Courtesy of New Haven Police Department

In the latest of a string of legal delays, Qinxuan Pan — the man suspected of murdering Yale Graduate Student Kevin Jiang ENV ’22 in February 2021 — was granted more time to undergo a competency exam to assess if he is mentally fit for trial. 

Pan, a former MIT graduate student, is the sole suspect in Kevin Jiang’s murder. Following a months-long manhunt across state lines, Pan was arrested in May 2021. Since that arrest, judges have granted Pan’s attorneys numerous extensions to review evidence. Finally, in a June 2, 2022 hearing, it seemed the date was set to hold either a probable cause hearing or to move forward with the case this Tuesday. Instead, Pan’s attorney, Norm Pattis, admitted to the courtroom that Pan has been evasive in conversations and uncooperative with Pattis.

“He’s a communicative challenge. … I can’t get a straight answer,” Pattis told State Superior Court Judge Jon Alander during the hearing, according to the New Haven Independent. 

While Pattis contends that Pan seems to understand the state charges brought against him in the case, Pan has been uncooperative in providing further details about a potential second person involved or a different shooter. 

With Pan only extending what Pattis described as minimal information on another person, Pattis argued that Pan was not capable of “assisting in his own defense.” This, in Pattis and the judge’s view, qualified Pan to undergo a competency test.

Before the next hearing, which is slated for Nov. 7, Pan will undergo an evaluation with a state or court-appointed psychiatrist. Alander will then assess if Pan is fit for trial. 

According to accounts from the New Haven Independent and the New Haven Register, Jiang’s family and friends packed into the courthouse seating and awaited news. 

Jiang, who was 26, was enrolled in the Yale School of the Environment and had been engaged to his girlfriend, Zion Perry GRD ’26, for just over a week before he was shot and killed in New Haven’s East Rock neighborhood. 

“Kevin lived full-heartedly, enthusiastically, like a ray of sunlight,” Jiang’s mother Linda Liu said about her late son at his memorial service

Police released a 96-page affidavit in June 2021 with their arrest warrant application linking Pan to Jiang’s murder. 

Sophie Sonnenfeld is Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News. She previously served as City Editor and covered cops and courts as a beat reporter. She is a junior in Branford College double majoring in political science and anthropology.