By DAVE COLLINS
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A doctor charged with killing a Yale University physician over a workplace dispute pleaded no contest on June 9 to lesser charges and agreed to serve 32 years in prison.
Lishan Wang, a Chinese citizen from Beijing, was charged with murder for the 2010 killing of Dr. Vajinder Toor and with attempted murder for shooting at Toor’s pregnant wife, who wasn’t hurt, outside the couple’s home in Branford.
Wang, 51, pleaded to reduced charges of manslaughter, attempted assault and gun crimes during a hearing in New Haven Superior Court. Sentencing is set for Sept. 22.
The pleas ended seven years of legal battles over Wang’s competency and his wish to represent himself. Wang has been under a judge’s order to be forcibly medicated against his will for mental illness so he can remain competent to stand trial — an issue that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It’s a fair resolution of a very complex case,” said Wang’s public defender, Thomas Ullmann. “The competency issue poses some real dilemmas in terms of defense strategy and how the state approaches the case.”
If the case had gone to trial, an insanity defense was likely, Ullmann said.
Wang said little in court last week, only answering questions from a judge on whether he understood the plea deal and its ramifications. He will remain under the forced medication order and confined at the state’s maximum-security psychiatric hospital until sentencing.
Authorities said the shooting appeared to stem from a 2008 workplace dispute Wang had with Toor and other doctors when they worked together at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in New York City. Wang was fired from the medical center that year after a series of confrontations with Toor and other colleagues.
Toor was a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Medicine who was working with the infectious disease section of Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Judge Thomas O’Keefe Jr. ruled Wang competent to stand trial but rejected his request to act as his own lawyer. The judge also continued his previous order to medicate Wang against his will. Wang’s lawyers have said he has delusional disorder and paranoia.
O’Keefe ruled Wang incompetent in 2015 and ordered the forced medication to see if he could become competent to stand trial. Wang previously insisted he was competent and didn’t need medication. He represented himself in the case for several years.
Wang’s public defenders appealed the forced medication order, saying it violated his constitutional rights to a fair trial and mental and physical bodily integrity. But the state Supreme Court upheld the ruling, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.