An immigrant father from Queens has made news by turning down a plea offer that would have allowed his immediate release from jail, after more than four years on Riker’s Island waiting for trial. Li Hangbin says his daughter Annie, 70 days old when she died in 2008, seemed to choke on a bottle and quit breathing in his arms. The proseuction says he shook and slammed the little girl to death.
The plea agreement would have required Li Hangbin to plead guilty to reckless endangerment. Rejecting the plea means he will be tried for second-degree murder instead.
Remarkably, the agreement would also have meant that second-degree manslaughter charges would be dropped against Annie’s mother, Li Ying.
According to the report in yesterday’s New York Times, Annie’s mother supports his decision. The good news in yesterday’s report is that Li Ying is now out on bail, as reported in March. The couple’s other daughter, born after her mother was imprisoned in 2008, remains in the custody of the couple’s friend and former landlady.
As described in last January’s New York Time coverage of the case, the Lis have enjoyed the support of their community throughout their ordeal; supporters report that genetic tests have actually exonerated the family.
You can follow the unfolding story at this web site: http://ny121asil.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/please-help-this-couple-genetic-conditions-vs-shaken-baby-syndrome/