NEW HAVEN: A mentally ill doctor who shot a Yale University physician to death and narrowly missed wounding the victim’s pregnant wife was sentenced to 32 years in prison, ending a seven-year legal drama over the gunman’s sanity that included forcibly medicating him so he could be competent to stand trial.
Lishan Wang, 51, a Chinese citizen from Beijing, agreed to the sentence in June when he pleaded no contest to manslaughter, attempted assault and gun crimes.
Authorities said Wang opened fire at Dr. Vajindeer Toor and his wife, Parneeta Sidhu, outside the couple’s home in Branford in 2010, killing Toor but missing Sidhu. Police said Wang was upset about a workplace dispute with Toor two years earlier at a New York City hospital where they both worked at the time.
Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford in New Haven handed down the punishment to Wang, calling him a “revengeful and disturbed person” and saying the shooting was a “senseless, cowardly act.”
Wang said that his medical career was destroyed because he was fired – unfairly – from the hospital and that Toor was to blame for the shooting.
After the hearing, Sidhu said the prison sentence should have been longer.
“My loss cannot be replaced,” she said. “I have no ill feelings toward anybody else. You have to be pretty disturbed to do something like this.”
Wang has been under a judge’s order to be forcibly medicated against his will to treat his mental illness so he could remain competent to stand trial – an issue that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wang’s lawyers said an insanity defense was likely if the case had gone to trial. They have said that Wang has delusional disorder and paranoia, though he had insisted that he was competent and didn’t need medication.
Toor was a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Medicine who was working with the infectious-disease section of Yale-New Haven Hospital. In 2008, he worked at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in New York City, where he and other doctors had confrontations with Wang that led to Wang’s firing, authorities said.
Wang was ruled incompetent to stand trial in 2015. Judge Thomas O’Keefe Jr. ordered that Wang be medicated against his will to see if he could become competent to stand trial.
Wang’s public defenders appealed the forced-medication order, saying it violated his constitutional rights to a fair trial and mental and physical integrity. But the state Supreme Court upheld the ruling, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.