A woman plotted to have her parents killed in a staged home invasion because they forbade her from seeing the man she loved, but her plan started to unravel when her father survived the attack, prosecutors alleged Wednesday.
Jennifer Pan hatched the plan after her parents made her choose between them and her co-accused Daniel Wong, who had been her high school sweetheart, Crown lawyer Jennifer Halajian told a Toronto-area court in her opening statement.
Though she appeared to bow to their demands, Pan resented them and continued to see Wong, with whom she hoped the spend the rest of her life, Halajian said.
"As long as her parents were alive, that hope was dead," she said.
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Pan, Wong and three other men — Eric Carty, Lenford Crawford and David Mylvaganam — are charged with first-degree murder in the death of her mother, 53-year-old Bieh Ha Pan, and attempted murder in the shooting of her father, Huei Hann Pan.
While they didn't all pull the trigger, each "participated in carrying out Jennifer Pan's plan to murder her parents," Halajian said.
Others were involved in the plot and some of the intruders aren't among the accused in this trial, she said.
The judge overseeing the trial told the jury that just because all five accused are tried together doesn't mean they should get the same verdict.
Court hears 911 call
Pan, 27, initially appeared to be a victim in the Nov. 8, 2010 incident at her family's home in Markham, north of Toronto.
But the Crown said her story — that three people had broken into the house, tied her up and shot her parents — quickly started falling apart once it became clear her father would survive and tell a different tale.
'I think my dad's outside and he's screaming.' - Jennifer Pan
In a 911 call played in court, Pan sounded distraught as she pleaded for help. At one point, a man's screams can be heard in the background.
"I heard shots like 'pop,"' she said. "I think my dad's outside and he's screaming."
Prosecutors allege she came up with the murder plan earlier that year and asked Wong to help, even though their relationship was on the rocks. They said he put her in touch with Crawford, who acted as go-between for the group.
Carty and Mylvaganam's role was to go to the house "and kill two innocent parents," but it's unclear if Carty ever made it inside, Halajian said.
That night, Pan's parents were asleep when she went downstairs to unlock the front door, having just spoken with Mylvaganam, the lawyer said.
Her father was woken by a man pointing a gun at him, then he was taken downstairs with his wife, she said. He saw his daughter talking softly with another man, she said.
Pan's mother repeatedly begged the intruders not to harm her daughter, Halajian said. At one point, they assured her no harm would come to the young woman, the lawyer said.
Her father lost consciousness after he was shot in the head. Halajian said he was shot in the face and shoulder.When he came to, his wife was dead, she said. Bieh Ha Pan had been shot in the back, the base of the head and again in the head, this time at point blank.
He nonetheless managed to flee to the neighbour's house before paramedics arrived. But he remained in a coma for several days.
Halajian said Pan was visiting her father in the hospital along with several relatives when she learned his injuries weren't fatal.
She immediately called Wong on a hospital pay phone, even though family members had offered to lend her their cellphones, the Crown said.
Pan was arrested on Nov. 22, which the Crown said sent her accomplices into a panic.