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Ex-MIT researcher charged in Yale student’s murder refuses to talk to own defense, competency exam ordered


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The Connecticut defense attorney representing the former MIT researcher from China charged in the murder of a Yale graduate student more than a year and a half ago said during a hearing Tuesday that his client refuses to talk, prompting the judge to grant the motion for a competency exam.

Tuesday’s hearing was held exactly 19 months to the day after Pan, a longtime Massachusetts Institute of Technology artificial intelligence researcher, allegedly shot and killed 26-year-old Kevin Jiang in New Haven, Conn., outside Jiang’s fiancée’s apartment. 

Jiang, who served in the U.S. Army and National Guard, was born in Seattle and grew up in Chicago before attending the University of Washington and eventually coming to Yale to pursue a graduate degree in environmental studies. He was described by friends and family as a devout Christian and proposed to fellow Yale grad student Zion Perry a week before his death. 

Perry previously attended undergrad at MIT and was photographed at a university dance with Pan in 2020. The two were reportedly friends on Facebook, where Perry had posted about her engagement to Jiang, but no further connection is known.

EX-MIT RESEARCHER ARRESTED FOR YALE STUDENT’S MURDER AFTER MONTHS-LONG MANHUNT TO APPEAR IN COURT 

Qinxuan Pan, left, is accused of murdering Army veteran and Yale graduate student Kevin Jiang, right. 

Qinxuan Pan, left, is accused of murdering Army veteran and Yale graduate student Kevin Jiang, right. 
(New Haven Police Department/Yale University Police Department)

The day of the deadly shooting, Pan allegedly stole a compact SUV from a Massachusetts car dealership by taking it for a test drive and changed his cell phone number before crossing state lines to Connecticut. The vehicle later needed to be towed from railroad tracks in North Haven not long after Jiang had been fatally shot in nearby New Haven. 

Police questioned Jiang but let him go because they initially had a different description of the suspect, according to court documents. 

Another four months passed with him in the wind despite nationwide and international search efforts. Pan was eventually nabbed in Birmingham, Alabama, at an apartment rented under a fake name with $19,000 cash, seven cell phones, seven SIM cards and his father’s passport.

Kevin Jiang proposed to Zion Perry on Jan. 30, 2021 - a year after they met at a church retreat in Connecticut. 

Kevin Jiang proposed to Zion Perry on Jan. 30, 2021 – a year after they met at a church retreat in Connecticut. 
(Facebook)

The defense has been granted several delays to allow more time to review evidence, but what was supposed to finally be a probable cause hearing on Tuesday shifted to another matter after Pan’s attorney, Norm Pattis, made a motion to get his client a competency exam, New Haven Independent reported. 

Through his conversation with Pan over the past several months, Pattis said his client had indicated that it’s possible there was ​”a second person was involved,” suggesting Pan could have been at the scene where Jiang was shot but did not pull the trigger or may not have been there at all. 

But the issue is, Pattis told the court, that neither he nor his co-counsel Kevin Smith, has been able to get a straight answer from their client, so Pan’s “apparent unwillingness to discuss with us” the circumstances of the shooting with his own defense raises concerns for his competency to stand trial. 

Qinxuan Pan, accused of gunning down Yale University graduate student and U.S. Army veteran Kevin Jiang, was in court Tuesday, June 1, 2021. 

Qinxuan Pan, accused of gunning down Yale University graduate student and U.S. Army veteran Kevin Jiang, was in court Tuesday, June 1, 2021. 
(Fox News)

“He’s a communicative challenge,” Pattis said. “I can’t get a straight answer.”

Pattis said he has not been able to determine whether Pan is “capable of assisting in his own defense.” He so far has not entered a plea on the murder charge.

Granting the defense’s motion, State Superior Court Judge Jon Alander ordered that Pan be evaluated by a court and state-appointed psychiatrist ahead of a competency hearing scheduled for Nov. 7. 

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Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Stacey Miranda described the decision as “unfortunate” given she subpoenaed witnesses and was prepared to present relevant evidence and testimony for what was supposed to be the probable cause hearing Tuesday to move the case forward. 

In the courtroom were nearly 20 members of Jiang’s friends and family, who openly prayed outside in the hall for justice.  



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