Man found not guilty in murder trial shoots attorney in civil case

Criminal Justice

Slain Attorney Didn’t Back Down from Opposing Party’s Alleged Threats

July 7, 2008

Attorney Xia Zhao was shot to death last week outside her San Jose, Calif., law office as she was getting out of her car to start her work day, reports the Mercury News.

Jason Cai, 50, her suspected killer, was arraigned Thursday on murder charges. Zhao was one of several lawyers representing the family of Cai’s former wife, who was murdered in 2003, in a wrongful death case against him, as discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post. Cai was acquitted of her murder by a jury in 2006.

In court papers filed when she sought a restraining order against Cai, less than two weeks before her murder, Zhao said he was harassing and threatening to harm her, the Mercury News reported in an earlier article.

But Zhao, while fearful that Cai might kidnap her father or son, “never thought Cai would use a gun,” said her husband, Kevin Schwarckopf.

He tells the newspaper he told his wife before her murder that she should walk away, if she was “really nervous” about Cai. But she told him she didn’t have a major role in the wrongful death claim, and added ” ‘If I walked away every time somebody threatened me, what kind of business would I have?’ ”

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Filed under battered women, domestic violence

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