POLITICS

Loose ends remain in case of woman convicted of ordering hit on parents

12/15/2014 02:53 EST | Updated 02/14/2015 05:59 EST
NEWMARKET, Ont. - The investigation into the slaying of a Toronto-area woman and wounding of her husband continues even after their daughter and three accomplices were convicted of first-degree murder in the assassination plot this weekend.

Police are still seeking one of the three men who allegedly took part in the Nov. 8, 2010 attack that killed Jennifer Pan's mother and left her father on the brink of death from a bullet to the head.

A jury in Newmarket, north of Toronto, found Saturday that Pan, 28, was the mastermind behind the hit, which was disguised as a robbery. She was also convicted of attempted murder.

Pan's co-accused — Lenford Crawford, David Mylvaganam and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Daniel Wong — were found guilty of the same charges. All four face an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Prosecutors said during trial that neither Wong nor Crawford were at the Pan home that night, but acted as middle-men for her and the men who carried out the killing.

Mylvaganam was alleged to be among the intruders, as was a fifth co-accused, Eric Carty, who will be tried separately after his lawyer fell ill.

York Regional Police Det. William Courtice, who leads the investigation, said it's rare to have perpetrators still on the loose after their accomplices are caught and put on trial.

Police have been working to bring the remaining culprit to justice, he said.

"Although there are persons of interest in this investigation, to date, there is a lack of evidence to bring the third person before the courts," he told The Canadian Press.

"Ideally, police would prefer all persons involved in homicides are brought before the courts simultaneously," he said.

"However, often persons remain unidentified until further evidence presents itself over time. Investigations continue in spite of the matter being before the courts with other accused."

It's unclear who shot Pan's mother and father, though all three intruders were allegedly armed with guns. Mylvaganam's lawyer told the court his client wasn't inside the house, nor did he shoot anyone.

The Crown said Pan started plotting her parents' murder after they forced her to choose between them and Wong, her high-school sweetheart turned drug dealer.

The ultimatum came after the Pans discovered much of what their daughter had told them over the past decade was a lie. She had never gone to university, much less graduated, and was living with Wong rather than with a friend, as she'd told them, court heard.

Pan moved back home and appeared to submit to her parents' wishes, all while planning the attack through text messages and calls on her "secret murder phone," prosecutors said. That phone's SIM card was never recovered, but the data stored on the device was presented as evidence during trial.

The killing cost her $10,000, to be paid out from her inheritance, the Crown said.

The attack initially appeared as a home invasion. Pan told police three men broke in, tied her up and ransacked the house before shooting her parents.

Courtice said investigators began to suspect her after noticing discrepancies in her accounts of what happened. Their suspicions were cemented after it became clear her father would survive, he said.

"Mr. Pan was interviewed almost a week after the murder and his version of what transpired inside the Pan residence varied dramatically from the versions told by his daughter," he said.

Then, he said, "statements were obtained from friends of Ms. Pan, some of which revealed she had previously hired persons to kill her parents."

Pan admitted on the stand she had previously tried to have her father murdered, but said she abandoned that plan after the man she hired took off with her money.

Then, distraught at finding her life in shambles, Pan arranged for someone to kill her, she testified. But she said she called off that plan when her situation began to improve.

She told the court the attack was a violent home invasion committed by men she couldn't recognize.

Pan, Crawford, Mylvaganam and Wong are due in court for a sentencing hearing on Jan. 23.

Carty is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 8.