The man accused of a 2010 homicide filed a legal motion last month that would require Yale to release the records of the victim, who previously worked for the University. Yale is opposing the motion.
Lishan Wang, the accused murderer of former Yale-New Haven postgraduate fellow Vajinder Toor, subpoenaed the University for the “personnel, disciplinary and human resources records,” of the deceased. On Jan. 2, Patrick Noonan, an attorney for Yale, went to the New Haven Superior Court to reject the motion. Wang was charged in 2010 for murder, attempt to commit murder, carrying a pistol without a permit and illegal possession of a weapon in a vehicle.
“Yale believes the deceased’s records are both irrelevant to the case and that their confidentiality is protected by law,” University Press Secretary Tom Conroy said in a Tuesday statement to the News.
Wang allegedly shot and killed Toor and shot at Toor’s pregnant wife at the couple’s home in Branford, Conn. on April 26, 2010. Five years later, the case has still not gone to trial, and Wang is being held on $900,000 bail.
Wang and Toor knew each other before the murder. In 2008, Wang was fired from his job at the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, where he was working as a resident under Toor.
Over the course of the five-year pre-trial, Wang has filed many motions that have been deemed irrelevant by the courts. Wang has chosen to represent himself instead of using the public defender’s office attorney, Jeffrey LaPierre.
According to Yale Law School professor Kate Stith, who has been following the case, Wang has made a “farce of the legal process” by filing so many irrelevant motions.
“At some point the judge has to say enough is enough,” she said.
After Wang submitted the motion last December, Superior Court Judge Thomas O’Keefe Jr. gave Wang until Feb. 4 to prepare his reason for filing the motion in question. By that date, Wang also must decide whether or not to pursue affirmative partial-defense of extreme emotional disturbance, a defense that could reduce his charge from murder to manslaughter and therefore reduce his potential jail time. The defendant would have to prove this defense on his own, however, since he has refused counsel. Originally, Wang was supposed to have decided his psychiatric defense by Jan. 9, but O’Keefe pushed this back.
According to Stanford criminal law professor Mark Kelman, the extreme emotional disturbance defense usually implies that the defendant acted in response to momentary stress and killed without serious thought.
At the time of his arrest, police found guns, ammunition and pictures of Toor and two other people that Wang had previously worked with at Kingsbrook.
Kelman said that given the premeditated nature of the attack, unless the records showed some sort of pattern of behavior that might set someone off in the way that Wang acted, the extreme emotional disturbance defense would be difficult to pursue.
Early on in the pre-trial, Wang was deemed incompetent to stand trial, and was ordered by New Haven Superior Court Judge Roland Fasano to spend 60 days at a mental facility, but was then later deemed fit to stand trial after being evaluated by a psychiatrist Mark Cotterell.
Jury selection for the case is scheduled for April and the trial is tentatively set for May of this year.