LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A state appeals court panel upheld an elderly San Gabriel Valley man’s conviction for killing his wife with an ax and trying to kill her son in July 2009.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that the attack by James Che Ming Lu was premeditated, deliberate and willful.
“The evidence overwhelmingly showed that there was no provocation. Contrary to defendant’s story that (his wife Michelle) Lu attacked him with a wood dowel or that she had a knife, no weapons were found in the bedroom,” the justices found in a ruling released Monday. “There were no signs of a struggle in defendant’s and Lu’s bedroom.”
The appellate court panel also rejected the defense’s claim that a trial court had erred in dismissing a juror who commented about reasonable doubt to another juror, along with a claim that jurors were misinstructed on provocation.
Lu was 85 at the time of the July 26, 1999, crime, which occurred at the couple’s home in the 100 block of Rosemead Boulevard near Colorado Boulevard, in an unincorporated area between Pasadena and Arcadia. Lu’s wife was found dead in bed after suffering multiple blows from the ax. Her son managed to fend off the attack on him. The first jury to hear the case against him deadlocked. He was convicted in July 2011 of first-degree murder involving his 55-year-old wife and the attempted murder of his stepson, who was 32 at the time.
He was sentenced in October 2011 to 26 years to life in state prison.
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