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Accused hitman gets life in prison for 2009 slaying in bar

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Updated: 12/03/2012 6:20 pm
A jury decides that Xiao Ye Bia will not die for killing a man at a karaoke bar in 2009. However, the reputed gang member, will never be free. News 3's Sandra Gonzalez is live at the Regional Justice Center with more on today's sentencing.

LAS VEGAS —
 Xiao Ye Bai learned his fate Monday, as a jury decided he will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for a 2009 karaoke bar stabbing.

Bai kept his composure as the verdict was read.

His mother buried her face in her hands overcome with emotion. Last Thursday, Ying Chen sobbed on her knees as she pleaded with the jury as a defense witness to save her son’s life.

I think it had a substantial effect. I don’t think there was a person in the courtroom that wasn’t moved by her emotion,” said defense attorney Robert Draschovich.

The jury started deliberating Thursday for three hours and resumed deliberations Monday for a little more than three hours before reaching the verdict.

On the verdict form there were several questions to answer including whether or not it believed Bai had brain damage. Part of the defense strategy was trying to convince the jury during the penalty phase that Bai suffered from frontal lobe dysfunction which affected his decision making when it came to knowledge and doing what was right. The jury answered “no” to that question.

Prosecutors were hoping for the death penalty, but respect the decision that the jury made.

“Ultimately, the jury made a moral decision as to what it is that they think should happen, and they needed 12 people to unanimously agree or they had to decide to give him life without the possibility of parole, and so ultimately that’s what they did,” said prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo.

Formal sentencing is scheduled for February 5.

Bai still faces a California murder charge for a shooting death from San Gabriel in 2008.


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