Man poisons colleague, tries to kill her, gets nothing more than probation, due to left-wing DA’s office

Man poisons colleague, tries to kill her, gets nothing more than probation, due to left-wing DA’s office
Pamela Price

A man who attempted to murder a colleague by poisoning her — probably leaving her with permanent health problems and shrinking her life span — spent only ten days in jail, despite his crimes being caught on camera. It would have been easy to send him to prison for many years, but he’s getting off the hook with nothing more than probation. It’s part of the decarceration policies promoted by the left-wing district attorney of Alameda County, Pamela Price. The victim is unable to work full-time, suffered a heart attack, and continues to experience pain in the liver area. She suffered at least $460,000 in damage, but won’t be compensated more than $10,000 (perhaps far less) in the deal between the attempted murderer and the left-wing district attorney.

Law Professor Jonathan Turley is dismayed by the deal:

I have been a criminal defense attorney for my entire career, but there is a case out of Berkeley, California that is a real head scratcher. David Xu was the chief metallurgist for a company called Berkeley Engineering and Research (BEAR) and was caught on tape trying to poison a colleague. His actions are blamed for not only causing harm to Rong Yuan, but her parents. After spending only 10 days in jail, Alameda County prosecutors and a judge signed off on a probation deal in the case.

Xu was arrested back in 2019 after Yuan became suspicious that her illness (which she thought might be cancer) might be related to a water bottle that she used at work. When her parents used the bottle to cook, they also became ill. She set up a spy camera at work and caught David Xu tampering with the water bottle. It was tested and found to contain “extraordinarily high levels of cadmium, a poisonous heavy metal.”

That seems a pretty strong case for two counts of poisoning and an attempted murder prosecution.

Yet, the prosecutors dropped the attempted murder charge and accepted a plea on the two poisoning counts. Then a probation officer recommended no jail time. The officer wrote that:

“The defendant is highly educated and living at home with his wife and children. He is employed and earning a stable income. Although this matter represents the first and only offense, it was serious in nature and could have resulted in death or serious illness of the victims…. It is the hopes of this deputy that the defendant will take advantage of this second chance and can satisfactorily complete this probation.”

Even on the two poisoning counts, one would expect some jail time. This man hurt three people and could have killed a colleague.

Yet, Alameda County DA Pamela Price signed off on letting Xu spend less than two weeks in jail for his crimes.

It is not clear what it takes to get actual jail time in Alameda County under Price. The San Francisco Chronicle was unable to get sentencing data from her office and Price is the subject of a recall campaign over her lax enforcement record.

The victim has suffered terrible harm from the poisoning, according to the Berkeley Scanner:

A man who was charged with trying to kill a colleague at a Berkeley engineering firm by putting a toxic metal in her water has been placed on probation after being convicted of poisoning, court records show…..In the early days of the case, he served 10 days in jail, according to court records. He has otherwise been out of custody….

In a written statement, the victim said she initially thought she had “a late-stage cancer and could die at any time” after being poisoned for more than a year.

“My health deteriorated due to poisoning from 2017 to 2019 and has worsened since,” she wrote in October 2023. “I frequently experience lightheadedness, pain in the liver area, and had a heart attack this January.”…

Attorneys are still trying to come to an agreement regarding restitution, which has been capped at $10,000, according to Xu’s defense attorney, Julia Jayne….the victim said she can only work half-time due to her ongoing health issues. She also alleged financial losses of more than $460,000…

Longtime exposure to lower levels of cadmium [than the victim suffered] can cause kidney damage and weaken bones.

Voters are seeking to recall the left-wing prosecutor who signed off on this soft-on-crime deal: Pamela Price, the district attorney of Alameda County. The recall campaign began after she allowed a black man who deliberately set Asian students on fire to be released without doing any prison time, and sought to allow serial killers to avoid spending life in prison, by refusing to seek life without parole.

Voters formed a political committee, “Save Alameda For Everyone (Safe): Recall DA Price,” to try to remove Alameda County district attorney Pamela Price from office, as they disclosed in a recent public filing. Price is one of many left-wing District Attorneys who have received funding from billionaire donor George Soros in his effort to elect left-wing candidates, according to the Capital Research Center.

The Soros-funded California Justice and Public Safety PAC gave a total of $699,647 to Price’s DA campaign in 2018, according to the Capital Research Center. Soros himself contributed $6.1 million to the fund to help elect left-wing candidates.

Price has been criticized for her soft-on-crime approach, receiving backlash after she refused to seek longer sentences for two defendants who shot and killed children.

Oakland, the heart of Alameda County, has had many small businesses suffer so much from robberies that they now refuse to accept cash in response to a surge in robberies, having run out of other options for dealing with rising crime. Many of these businesses are in Oakland’s “Police Area 2,” which has suffered 137 commercial burglaries for the year as of June 14. That is nearly three times the 52 burglaries that occurred in 2021.

The 92-year-old George Soros designated the more radical of his sons, Alexander Soros, to take control of his $25 billion left-wing philanthropic empire, with the son claiming in an interview that he will be even “more political” with the family fortune than his father.

Soft-on-crime policies increase the crime rate by undermining deterrence and leaving criminals free to kill people. Crime in California was reduced in the past by Proposition 8, which mandated longer sentences for repeat offenders who kill, rape, and rob others. A National Bureau of Economic Research study found those longer sentences deterred many crimes from being committed. As it observed, three years after Proposition 8 was adopted, crimes punished with enhanced sentences had “fallen roughly 20-40 percent compared to” crimes not covered by enhanced sentences. Similarly, a 2008 Santa Clara University study found that longer sentences for three-time offenders led to “significantly faster rates of decline in robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft,” even after controlling for pre-existing crime trends and economic, demographic, and policy factors. And a study of the London riots found that more severe sentences reduce subsequent crime. (See Brian Bell, Laura Jaitman & Stephen Machin (2014) “Crime deterrence: Evidence from the London 2011 riots,” The Economic Journal 124(576): 480–506).

Studies of countries with short prison sentences have found that letting criminals out early increases the crime rate, making longer prison sentences a good investment. See, e.g., Barbarino & Mastrobuoni, The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 6(1): 1-37 (2014).

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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