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Ontario court orders new murder trial for Jennifer Pan convicted in plot to kill parents

Ontario's top court has ordered a new first-degree murder trial for a Toronto-area woman who was convicted in a murder-for-hire plot against her parents.

Jennifer Pan, then 28, was sentenced in 2015 to life in prison with no parole for 25 years for first-degree murder, and life for attempted murder in a 2010 attack at the Pan family home in Markham, Ont., that left her mother dead and her father with a critical head wound.

Her three co-accused -- her on-again, off-again boyfriend Daniel Wong, Lenford Crawford and David Mylvaganam -- were convicted on the same charges.

Pan and the three men appealed and the Court of Appeal for Ontario ordered new trials Friday for the first-degree murder convictions.

The trial judge erred by suggesting to the jury only two plausible scenarios for the attack - one in which the plan was to murder both parents and another in which the plan was to commit a home invasion and the parents were shot in the course of the robbery, the court said.

But the trial judge should have given the jury second-degree murder and manslaughter as other possible verdicts in the death of Pan's mother, the Appeal Court said.

"The jury might have had a doubt about the planned and deliberate murder of Pan's mother but be satisfied that the appellants knew that the murder of Pan's mother was a probable consequence of a plan to kill her father," the court said in its decision.

"This could give rise to a conviction for second-degree murder."

The jury could have also doubted there was a plan to kill Pan's mother, but concluded there was a reasonably foreseeable risk of harming her with the plan to kill Pan's father, which would lead to a manslaughter conviction, the court wrote.

Prosecutors said during trial that neither Wong nor Crawford were at the Pan home that night, but acted as middle-men for her and the men who carried out the killing. Another man whose case proceeded separately pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to 18 years.

The Crown said Pan started plotting her parents' murder after they forced her to choose between them and Wong, who dealt marijuana and managed a Boston Pizza.

The ultimatum came after the Pans discovered much of what their daughter had told them over the past decade was a lie. She had never graduated high school, graduated from university with a pharmacy degree, volunteered at the Hospital for Sick Children, nor was she working at a Walmart pharmacy, the Appeal Court said.

Pan decided to move back home, but testified that she had a poor relationship with her father, who was the "rule maker" of the household, while she was closer with her mother.

The court dismissed the appeals on the attempted murder convictions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2023. Top Stories

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