A Chinese man has pleaded guilty in eastern China to killing his girlfriend in the United States where the pair were students in Iowa, a court said Thursday.

An officer in charge of trial documents at Wenzhou Intermediate People's Court said that Li Xiangnan entered the plea to murder during a daylong hearing Wednesday. The officer refused to give her name, citing court regulations.

Li, a former University of Iowa student, surrendered to police in Wenzhou last May after returning to China following the slaying of 20-year-old Chinese national Shao Tong, who was a student at Iowa State University. Her body was found stuffed into the trunk of her car in September 2014.

The court officer said that prosecutors say Li planned the killing, but Li's lawyer argued the crime wasn't premeditated. She said the case would continue at an unspecified later date.