senselessly murdered following a fender-bender on an Arizona road two years ago is now furious at the American legal system after a judge refused to accept their motion to withdraw the plea agreement given to her killer.he family of a Chinese student who was
19-year-old Jiang Yue, a Chinese exchange student studying at Arizona State University, was driving home after buying some groceries with her boyfriend on January 18th, 2016 when she was rear-ended by a 32-year-old woman named Holly Davis. Following the accident, Davis got out of her vehicle, walked over to Jiang’s car, and opened fire.
Seriously wounded, Jiang tried to escape by turning her car around and driving off, only to instead lose control and collide with another vehicle. She later died in the hospital.
Originally, prosecutors had sought to charge Davis with 14 criminal counts, including first degree murder. At her initial hearing in February 2016, Davis pleaded not guilty to all of these charges and entered into a plea agreement with the prosecution.
Under the terms of the agreement, Davis would plead guilty to second degree murder but have all other charges dropped, resulting in a 25-year prison sentence.
Upon hearing about this deal, Jiang’s family members were irate. After traveling from China, they appeared in court on Wednesday in Arizona’s Maricopa county, asking the judge to withdraw the acceptance of the plea agreement.
“Please, our honorable judge, no less than first-degree murder and life imprisonment,” said Jiang’s cousin, Katherine Xu. “All we want to do is to protect the whole society and fight for the justice for my cousin.”
Meanwhile, while making his plea, Jiang’s father lost control of his emotions, shouting in Chongqing dialect at his daughter’s killer: “How inhumane you were to brutally murder my only daughter! […] You monster! Tell me why you murdered my daughter!”
After hearing the family’s emotional arguments, Judge Warrin Grandville refused to withdraw the plea agreement. Reportedly, the prosecution decided to offer Davis the plea deal in order to avoid a long and costly murder trial and because of concern about her mental health.
These considerations make little sense to Jiang’s family who only want justice for their murdered loved one. Katherine Xu has launched a petition on change.org which has nearly 15,000 signees. It reads, in part:
The prosecutor, Stephanie Low, submits an UNJUST and UNCONSCIOUSABLE plea agreement of just 25 years for Second Degree Murder.
In contrast, Judge Granville previously imposed a 14 year sentence on a first time offender, remorseful drunk driver, who inadvertently killed another motorist. Previous cases of much less severity have resulted in multiple convictions for First Degee Murder, which is what the Jiang family requests and insists upon.
The Jiang family, friends, Arizona State University fellow students, both the local, and the Chinese community abroad, are in disbelief and outraged. WE ask that you bring this INJUSTICE to the forefront in an effort to insure EQUAL justice for all, regardless of their race, color, creed, or religion.
Police have said that Jiang’s killing was random, having nothing to do with race or nationality. Meanwhile, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has put the family’s outrage down to their unfamiliarity with the American legal system—where such plea agreements are common—as well as the language barrier, writing in a statement:
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.”
Davis will be sentenced later today.