A woman accused of plotting to have her parents killed in a staged home invasion told a Toronto-area court Wednesday it was her own murder she was trying to orchestrate after plunging into a deep depression over her strained family life.
Jennifer Pan, 27, testified she fell out with her family in the summer of 2010 after they discovered she'd been lying to them for years about her studies, her work and her relationship with a man they disapproved of — her on again, off again boyfriend and co-accused, Daniel Wong.
Feeling isolated and distraught, she at first tried to take her own life, then arranged to have someone else carry out the killing for $10,000, she told a Newmarket, Ont., court in her second day on the stand.
Suicide would have brought shame on her family, and her insurance policy, which listed her younger brother as a beneficiary, would be nullified if she died at her own hands, Pan said.
But she said she changed her mind that fall after enrolling at a Toronto college, a move that seemed to restore her parents' trust and pave the way for reconciliation, she said.
"My life started to look different in my eyes," she said.
She previously told the court she had abandoned any plans to have her father killed after an earlier attempt failed because the man she hired took off with her money. She has also said she didn't know the break-in was planned and never intended for her mother to die.
Pan, Wong and three others were charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder following the attack at the family home in Markham, Ont., on November 8, 2010.
Her mother, Bieh Ha Pan, 53, was shot dead. Her father, Hann Pan, 60, was shot in the face but survived.
The Crown alleges Pan hatched a plan to have her parents murdered so that she could be with Wong, who they had forbidden her from seeing. As the date grew closer, however, she began to doubt his affection and was desperate to lure him back, prosecutors have said.
Pan testified she hired someone she knew only as Homeboy to kill her but made him swear to tell Wong the target was her father. Prosecutors have said Homeboy is the nickname for another of the accused, Lenford Crawford.
In the weeks leading up to the killing, Pan repeatedly told Homeboy she was calling off the deal, even negotiating to pay $8,500 in cancellation fees, she said.
Phone records presented in court showed a flurry of calls and texts between Pan and Homeboy on Oct. 31, 2010, which she said were about the plan.
"I was trying to convey to him that I wanted to call it off... I wanted to live," she said.
It took more than a day to sort things out with Homeboy and Wong, but by the end of Nov. 2, "everyone was in agreement that it was over," she said.
That day, Wong texted her saying he loved his new girlfriend, according to messages shown in court. Pan told him she would "call it off" as a result, to which he replied: "U said you wanted this with or without me."
Pan told the court Wednesday they were no longer together at the time and denied that a series of texts in which she asked Wong whether he still loved her and wanted to be with her had any romantic connotations.
"I just wanted him as a friend," she said.
She also dismissed the Crown's allegations that text messages from Homeboy the morning of the attack — in which he referred to that night as "game time" — had anything to do with a plan to kill her parents.
Those messages were attempts to schedule a time where he could pick up the money she owed for the cancelled suicide plot, she said.
Pan is set to resume her testimony Thursday.
Also charged are David Mylvaganam and Eric Carty.