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Plea bargain best option for Taiwanese terrorism suspect: Henry Lee

2018/04/26 16:25:15

Taipei, April 26 (CNA) Henry Chang-yu Lee (李昌鈺), one of the world's leading forensic scientists, said in Taipei Thursday that a plea bargain would be the best legal pathway for a Taiwanese accused of making terrorist threats in the United States.

Lee, a visiting Taiwanese-American, told reporters that the student An Tso Sun (孫安佐) should have an experienced lawyer and avoid going to trial by entering a plea bargain.

That would be the best option in a case where there is ample evidence and no legal loopholes, said Lee, who is in Taiwan to advise local law enforcement authorities on how to deal with crime in the 21st century.

Sun, an 18-year-old Taiwanese student in Pennsylvania, was arrested March 26 on charges of making terroristic threats in his high school and possessing instruments of crime.

According to his lawyer Robert Keller, Sun has waived his right to a preliminary hearing and will likely plead guilty to the first charge in the hope that the district attorney's office to will drop the second one.

On that issue, Lee said that if the two charges can be uncoupled, the case will be resolved more easily.

Once Sun pleads guilty, his attorney can start negotiating with the DA's office and the judge for a lighter sentence, using arguments that focus on a lack of real intent and a harmless interest in guns and video games, Lee said.

Sun's criminal record may even be expunged in the future if the negotiations go smoothly, Lee said.

A formal arraignment is scheduled for May 23, during which the court will read the charges to Sun and he would be allowed to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, according to the court's docket.

According to Pennsylvania police, Sun last month threatened to shoot up Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast High School, which he was attending.

Police said their searches found that Sun had more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition and a semiautomatic firearm, along with other items that included a military-style ballistic vest, a high-powered crossbow with a scope, arrows, and a strangling device.

Deadly school shootings in the U.S. are a hot button issue that has spurred massive youth protests and calls for stronger gun control measures.

(By Hsiao Po-wen and Kuan-lin Liu)
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