Trial begins for man accused of dismembering Guang Hua Liu
Warning: Some readers may find details of this story disturbing
A Toronto man killed his ex-girlfriend in his home, then methodically carved up her body and scattered her remains in an effort to cover up his gruesome crime, prosecutors alleged in the first day of his murder trial.
Chun Qi Jiang is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Guang Hua Liu, whose body parts were discovered in Toronto and nearby Mississauga days after she vanished in 2012.
Liu came to Canada from China in 2002 and eventually obtained citizenship, court heard. A single mother of three, she met Jiang while working at a factory before starting her own business, a now-defunct spa in the city's east end, the Crown said.
The pair had an "on and off" relationship for about four years but were no longer together at the time of her death, Crown lawyer Andrew Falls told a Brampton, Ont., court on Tuesday.
Liu had recently moved in with her new boyfriend Kenneth Grotsky, though she had another home that she shared with her eldest son, Falls said.
The weekend before her death, she had a fight with Grotsky and went back to her own place, he said.
She invited several friends over — including Jiang — to cheer herself up, the lawyer said. The former couple spent the next two nights together, but then Liu and Grotsky reconciled, he said.
That Friday, Liu made dinner plans with Jiang, Falls said. She was never seen alive again.
"Mr. Jiang was not happy with (Liu) on Aug. 10. He took her back to his residence and killed her," Falls told the court in his opening statement.
"In an attempt to hide the murder, Mr. Jiang cut (Liu's) body into pieces and, in a very undignified way, dumped the pieces in Mississauga and Scarborough."
Investigation began in Peel Region
Liu's foot was found in Mississauga's Credit River on Aug. 15, triggering a massive investigation. Her head was discovered the next day in the same river, wrapped in two grocery bags, court heard. Both her hands were found near the river on Aug. 17.
Her thigh was located a day later in east-end Toronto, as were both her calves, which were also wrapped in grocery bags. On Aug. 19, her left forearm and right upper arm were found in the same area.
Her torso was found on Sept. 5 in a suitcase floating in Lake Ontario. Some of the remaining body parts have not yet been found.
Liu's body was "disarticulated at every major joint" after her death, Falls said the coroner found.
"In joints where a ball and socket joint exists, instead of ripping or cutting the joints apart, it appears that someone carefully cut around the joint, leaving the ball of the joint intact."
Her head also showed more that 40 "chop-like" wounds caused by a sharp-edged object, the lawyer said, adding the coroner couldn't rule out the possibility the injuries were caused by a hatchet.
"The chopping injuries to Ms. Liu's head, if inflicted prior to her death, would have resulted in significant blood loss and blunt head injury and could have caused her death," Falls said.
Photos of her severed foot, head and hands were shown in court Tuesday. Court heard from police officers who were at the scene and sent the body parts for forensic analysis.
Jiang, who wore a blue and white checked shirt with tan pants, stared straight ahead.
Crown says blood found in basement, car trunk
Falls said blood was found in the accused's basement and in the trunk of his car. Forensic tests showed the chances that someone not related to Liu would match that DNA profile were about one in 64 quadrillion, he said.
A pair of rubber gloves found in a kitchen drawer tested positive for both Liu and Jiang's DNA, Falls said.
Police also found grocery bags exactly like the ones used to wrap Liu's head and calves in Jiang's garbage, he said. Other evidence in the trash included a blade cover and a receipt for a hatchet, though the weapon itself was never found, he said.
A global positioning system taken from Jiang's car showed trips were made on Aug. 11, 2012, between the area of his east-end Toronto home and several areas where Liu's remains surfaced, the lawyer said.
Questioned by police four days later, Jiang denied taking his ex to his home, saying he dropped her off at work after she cancelled their dinner plans, Falls said.
At the time, he claimed not to know she was dating anyone — though he admitted in a second interview with police that he knew about Grotsky, the lawyer said. Jiang even suggested Liu owed her boyfriend money, he said.
Jiang was arrested Aug. 26, 2012, and originally charged with second-degree murder in Liu's death. The charge was upgraded to first-degree murder last summer.