|A court exhibit photo of Jennifer Pan submitted during her murder trial|
A woman convicted of orchestrating a phoney home invasion that left her mother dead and father seriously injured wept as a Toronto-area jury handed down its verdict on Saturday after a lengthy trial.
Jennifer Pan, 28, dropped her head in silence as the first-degree murder verdict was read against her in a Newmarket, Ont., court.
She looked down even further as she received a second conviction of attempted murder. Unlike her three co-accused, the jury was not given the option of finding her guilty on a lesser offence of second-degree murder.
Dressed in all black, Pan later wept into a tissue before being led away in shackles.
The three co-accused, Lenford Crawford, David Mylvaganam and Pan's on-again, off-again boyfriend Daniel Wong, were convicted of the same charges in the attack that killed Pan's mother, 53-year-old Bieh Ha Pan.
Her father, 60-year-old Hann Pan, suffered a critical head wound in the Nov. 8, 2010 attack that occurred at the family's Markham, Ont. home.
Paul Cooper, Pan's lawyer, said his client was "devastated" by the outcome and planned to appeal.
"She's absolutely in shock," Cooper told reporters outside the courthouse after the verdict was handed down in the nine-month trial.
"For her it's been exhausting, for everybody involved, it's been a long, long trial."
He said Pan has tried to reach out to her father and hopes to eventually reconcile with her family.
Prosecutors alleged Pan hatched the plan after her parents forced her to choose between them and Wong, her high-school sweetheart turned drug dealer.
The ultimatum came after the Pans discovered their daughter had been lying to them for nearly a decade, forging report cards and diplomas and telling them she shared an apartment with a friend when in fact she was living with Wong.
Forced to return home and give up her relationship with the man she loved, Pan first tried to have her father killed, she admitted during trial. But she gave up that plan when the man she hired took off with her money, she said.
Months later, as the rift between her and her parents grew, she came up with another scheme. By then, she and Wong had broken up, but she still reached out to him for help, court heard.
The Crown said she asked her ex-boyfriend to find people who could kill her parents, freeing her from their control and allowing her to live off her generous inheritance. The cost of the hit: $10,000 or $5,000 per parent, prosecutors said.
The arrangements were made through calls and text messages on various phones, including what the Crown called Pan's "secret murder phone," which she hid from her parents, they argued.
But Pan testified she hired someone she knew only as Homeboy to kill her, not her parents, and called off the deal days before the incident as her family life began to improve. She even agreed to pay a $8,500 cancellation fee, and was gathering the money the day of the attack, she said.
In his closing arguments, Pan's lawyer told the court the killing was the result of a robbery gone wrong, and that his client wasn't a murderer, but a victim of crime.
Wong and Crawford's lawyers said their clients weren't at the house that night, and argued there was insufficient evidence to prove they were part of a murder plot.
Wong's lawyer, Laurence Cohen, also said his client intended to appeal.
"He's got a brave face, he's upset and disappointed and obviously shocked but he also knows he believes in the system and he's going to appeal this and hope for the best," Cohen said after the verdict was delivered.
The jury took four days to reach its verdict.
Mylvaganam admitted he was at the home, but said he didn't go inside, nor did he shoot anyone.
As the verdict against him was read out, a woman inside the courtroom ran sobbing into the hall, where she screamed repeatedly.
A first degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Formal sentencing is set for Jan. 23.
Another co-accused, Eric Carty, is to be tried separately after his lawyer fell ill during the trial.