Accused killer begins trial as own attorney

Lishan Wang.
Lishan Wang. Photo by James Lu.

The accused murderer of a Yale doctor will begin his pre-trial hearing in New Haven Superior Court today, following 21 months of arguments over his proposed self-defense and his mental state.

Lishan Wang, charged with killing School of Medicine clinical fellow Dr. Vajinder Toor in Branford on Apr. 26, 2010, is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday after Judge Roland Fasano ruled Dec. 14 that Wang will be allowed to represent himself at trial. That decision followed Fasano’s ruling last March that Wang is mentally fit for trial, and came after 14 months of requests by Wang to represent himself.

Fasano deemed Wang “highly intelligent” and “highly capable” of mounting his own defense at the Dec. 14 hearing, according to the Branford Eagle, though he appointed a public defender on standby if Wang needs legal advice during his trial.

Fasano made his ruling after several deliberations and a formal hearing last July, concluding that after four separate investigations, Wang understands his case well enough to waive his right to counsel.

Wang is charged with murder, carrying weapons in a motor vehicle, criminal attempt to commit murder, possession of a handgun with no permit and unlawful discharge of a firearm.

In 2010, he allegedly shot Toor multiple times in the parking lot outside Toor’s Branford condominium and attempted to shoot Toor’s wife, who survived unscathed. When police arrested Wang, they also found three handguns, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and Google Maps directions to Toor’s home in his vehicle.

In May, Wang admitted to Branford police officers that he was at the scene just before Toor was shot and apologized for what had happened. The statement is admissible in court, though not a legal confession.

Toor and Wang met in 2008, when they both worked at the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Toor and two other employees reportedly confronted Wang about allegedly shirking his responsibilities, and Wang was fired from the center shortly afterwards.

At the School of Medicine, Toor was a first-year fellow in infectious diseases at the Department of Internal Medicine.

Comments