A Mississauga man testified that he hatched a coverup to escape blame for the December 2017 killing of his female housemate — a murder he says he didn’t commit.
Yunying Pan was stuffed into a large travel bag, placed in the trunk of her housemate’s car, where she was kept for hours, before her body was stashed in two locations, then buried, testified Shaofeng Han on Wednesday.
The 55-year-old man, accused of killing Pan, shared the first bits of detail about the final moments of his then 40-year-old female housemate.
Speaking via a Mandarin language interpreter, Han testified Wednesday that he found Pan covered in blood and unconscious on the night of Dec. 5, 2017, on the steps inside the Mississauga townhouse they shared as tenants, but covered it up because he feared that the Canadian judicial system would, in his words, execute him even though he wasn’t responsible for her death.
“I never killed her,” Han said of Pan, who had moved into the home shared by Han and another man, roughly two weeks before her death.
Han said he was watching a movie in his room upstairs when he decided to go down to the ground floor sometime after 7:30 p.m.
When he got to the bottom of the stairs, “I was so shocked by the thing that I saw,” Han testified, adding that Pan was face down on the stairs.
“There was a lot of blood on her,” the stairs and the wall, he said. He called out to her but there was no response, “then I pushed her and no response at all.”
Han told the jury that he found the rear sliding glass doors open wide, suggesting that “someone escaped from there.”
He decided not to call the police because “the police would think I’m the one who killed Ms. Pan, then convict me and execute me.”
He decided to get rid of Pan’s body and relocate her Lexus SUV to make it appear that she had disappeared.
His lawyer, Lydia Riva, spent Wednesday, trying to quash the Crown’s theory that Han, a divorced father of a 25-year-old son, killed Pan because she rejected his romantic advances, made in the days after she had moved in, and that she was noisy, which annoyed Han. Han testified to complaining to the landlord about Han making noise, but said things got better.
“I have never had any romantic interest towards her,” Han said.
The jury heard that while Pan lay dead inside the home, Han called his employer at around 8:26 p.m. to tell her that he was sick and couldn’t make it to work the following day. Shortly after 9:15 p.m., he sent a text to his son.
“I was in tears,” Han said, adding that minutes later he backed his car into the garage of the townhouse so he could place the body, now inside the bag, into the trunk of his Toyota Corolla.
Han said he panicked after making the gruesome discovery, for which he thought police would blame him, so he decided to cover it up by driving the body away from the Strathaven Drive townhouse complex.
The following afternoon, Han, a driving school instructor, who moved to Canada from China in 2006, said he drove Pan’s SUV to a parking lot near Square One Shopping Centre, where he ditched it and where it was later discovered. Han was not charged with second-degree murder until Jan. 26, weeks after Pan’s disappearance prompted police to carry out surveillance on Han’s daily routine, the jury has heard.
Han, a permanent resident, testified that he helped Pan move in on Nov. 25 after his landlord brought her to the house. The two would speak again when they crossed paths in the shared kitchen.
Han said he inquired if Pan had a boyfriend, to which she said yes, but admitted to being open to dating other people. Han admitted to suggesting that he could be her boyfriend, but testified that he was only joking. They also discussed working out at the gym together, but that did not happen.
Han took the stand Wednesday as his defence team of Riva and Leah Shafran made opening remarks to the jury, after the Crown concluded its case against Han.
In her opening, Shafran said the suitcase remained in Han’s trunk until the earlier hours of Dec. 7, before he left it somewhere in Scarborough.
“In the days that followed, Mr. Han moved the suitcase two more times,” Shafran said. He then buried the suitcase behind Mississauga’s Dewey College.
The Crown has called several witnesses, including the officers who tailed Han in the days following Pan’s disappearance.
The jury has watched reams of video, including security camera footage of Han’s movements inside the complex that day, along with Han’s police interrogation, which shows him denying any knowledge of her death and whereabouts.
“I was very afraid that if I tell the truth, the officer would think that I killed Ms. Pan,” he said, adding that he feared that Canadian law worked similar to China, where, according to him, innocent people are sometimes wrongfully accused by corrupt police and sentenced to death.
On March 29, 2019, Peel police announced that human remains were found in a wooded area near Matheson Boulevard and Kennedy Road in Mississauga. It was later determined that the remains belonged to Pan.
The jury also reviewed video footage, capturing Pan shopping at a nearby store before returning to the complex on the afternoon of Dec. 5, one of the last times she was seen alive outside the home.
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