A man who was at the centre of an international manhunt has admitted he murdered two men in Nova Scotia in 2007, avoiding a lengthy trial that was set to begin Monday.

Glen Douglas Race, 32, appeared in Halifax Supreme Court Monday morning and entered a guilty plea to one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder. But Race is also asking the court to find him not criminally responsible for his actions.

The body of Michael Knott, 44, was discovered on a wooded path in Mill Cove on Nova Scotia's South Shore on May 5, 2007. He was originally from Port aux Basques, N.L.

Four days later, the body of 45-year-old Trevor Brewster was found under a boardwalk at a lake in Dartmouth.

The two victims were gay, and at the time, there was speculation that that was a motive in their deaths.

Race is already serving a life sentence after killing a third man, Darcy Manor, in New York in May 2007. Manor was shot in the back of the head at a secluded hunting lodge.

That sparked a manhunt for Race, who was picked up at the U.S.-Mexico border that month. Race was extradited to Canada in October 2010 to deal with the Canadian charges.

Change of plea

Race had little reaction when he changed his plea in court. His parents sat right behind him.

The families of the victims were also in the courtroom, but showed no reaction during the brief proceedings. They did not speak to reporters as they left the court.

Race has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and is currently being held at the East Coast Forensic Hospital. He’ll be back in court Nov. 4 for arguments on his mental fitness. Three psychiatrists are expected to testify about his mental state.

Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said Race was found competent to stand trial in New York, but refused to make a further comment. 

Race's lawyer, Joel Pink, said his client wants a new trial in the U.S. to hear arguments of whether Race was mentally ill at the time of Manor's murder.