News

Cleaver attacker gets seven-year sentence

Former Palo Alto restaurant busboy assaulted coworker during an argument

A busboy who attacked a chef with a meat cleaver in the kitchen of a Palo Alto restaurant in 2009 was sentenced to seven years in state prison on Wednesday (Sept. 7), Supervising Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker said.

Chunren Chen, 64, faced up to 12 years in prison under a plea deal he made in April.

He was convicted of attempted murder for the May 27, 2009, attack on 55-year-old Zezhong Yang. The men had a heated argument at the Jade Palace restaurant at 151 California Ave., according to police.

Chen originally faced a possible term of 10 years to life in prison for attempted murder, aggravated mayhem and assault with a deadly weapon. He claimed the attack was in self-defense when he struck Yang several times.

Yang sustained a nearly 5-inch gash to his face and a cut to his carotid artery. He had lacerations to his back, shoulder, thumb and neck and a fractured wrist, police reported.

Under the plea deal, Chen agreed to be deported to China after his release from prison. He will serve four years of his sentence, given the time he has already spent behind bars, Baker said.

Chen had been tortured and "re-educated" in China decades ago, according to court notes. He later had a mental breakdown and was hospitalized. A psychotherapist who examined him in December 2009 concluded that Chen likely has post-traumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit hyperactive disorder and anxiety disorders, according to the court.

Chen escaped from China and went to Spain and Bolivia prior to coming to the United States, according to court documents. He immigrated without documentation to California in about 1996 and worked at both Jade Palace and Ten Fu, a Menlo Park restaurant.

He was arrested in 1997 in Alameda County for assault with a deadly weapon, in what was described as a "similar incident" at another restaurant, the according to court notes. The case was not prosecuted, police said.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Dad
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 8, 2011 at 10:44 am

I remember this from 2 years ago. The Palo Alto police had blocked off some streets while looking for the suspect. I think there was even an emergency broadcast message delivered via phone calls.


Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm


Quote

" He was arrested in 1997 in Alameda County for assault with a deadly weapon, in what was described as a "similar incident" at another restaurant, the according to court notes.

The case was not prosecuted, police said."

Why was the prior case of attempted murder not prosecuted?


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