Cleaver-wielding cook's sentencing scheduled for Friday in Md.
Yuan Jun Li, 49, is set to be sentenced today for stabbing his kitchen co-worker in the back with a meat cleaver.
The victim survived. Li pleaded guilty to first-degree assault. The details of the case, presented by Montgomery County prosecutors at Li’s plea hearing in November, are startling.
Li and the victim, both cooks, got into an argument in the kitchen of Szechuan Palace at 12137 Darnestown Road in Gaithersburg. The victim hit Li with a spatula, cutting his head. Li slashed him in the arm with the meat cleaver.
The two were separated, things apparently settled down, and Li went out back to smoke a cigarette. The victim walked around to the back of the restaurant.
"The defendant, upon seeing the victim, reentered the restaurant and got a cleaver from the kitchen area," prosecutor John Lalos said in court. "He then exited the restaurant and began to chase the victim through the parking lot. The defendant struck the victim once in the back with the cleaver."
Next, according to Lalos, the victim steadied himself enough to throw a piece of garbage -- "It may have been a vegetable" -- at Li's car, prompting Li to chase him through the parking lot again, catch him, kick him and punch him.
The victim, identified in police charging documents as Bo Li, was taken to Suburban Hospital for treatment of a "large gaping wound" in his back and bruising and swelling around both eyes, according to police charging documents.
When officers caught up with the suspect Li about 10 days later at the Rockville Metro station, he was carrying a laptop computer, personal documents, a cell phone, cigarettes and just under $10,000 in cash.
Montgomery Circuit Judge Terrence McGann, no stranger to handing out long prison stays, is scheduled to impose the sentence. In recent cases, he labeled a defendant before him a "self-absorbed, egocentric murderer," and described another as likely "sadistic" based on evidence in the case.
But those were convicted killers. It will be interesting to see what sentence McGann gives in a case where prosecutors appear to have agreed to drop an earlier charge of attempted murder.
-- Dan Morse
February 5, 2010; 8:59 AM ET
Categories: Dan Morse , Montgomery
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