updated 11/19/2007 5:46:34 PM ET 2007-11-19T22:46:34

The lawyer for a pig farmer accused of being Canada's worst serial killer opened the defense's final arguments Monday by denying the man ever confessed to killing six women.

Robert "Willie" Pickton went on trial last January on the first six of 26 first-degree murder charges filed against him in the deaths of women, most of them prostitutes and drug addicts from a seedy Vancouver neighborhood.

Prosecutors said early in the trial that the 57-year-old Pickton told an undercover officer he killed 49 women and was caught before he could reach his goal of 50.

Lawyer Adrian Brooks urged jurors to keep an open mind and reject the prosecution's interpretation of what Pickton said

"This is nothing like a confession. It is not a confession at all," Brooks said.

The defense has acknowledged the remains of the six women Pickton is accused of killing were found on his farm outside Vancouver, but it denies the farmer was responsible.

Brooks also noted some of the prosecution's witnesses had criminal convictions and drug addictions.

Gory details from a key witness
The key witness, who acknowledged a long history of drug abuse, testified she walked in on a blood-covered Pickton as he cut up a woman's body hanging from a chain in the farm's slaughterhouse. Lynn Ellingsen testified Pickton warned that if she told anyone she would end up "right beside her."

The prosecution and defense had been scheduled to spend a day and a half each delivering their final arguments but Brooks indicated Monday he might go longer.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations next Monday.

Pickton has been charged in the slayings of 26 women, but almost 40 names remain on an official police list of women who have been declared missing. The investigation into their disappearances is still active.

Prosecutors said Pickton will be tried for the 20 other murder charges later, but no date has been set.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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