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Keith Ru has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of his roommate. (Laurie Foster-MacLeod/CBC)

A 25-year-old man, who is charged with second-degree murder after the death of his roommate, smiled during his first court appearance today.

Guo You (Keith) Ru, 25, was arrested early Thursday morning after the body of 21-year-old Jai Le Zhao was found in the lowrise apartment they shared.

They lived in unit 15 on the third floor at 1189 Meadowlands Dr., near Fisher Avenue.

Ru, wearing black clothes and with his short black hair sticking up, smiled through most of his brief court appearance. He sometimes looked bewildered and overwhelmed.

He did not require the assistance of a translator, and the translator who was brought to court spoke to Ru's parents — who speak Cantonese — instead. They travelled to Ottawa from Toronto, where they live.

Ru's mother wept when she saw her son in court. After the appearance, she told the CBC's Judy Trinh in Cantonese she could not talk about it because her heart hurts too much.

Defence lawyer Oliver Abergel is representing Ru and said he believes his client needs to undergo a medical evaluation.

"I believe him to be, at this very early stage, to be a very sick young man and I think there are psychological, psychiatric issues that certainly need to be looked into," said Abergel.

Victim killed with 'edged weapon'

Ottawa police confirm Zhao was killed with an "edged weapon" and died of severe trauma.  The weapon wasn't a knife.   Police sources said there were multiple slashes on his body, including the throat.   Zhao was a Carleton foreign student from Shezhen province in China. His parents are both in China, but police have met with extended family who live in Ontario.

Ru is next scheduled to appear in court Dec. 13.