US court de­nies Chi­nese fam­ily’s mo­tion

Shanghai Daily - - TOP NEWS - (Xin­hua)

A US court has ob­jected a mo­tion by the fam­ily of a Chi­nese ex­change stu­dent gunned down in a road rage in­ci­dent, to abol­ish a plea agree­ment that low­ered charges against the killer.

The fa­ther of Jiang Yue, the 19year-old vic­tim, in­sisted the plea agree­ment of­fered to Holly Davis who not only killed his daugh­ter but also caused in­juries to oth­ers in­clud­ing three chil­dren was def­i­nitely un­just, Daniel Deng, who of­fers le­gal as­sis­tance to the fam­ily, said af­ter the hear­ing at the Su­pe­rior Court of Ari­zona in Mari­copa County.

Jiang was killed in Jan­uary 2016 when driv­ing in the city of Tempe, Ari­zona. She was rearended by Davis be­fore the woman got off her ve­hi­cle, walked over to Jiang’s car and opened fire.

Jiang lost con­trol when try­ing to drive away and crashed into an­other car car­ry­ing a fam­ily of five. Davis fled the scene and was later caught and taken into cus­tody by po­lice.

Pros­e­cu­tors had sought to charge Davis on 14 crim­i­nal counts, in­clud­ing first-de­gree mur­der. She pleaded not guilty to all the charges at the ini­tial hear­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2016, and en­tered into a plea agree­ment.

Un­der the plea agree­ment, Davis, in her 30s, would face a 25-year sen­tence and up to US$250,000 in resti­tu­tion in ex­change for plead­ing guilty to sec­ond-de­gree mur­der and dis­missal of all the other charges.

At Tues­day’s hear­ing, Jiang’s fam­ily made an emo­tional plea. Jiang’s fa­ther glared and pointed at Davis, shout­ing “how in­hu­mane you were to bru­tally mur­der my only daugh­ter,” ac­cord­ing to CBS 5 news chan­nel.

“Please, our hon­or­able judge, no less than first-de­gree mur­der and life im­pris­on­ment,” Jiang’s cousin, Kather­ine Xu, said to the judge. “All we want to do is to pro­tect the whole so­ci­ety and fight for the jus­tice for my cousin.”

Judge War­rin Grandville con­cluded: “Hav­ing con­sid­ered the fam­ily’s com­ments to­day, I will not with­draw the ac­cep­tance of the plea agree­ment that was en­tered in on Fe­bru­ary 23 and I af­firm the sen­tenc­ing for Fri­day.”

Grandville told the Jiangs that he re­fused to ac­cept their mo­tion based on two con­sid­er­a­tions — one is that the trial will hurt the feel­ings of the vic­tim’s rel­a­tives re­peat­edly, and the other is that the trial which would last for years could cost the author­i­ties so much time and money.

“I don’t think this rea­son is ac­cept­able,” Deng said. “So­cial jus­tice should not be val­ued by dol­lars.”

The Jiangs will con­sider ap­peal af­ter Fri­day’s sen­tenc­ing, Deng said, adding that ac­cord­ing to law, Grandville still has the right to refuse the plea agree­ment be­fore the sen­tence is an­nounced.

Af­ter the hear­ing, the Jiangs met with Mari­copa County At­tor­ney Bill Montgomery who tried to de­fend the de­ci­sion to re­duce the charges, say­ing the charges were low­ered be­cause the pros­e­cu­tors did not know the mur­derer had mental disor­der ini­tially.

There was no in­di­ca­tion that Jiang had been tar­geted due to her eth­nic­ity, Montgomery said.

The county at­tor­ney’s of­fice is­sued a state­ment to Phoenix New Times on Mon­day, chalk­ing the Jiangs’ out­rage up to lan­guage bar­ri­ers and the fact that they’re not fa­mil­iar with the Amer­i­can le­gal sys­tem.

“This res­o­lu­tion has been ex­plained to the fam­ily of Ms Jiang. Dif­fer­ences in crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tems and cul­tural and lan­guage chal­lenges are mat­ters we con­tinue to ad­dress as best we can and will not im­pede our com­mit­ment to do­ing all we can to help Ms Jiang’s fam­ily as we head to sen­tenc­ing in this case,” the state­ment read.

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