Alleged SiPort Shooter Begged for Job: Court Testimony

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A prosecutor in the trial of a man accused of killing three  managers at a Santa Clara semiconductor company in 2008 said today the defendant was resentful about being fired from his $125,000-a-year job and  returned a day later to shoot the victims to death.

    Jing Hua Wu, a former testing engineer for the firm SiPort, Inc.,  "begged for his job" back during a follow-up meeting with the three victims  the afternoon of Nov. 14, 2008, and when they refused, he shot them, Deputy  District Attorney Tim McInerny said.  

    "Revenge. That's what this murder comes down to," McInerny said in  his opening statement in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose this  morning.

    Wu, 51, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder with special circumstances for the deaths of SiPort CEO Sid Agrawal, 56; its vice  president of operations Brain Pugh, 47; and human resources manager Marilyn  Lewis, 67.

    The special-circumstance allegations could make Wu eligible for  the death penalty if he is convicted.

    SiPort, which made HD radio chips, was bought by Intel in 2011.

    Today in court, McInerny showed jurors graphic autopsy photos of  the three victims and their bullet wounds.

    He said Wu had purchased a small 9mm handgun, used it to practice at a gun range in Milpitas, and bought 100 rounds of ammunition two days  before the shootings -- six of which he used to shoot the victims at close  range.

    Moments before the shootings occurred inside Agrawal's office,  employees said they overheard Agrawal exclaim, "We don't have to do it like  that," to which Wu replied, "I don't care, you're just going to send me to  jail," McInerny told jurors.

    McInerny said the killings were "planned, purposeful and premeditated."

    In his opening statement, Wu's defense lawyer, San Francisco civil rights attorney Tony Serra, described his client as "a law-abiding man,  family man prior to this horrible, horrible episode," which he said resulted  from Wu's family struggles in China and mental illness.

    Serra said Wu grew up in Communist China. He lived through the  Great Famine period of 1958 to 1961 when many people starved, and was there  for the Cultural Revolution beginning in the mid-1960s when Wu's family was  denounced for its previous ties to the Nationalist China movement.

    Wu was repeatedly beaten for being associated with the nationalist  group and once was shoved into water and nearly drowned by political opponents, causing him to suffer from post-traumatic distress disorder, Serra  said.

    "His whole family would hide at home at night to escape the bullying," Serra said. "He grew up fearful, he grew up distressed. He grew up in a lifelong depression."

    The defendant's mother and grandmother had histories of severe mental illness, and Wu himself has suffered from paranoid delusions, has been treated for a serious form of depression and has thoughts of suicide, Serra  said.

    In the years prior to the shootings, Wu had money invested real estate whose value declined steeply during the U.S. economic downturn in 2008, Serra said. He faced bankruptcy, humiliation for him and his family,  and then the loss of this job, the attorney said.

    Wu started to have hallucinations and considered suicide prior to  the shootings, and then "blacked out" and recalls shooting Pugh but not  killing Agrawal or Lewis, Serra said.

    Serra said the defense plans to discuss seven diagnoses from  experts about Wu's "mental diseases and defects."

    The defense also will offer proof that Wu's sufferings in China  and his mental health problems formed the foundation for the shootings.

    "We have a good, strong case as to his mentality," Serra said.  "The evidence is going to show he was very, very mentally ill."

    Serra concluded by telling jurors that the defense will provide  them with reasonable doubt to refute the murder charges and instead convict  Wu on the lesser charge of manslaughter.