Her Parents Pushed Her Hard To Excel In Everything - And The Pressure Turned Her Deadly

Jennifer Pan was an accomplished figure skater, budding concert pianist, and a successful pharmacist-in-training. At least, that's what her parents thought of her before she had her mother murdered and her father shot on November 8, 2010. Why did Jennifer Pan want her parents killed? There are many people who had their parents murdered, but Jennifer's case is unique.

Jennifer Pan attempted to have her parents, Huei Hann Pan and Bich Ha, murdered and was successful in killing her mother. Her father miraculously survived and, in the end, his testimony proved Pan's guilt in the crime. Throughout her interrogation and trial, it became apparent that her personal self-doubts had imploded under the pressure of her parents' exceedingly high expectations of her. According to Pan's testimony, her hardworking, immigrant "tiger" parents held her to impossibly high standards, which ultimately caused her to retaliate. An investigation into Pan's life revealed that she had spent years pathologically lying and going to great lengths to cover up her real-life activities while pretending to be someone else entirely.

  • She Had A Break-In Staged To Cover Up The Murders

    She Had A Break-In Staged To Cover Up The Murders
    Video: YouTube

    With the help of her secret drug-dealing boyfriend, David Wong, Pan conspired with two additional friends to fake a robbery-gone-wrong. The plan was to break into Pan's parents' home, take what they could, tie Jennifer and her parents up, and murder her parents during the fake robbery. Jennifer would then be free of them and have the perfect alibi.

    On the night of the planned murders, everything appeared to go according to plan. The guys broke in, demanded cash, which Jennifer gave them, shot Pan's parents, and then fled. Jennifer called the cops from a cell phone she'd placed in the waistband of her pants.

    Her mother, Bich (pronounced "Bick"), died of two gunshots to the back and one to the head. However, her father, Hann, miraculously survived a bullet in the head as well as one to his shoulder. He spent several days in a medically induced coma but ultimately survived.

    Immediately, there were various red flags that alerted the police that something wasn't right; Jennifer was the one who called 911 to get the police to come, but she was also supposedly tied up to the banister on the second floor. 

  • Pan Was Driven To Murder By Her Strict 'Tiger Parents'

    Pan Was Driven To Murder By Her Strict 'Tiger Parents'
    Video: YouTube

    In 2011, Yale law professor Amy Chua published a book entitled Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. In the book, she noted that tiger parents, as she called them, were rooted in traditional Chinese parental culture - they're incredibly strict, focus solely on academic success, and have high expectations for their children.

    Jennifer Pan’s parents - her father Hann, especially - were the definition of tiger parents. Jennifer had almost no social life; her time was packed instead with music and sports lessons as well as an overabundance of time set aside only for study. She was barred from parties and social gatherings, couldn’t have a boyfriend, and was prevented from doing anything that Hann perceived as counterproductive to her success. Pan’s friends saw her parents as extreme with their protectiveness and controlling of her life. Pan felt she was imprisoned in her own home.

  • Her Web Of Lies Entangled Her

    Because Pan failed her initial cover up and threw suspicion on the incident, she spent the next several weeks after her mother's murder creating even more complicated stories in order to dodge the police investigation. At first, Pan tried to explain away the odd fact that the thieves hadn't taken the keys to the family's cars when they broke in. And why did they shoot only two of three witnesses? Police were suspicious. As Pan's father lay first in a coma and then recovery at a local hospital, authorities decided to monitor Pan's activities.

    On November 22, almost two weeks after the murder, the detective on the case brought Pan in for more questioning. Desperate, she tried to change her story and claimed that the incident had actually been a plan to commit suicide since she couldn't carry it out herself.

    But, instead of killing her, the hired hands killed her parents instead. Pan was arrested immediately. Subsequent questioning and investigation led to Pan's boyfriend, Wong, and his three accomplices. All five were charged with the crime. 

  • It Wasn’t Her First Assassination Attempt

    It Wasn’t Her First Assassination Attempt
    Video: YouTube

    Incredibly, the fateful shooting that happened in the Pan household in November 2010 wasn't the first time Jennifer toyed with the idea of having her parents killed. Around the summer of 2010, Pan met with Ricardo Duncan for bubble tea, and together, they conspired to kill her father

    She claimed to have paid Duncan $1,500 to perform the job. However, it wasn't long before Duncan stopped answering her calls altogether, and she eventually realized that Duncan had taken her money and wasn't going to kill her father. 

  • Her Web Of Lies Came Crashing Down After Detectives Used The Reid Technique

    After her parents became suspicious of her supposed internship, they followed her into the hospital where they ultimately discovered the lie. They brought her back home and confronted her, where she confessed that she never even graduated high school. Understandably furious, her parents grounded her and took away all of her freedoms with the promise that she’d complete her schooling.

    Pan was an avid liar by the time she reached the age of 24, but her skills in deception were no match for real detective work. Even during most of her grueling 10-hour interrogation, Pan maintained her innocence and refused to acknowledge that she knew the killers. Her undoing came from seasoned Detective William Goetz, who used the controversial Reid Technique to extract a confession from Pan. 

    He used a mixture of sympathy, falsehoods, and preemptively accusatory questions to dig at the truth, one question at a time. He pressed her on what she actually knew over and over again, and it worked. She eventually caved to his technique and revealed everything. After she broke, the first thing she said was, “What happens to me?

  • Her Father Told The Truth About His Daughter, And She Was Sentenced To Life In Prison

    Due to the testimony of her heartbroken father, Hann Pan, Jennifer Pan could not escape what she had done. He noted the difference between how the armed robbers were treating him and his wife versus how they treated Jennifer Pan - that there wasn't animosity between them, and that she was never tied up as she claimed.

    "He talked to my daughter. I could not hear what was being said but they were speaking softly."

    Despite the strict, repressive rules placed on her by her parents, the courts still found Pan and all of her co-conspirators guilty of first-degree murder as well as for the attempted murder of Hann Pan, her father. All five suspects were given two concurrent life sentences, with eligibility for parole after serving 25 years. Pan would be 49 before she could request parole. The judge in the case pushed for the maximum punishment for the attempted murder, citing that it was simple luck that kept Hann Pan alive.