A man was sentenced to life in prison without parole Thursday for the 2008 shooting death of an attorney representing his deceased wife's family in a wrongful death suit against him.
Jason Cai, 54, was also ordered to pay $714,544 in restitution to the victim's family for the murder of attorney Xia Zhao, 32, on July 1, 2008.
On April 11, a jury had found Cai guilty of first-degree murder for shooting Zhao, who was found shot shortly before 10 a.m. in her office parking lot on Hamilton Avenue in San Jose.
Cai had previously been acquitted for the death of his second wife, Yiang Deng, who was found drowned in the pool of their Cupertino home in 2006. Jurors deadlocked on a manslaughter charge in the case.
Deng's family later hired Zhao to represent them in a wrongful-death suit against Cai.
Thursday's decision marked the end of the second trial in which Cai was tried for Zhao's murder. An earlier 2010 trial ended in a deadlocked jury, according to prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Brian Welch.
After a restitution hearing in which the defense and prosecution debated the amount Cai should pay the victim's family, Judge David Cena sentenced Cai to life without parole.
"I just wanna say I am not guilty for this case...I didn't commit this crime," Cai said of killing the wife and mother, as he had throughout the trial.
While a life sentence was expected, the amount Cai would be ordered to pay the victim's husband and son was up to Cena's discretion based on Zhao's earnings while she was alive, her health, spending habits, family planning, and other factors.
Aaron Spolin, a law clerk with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office, said the amount Cai was ordered to pay is one of the largest sums ever awarded in a case of this kind.
—By Bay City News