A Mississauga man is guilty of murdering his female housemate then hiding her body to cover up her death, a jury decided Friday.
The Brampton jury deliberated for a little more than one day before finding Shaofeng Han, 55, guilty of second-degree murder for the December 2017 stabbing death of Yunying Pan, 40, according to Leah Shafran, one of the defence lawyers representing Han.
Han and Pan were both tenants in the Strathaven Drive townhouse where Pan was killed 10 days after moving in.
The jury started deliberations Wednesday after hearing compelling evidence, including Han’s own testimony, that he attempted to cover up Pan’s death by placing her in a suitcase then burying her body in a wooded area days later.
The Crown argued that Han killed Pan because she rejected his advances and was noisy, while the defence argued Han covered up the homicide scene he found inside the Mississauga townhouse out of fear of being wrongfully accused.
Crown prosecutor David D’Iorio in his closing submissions to the jury last week that rather than calling an ambulance, Han took every step to cover up Pan’s murder and tried to manufacture evidence that she had left the house, then lied to the police when she was reported missing by her mother a few days after she was last seen alive on Dec. 5, 2017.
It almost worked, D’Iorio said, but surveillance footage at the Strathaven Drive townhouse complex captured Han moving Pan’s Lexus SUV to a nearby Mississauga mall.
The prosecutor homed in on a frustrated Han repeatedly complaining to the landlord between Nov. 25 and 27, 2017, about Pan being noisy and leaving the lights on. Han at one point warned “there were going to be bigger conflicts later on,” and said “this girl is too much,” D’Iorio told the jury.
Days later, Pan declined Han’s offer to take her to the gym. She mentioned this to her cousin via social media and called Han “old and dirty,” D’Iorio said.
Pan expressed concern for her safety to the landlord, and mentioned looking for another place to live, D’Iorio said.
Han was not charged with second-degree murder until Jan. 26, 2018, weeks after Pan’s disappearance prompted police to carry out surveillance on Han’s daily routine, the jury heard during the trial.
Pan’s body was found in March 2019 in a wooded area near Matheson Boulevard East and Kennedy Road in Mississauga.
“Most of her skin and vital organs had rotted away in the grave, permanently erasing the evidence of what was done to her and who had done it,” D’Iorio said, adding she was stabbed repeatedly in the middle of her back.
Han’s defence lawyer Lydia Riva told the jury in her closing address that given the “lack of a motive and the fact that an unknown man’s blood was at the scene” the jury should be left with reasonable doubt Han was the killer.
Riva said Han, a reclusive Chinese immigrant who immigrated to Canada in 2006 and spoke no English, became unhinged by his discovery of Pan’s bloodied body.
Riva said Han believed that, like China, Canada had the death penalty.
“He thought of wrongful convictions in China,” she said. “Shaofeng believed that if police suspected him he would be automatically convicted and executed.”
Han faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison, with a parole ineligibility period of between ten to 25 years to be set by a judge.
Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. Reach him on email: [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpic
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