A woman accused of arranging to have her parents murdered sobbed on the stand Thursday as she described hearing the gunshots that killed her mother and left her father on the brink of death.
Jennifer Pan, 27, told the court she was tied to the top-floor banister in the family's home north of Toronto at the time, while her parents were held in the basement by unknown intruders.
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The three intruders had already ransacked the house looking for cash when Pan heard two shots in the basement and her mother screaming, followed by more shots, she said.
Wiping away tears, she told the court in Newmarket, Ont., she heard her mother make a soft sound.
"It was almost like an exhale," she said. "In my heart, I knew it was her last breath."
Pan and four others — including her on-again, off-again boyfriend Daniel Wong — are charged with first-degree murder in the Nov. 8, 2010 attack.
Her 53-year-old mother, Bieh Ha Pan, was shot dead. Her father, Hann Pan, 60, was shot in the face but survived.
The Crown alleges Pan hatched a plan to have her parents killed so that she could be with Wong, who they had forbidden her from seeing.
Pan hired hit man to kill her, she says
She has admitted to arranging a hit on her father earlier that year, only to have it fall through when the man she hired took off with her money.
After that, Pan has said, she decided to orchestrate her own murder instead, a plan she abandoned weeks before the attack after her relationship with her family improved.
'In my heart, I knew it was her last breath.' - Jennifer Pan, charged with first-degree murder
In her third day of testimony, Pan said she spent most of that day scrambling to collect money to pay off the man she'd hired to kill her, whom she knew only as Homeboy. She previously said he was demanding $8,500 in cancellation fees on what had been a $10,000 deal.
As the night went on, she said, she started receiving calls from unknown people asking if she had the money. Pan told them she didn't have the full amount and wouldn't have it that day, she recalled on the stand.
Asked whether she suspected anyone would come to her home that night, Pan said: "No, I just thought they were putting pressure on me for money."
Not long after, she heard yelling in the house and when she stepped out of her bedroom, there was a man with a gun, she testified.
The man demanded money so she told him where to find the cash meant for Homeboy, she said. But that wasn't enough, she said.
After he tied her hands together, she motioned toward her backpack, which held her wallet, Pan said. At some point, he also took the SIM card from her iPhone, one of two cellphones she used, she told the court.
She saw her parents briefly when the man took her to the basement, where his accomplices were, but then he led her back upstairs to search for more money, she said. They looked in the kitchen and in the master bedroom, she said.
None of her co-accused were among those who broke into the home, Pan testified. She also categorically denied unlocking the door to let them in, as the Crown alleges.
Pan called 911 after intruders left
Their search complete, the intruders tied Pan to the banister, she said. From there, she said she could hear her mother calling out for her and shouting "I want to be with my daughter. Please bring me to my daughter."
She was then left alone, bound and without her glasses, she said.
"I heard someone downstairs saying, 'You lied to us,' then I heard a slight pause, then I heard two gunshots and my mother scream," she said, breaking into tears.
There were more shots, then someone said, "That's enough," she recalled.
As soon as the intruders left, Pan called 911, twisting her body to reach her second cellphone tucked in the back waistband of her yoga pants, she said. Her father, meanwhile, fled the house.
It was only once police arrived and untied her that she learned that her mother had indeed died, she said. Her father had somehow survived, but would remain in hospital for days.
She was arrested Nov. 22, 2010, shortly after her father was well enough to speak with police.
Also charged are Lenford Crawford — who the Crown alleges is Homeboy — David Mylvaganam and Eric Carty.