Man to Stand Trial for Australian Island's First Murder in 150 Years

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A New Zealand man was ordered to stand trial Friday in the first murder on Norfolk Island in 150 years.

After a five-day preliminary hearing, Magistrate Ron Cahill ruled there was enough evidence for Glenn McNeill, 28, to be tried by a jury for the murder of Janelle Patton, 29, on March 31, 2002.

McNeill has not entered a plea to the charge. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Defense lawyer Peter Garling said his client intended to plead innocent but did not apply for bail.

McNeill will be held in a jail in Sydney, 1,900 kilometers (1,180 miles) southwest of the remote South Pacific island, until a trial date is set.

Cahill had refused Garling's request that the judge disregard McNeill's statements to police in deciding whether there was sufficient evidence against the defendant.

During a police interview after his arrest in New Zealand, McNeill told detectives he had accidentally hit Patton with his car.

He then reportedly confessed to stuffing Patton's limp body in the trunk of his car, taking her home and stabbing her three or four times with a filleting knife.

Cahill ruled that by McNeill's own alleged statement, "he's the perpetrator of all the events ... there's no other person involved."

Patton's body, partially wrapped in black plastic, was found near a picnic spot hours after her disappearance.

She had suffered 64 separate injuries, including a stab wound to the chest, the court heard.