A laboratory technician who shot her boyfriend at the University of Utah last year will remain in the state hospital for at least 18 months.
Qi Zhang, 32, pleaded guilty to attempted murder, a second degree felony, in August for the shooting of Ping Yu, 31. Both worked at the the university's genetics lab.After her plea, 3rd District Judge David Young stayed a one- to 15-year prison sentence for Zhang until she has received all benefits possible from her stay at the hospital. He plans to review her condition after 18 months.
Young used a 1992 law to retain jurisdiction of the case. He could have let state parole and probation officials determine her fate after the hospital stay.
Defense attorney Ed Brass said the woman's presentence report, prepared by adult probation and parole, recommended prison for Zhang, but a psychologist and a psychiatrist both determined the woman was mentally ill.
"I'd say about 90 percent of this was because of her culture and 10 percent because she is mentally ill. This whole situation was a great disgrace to her . . . to be a single mother and to be spurned by the man she loved," Brass said.
Zhang immigrated to the United States in 1986 to date Yu, he testified at a preliminary hearing last year. He said the shooting incident occurred after he told Zhang he was going back to China.