaged in an online video chat with her friend, who lives in China. At about 1 a.m. and while the chat was underway, there was a knock on Liu's door. She opened her door to a man and a struggle ensued.

The friend told police he saw Liu struggling with another man before her computer was shut off.

Liu's body was found in the apartment after police were notified by Canadian friends of her boyfriend.

The cause of her death has not been disclosed.

Dickson, a 32-year-old former York University student, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder five days after Liu's body was found. Dickson lived in the same boarding house as Liu, an international English student from Beijing who arrived in Toronto in September 2010.

Her killing sent shock waves through the school campus and captured international attention.