A Connecticut judge set $20 million bail Thursday for a man charged with killing a Yale graduate student and eluding authorities for three months before being arrested in Alabama, where officials said he was caught living under a fake name with $19,000 in cash, a passport and several cellphones.
Qinxuan Pan was extradited to Connecticut on Wednesday night and arraigned Thursday in New Haven Superior Court. He is charged with murder and larceny in connection with the fatal shooting of Kevin Jiang on a New Haven street on Feb. 6.
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.
Pan, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MIT graduate, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, on May 14. Authorities have not disclosed how they found him or what the motive for the shooting was.
Jiang, 26, had recently been engaged to be married. His fiancee, Zion Perry, graduated from MIT last year. Law enforcement officials have not disclosed any connections between Pan, Perry and the killing of Jiang.
Judge Brian Fischer set bail at $20 million and said if Pan manages to post it, he is prohibited from having any contact with a “protected person” with the initials Z.P.
Prosecutor Stacey Miranda said during the hearing that Pan rented an apartment in Montgomery under a false name and had $19,000 in cash, his father’s passport and several cellphones. She 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.
Jiang was found wounded by multiple gunshots and lying outside his car on a New Haven street at about 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 6. Local and international arrest warrants were issued, and U.S. marshals offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to Pan’s arrest.
Jiang, who grew up in Chicago, was a graduate student at Yale’s School of the Environment. 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.
Pan worked as a researcher in MIT’s computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory, according to his Facebook page. He is a U.S. citizen who was born in Shanghai, China. His last known address was in Malden, Massachusetts.