Criminal Justice

Software Engineer Gets Life Without Parole for Murdering Opposing Counsel in Wrongful Death Case

A Silicon Valley software engineer convicted of murdering the lawyer retained by his late wife’s family to pursue a wrongful death case against him has been sentenced to life without parole.

Jason Cai, 54, also was ordered Thursday to pay $715,544 restitution to the survivors of Xia Zhao, a married 32-year-old lawyer with a young son who was gunned down by Cai and found dead in the parking lot of her law office in 2008, according to the Associated Press and the Cupertino Patch.

Zhao had been representing the family of Cai’s former wife, who drowned in a swimming pool at their home in 2006. Before Cai was convicted in a San Jose courtroom earlier this year, jurors had previously deadlocked both in a manslaughter case against Cai concerning the death of his wife, Yiang Deng, as well as in an earlier first-degree murder trial concerning Zhao’s slaying.

Because Cai’s crime was determined to involve a special circumstance, lying in wait, he was not eligible for parole, explained Deputy District Attorney Brian Welch to CBS San Francisco after the guilty verdict in April.

Earlier coverage: “Testimony: Slain in Law Office Parking Lot, Attorney Foresaw Her Fate But Stayed on Case” “Software Engineer Convicted of Murdering Attorney Who Pursued Wrongful Death Suit Against Him”

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