Former MIT researcher pleads guilty to 2021 killing of Yale grad student from Chicago

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A former researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has pleaded guilty to the 2021 killing of a Yale University graduate student found shot outside his car in Connecticut.

Qinxuan Pan faces 35 years in prison following his guilty plea Thursday in a New Haven court. The 32-year-old will be sentenced Thursday, April 25.

Pan’s lawyer William Gerace said Friday that it was “prudent to take this reasonable plea bargain” as his client was facing 60 years if convicted.

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Prosecutors say that on the morning of Feb. 6, 2021, Pan shot Kevin Jiang multiple times on a street in New Haven, which is home to Yale University. He fled, leaving Jiang lying by his car with gunshot wounds to his head, chest and extremities.

Pan had eluded authorities for three months following the shooting death and was apprehended in Alabama, where officials said he was caught living under a fake name with $19,000 in cash, a passport and several cellphones.

A graduate student at Yale’s School of the Environment, Jiang grew up in Chicago and was an Army veteran.

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Thursday’s statement from prosecutors didn’t mention a motive for the killing, but court documents show Pan knew Jiang’s fiancée, Zion Perry, from when they both attended MIT.

But Perry told authorities “they never had a romantic or sexual relationship, they were just friends, but she did get a feeling that he was interested in her during that time.”

Jiang had just left Perry’s apartment after a day of fishing when Pan shot him. Jiang and Perry had been engaged just days earlier.

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