Trials & Litigation

Defendant in Civil Wrongful Death Case Denies Murdering Attorney Who Pursued Suit Against Him


Testifying in his own defense at trial for the 2008 murder of a California attorney who was representing his former wife’s family in a civil wrongful death case, a San Jose software engineer on Tuesday denied that he had anything to do with the crime.

Jason Cai loudly denied that he shot Xia Zhao, who was gunned down in her law office parking lot at such close range that there was a muzzle imprint on her chest, the Mercury News reports.

But in a blistering cross-examination, prosecutor Brian Welch then suggested that Cai had used his tech skills and a laptop to rig an alibi that he was at home at the time of the crime, the newspaper recounts.

Welch also grilled Cai about his claimed efforts to intimidate Zhao and other attorneys who had represented the family of Cai’s second wife, Ying Deng. She drowned in their Cupertino swimming pool in 2003 and the wrongful death case put in question not only whether Cai would have to pay damages if he lost, but whether he would get a $250,000 life insurance payout, the newspaper reports.

Welch said computer records showed Cai had looked up the home address of another attorney in the case, William Pierce, who subsequently found an anonymous note on his car windshield.

“Is there anyone else on this entire planet who would have a motive to put this note on Mr. Pierce’s car telling him not to get involved in this wrongful death case?” Welch asked.

Cai said the lawyers representing his wife’s family have been framing him, the article reports.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “2nd Trial Under Way for Man Accused of Murdering Attorney Who Sued Him in Wrongful Death Case”

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