A jury in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose today found a man was legally sane when he killed three managers at a Silicon Valley semiconductor firm in 2008, a deputy district attorney said. The jury, capping a more than two-month trial, rejected the insanity plea of 52-year-old Jing Hua Wu after convicting him two weeks ago of three counts of first-degree murder, Deputy District Attorney Tim McInerny said. The panel deliberated over two days on the trial’s insanity phase and returned its verdict at about 4 p.m., McInerny said. The defendant displayed no reaction when the unanimous verdict was read, McInerny said.
Wu, also convicted of special circumstances for using a gun, faces a mandatory penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole at a sentencing hearing set by Judge Sharon Chatman for May 24, McInerny said. The former test engineer was found guilty March 8 of murdering three managers in the office of the HD radio chip company SiPort, based in Santa Clara and now part of Intel Corp., on Nov. 14, 2008, after the company had fired him. The victims included SiPort CEO Sid Agrawal, 56, president of
operations Brain Pugh, 47, and human resources manager Marilyn Lewis, 67, whom Wu shot in Agrawal’s office after prosecutors said he pled in vain for his old job back. The prosecution claimed the murders were premeditated by Wu, who bought 100 rounds of ammunition for his 9mm pistol following a morning meeting at the company and returned at 3 p.m. that afternoon to shoot the victims.
Throughout the trial, Wu’s attorneys argued that he suffered from a severe mental illness that ran in his family and that his at-times brutal life in Communist China during the 1960s caused distress that contributed to his state of mind during the slayings. Wu testified that he did not remember killing the three victims, who were all shot in the head. After he was convicted, his attorneys, led by San Francisco defense lawyer Tony Serra, continued to argue he was not sane at the time he shot Agrawal, Pugh and Lewis. Wu himself took the stand in his own defense in the sanity phase this week as he did in the trial’s first phase that began with jury selection Jan. 7 and opening statements Jan. 17. During the trial, some jurors appeared weary during Wu’s lengthy testimony, through a Mandarin-speaking interpreter, when he sometimes interrupted his attorneys to say he was not finished answering questions.
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