Man charged with attacking estranged wife in La Cañada, murdering nephews is declared mentally incompetent, attorney says

Deyun Shi — who allegedly attacked his estranged wife in their La Cañada home Jan. 21, 2016, before murdering their two nephews in Arcadia and attempting to flee to China to avoid extradition — has been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial, his attorney said Friday.

Defense attorney Vicki Podberesky appeared on Shi's behalf in a Los Angeles County Superior courtroom in Pasadena Friday and informed judge Robin Miller Sloan her client would be unable to participate in criminal proceedings after being declared unfit to stand trial one week earlier by the county's Mental Health Court.

Shi, who is currently being detained in county jail, has been ordered to be transported to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, Podberesky told Sloan. That should occur sometime in February.

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In May, Shi pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and one count of corporeal injury on a spouse. His next medical review is scheduled for April 11. On Friday, Podberesky and Deputy District Atty. Carolina Lugo scheduled an April 18 appearance to reexamine the case in the wake of findings from that review.

"[The Mental Health Court] determined he is currently suffering from mental illness and is unable to stand trial," Podberesky said Friday after her court appearance, at which Shi was not present. "Until he becomes mentally competent, by virtue of being stabilized by medication, or whatever it takes, there's not much we can do in the court."

According to court documents obtained last year by the Los Angeles Times, Shi's wife, Yujing Lin, had filed a temporary restraining order against Shi and was seeking to divorce him. He had moved out of the family home in La Cañada Flintridge, but returned the night of Jan. 21, reportedly threatening Lin with a wood-splitting tool similar to an axe, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies told the Times.

When Lin's sister and brother-in-law were visiting her in the hospital, Shi went to their Arcadia home and allegedly killed his two teenage nephews, 16-year-old William Lin and Anthony Lin, 15, who both died of blunt-force trauma to their upper torsos, the Times reported.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 22, Shi booked a flight to China but was detained in Hong Kong by FBI agents and sheriff's detectives, who, after extradition proceedings there, returned with him to Los Angeles in April.

On Friday, Podberesky categorized her client as "significantly" mentally ill and surmised proceedings would not able to begin until "well into the year," at the earliest.

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Sara Cardine, sara.cardine@latimes.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine

Copyright © 2017, La Cañada Valley Sun

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