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Bond Set at $20 Million for MIT Student Suspected in Killing of Yale Student

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A Massachusetts man suspected of killing a Yale graduate student in February faced a judge in court in New Haven Thursday after he was arrested in Alabama and bond has been set at $20 million.

Qinxuan Pan was arrested on May 14 in Montgomery, Alabama by members of the U.S. Marshals and he was extradited back to Connecticut. New Haven police said. It was unclear when Pan was brought back to Connecticut.

Prosecutor Stacey Miranda said during the hearing that Pan rented an apartment in Montgomery under a false name and had $19,000 in cash and his father’s passport. Prosecutors added that Pan had seven cell phones and seven SIM cards.

“This court is extremely troubled by the efforts this defendant has made to avoid apprehension and to potentially flee this country,” said New Haven Superior Court Judge, Brian Fischer.

According to prosecutors, Pan’s family owns two homes in Massachusetts and recently bid on a North Carolina home.

Miranda asked the judge to set bail at $50 million, saying Pan’s family is wealthy and he is a flight risk.

“The state believes his act of extreme violence, flight, the fact that he was very difficult to apprehend, the steps taken to elude law enforcement and his national and international ties prove he is an extreme danger to the community and a major flight risk,” Miranda said.

The judge ordered Pan held on $20 million.

Pan’s lawyer, William Gerace, said Pan intends to plead not guilty to the charges. He said Pan, 30, has no criminal record and is an “affable” young man. Pan appeared during the hearing via video from a lockup.

“I can’t imagine him doing this crime ... and I look forward to finding out the true facts,” Gerace said in a phone interview after the court hearing.

Gerace said they will likely appeal the bail.

“It’s too much. It’s exorbitant. I don’t know what to say. The judge has his reasons, but we will probably be appealing that bond,” said Gerace.

Pan was initially wanted for questioning in connection to the death of 26-year-old Kevin Jiang, a Yale graduate student. In late February, New Haven police said they had secured an arrest warrant charging him with murder.

Jiang was found on Saturday, Feb. 6, lying outside of his car on Lawrence Street in New Haven. He had several gunshot wounds and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jiang, who grew up in Chicago, was a graduate student at Yale’s School of the Environment and he was set to graduate next year, police said.

He was an Army veteran who graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, according to an obituary prepared by his family. Before his death, he had just been engaged to be married, the Associated Press reports.

Two months after the murder of Jiang, the search for Pan became an international manhunt, NBC News reported.

Police said Pan visited car dealerships in Connecticut and Massachusetts, looking to purchase a small model SUV and even asked to test drive vehicles, before the shooting.

On the day of the shooting, Pan stole a car in Mansfield, Massachusetts before driving to Connecticut, according to a police report.

The report said Pan took a blue GMC Terrain for a test drive on Feb. 6 and never returned it to the dealership.

According to the Mansfield police report, Pan left the dealership with the car at around 11 a.m. When a salesman called him at 5:30 p.m. to ask when he would be returning, Pan allegedly asked for more time, saying he had a family emergency, then stopped responding to texts and phone calls.

He also allegedly put a commercial Connecticut license plate on the vehicle to conceal its identity, the New Haven Register reported.

Pan's last known address is in Malden, Massachusetts, and he is a graduate of MIT.

Police didn’t say whether Pan and Jiang had an existing relationship. However, MIT officials said Pan has been enrolled as a graduate student at the university since 2014. Jiang's fiancée graduated from MIT in 2020.

Pan is now in custody and his attorney says his mental state is stable.

“He seems fine. He seems on top of it. He’s very bright. He’s got an IQ that’s stratospheric,” added Gerace.

The U.S. Marshals said Pan was seen on Feb. 11 driving with family members in Brookhaven, Georgia and he was carrying a black backpack and acting strange.

Police were investigating whether Jiang was targeted as a result of road rage following a car accident, however, authorities have not confirmed a motive.

Gerace said he plans to appeal the bond ruling through the appellate court within the next 10 days. Pan is scheduled to be in court next on June 1.

NBC Connecticut and Associated Press
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