I￼t was an ordinary night in the Pan family home.
Jennifer’s mum, Bich Ha, 53, was watching TV in the lounge room. Upstairs, her father, Huei Hann, 57, was dozing on the bed. Her 21-year-old brother, Felix, was away at university. Suddenly, three men burst in, each armed with a gun. Hann was marched down stairs and the house was scoured for cash. Then the trembling couple were ordered to their basement. As Bich desperately pleaded for her daughter’s life to be spared, they were both shot multiple times. Once the men had fled, Jennifer called police in hysterics. ‘Help me, please, I need help,’ she cried. She explained she’d managed to free herself after the gunmen had tied her hands. Incredibly, her blood-soaked father crawled from the basement, having survived a shot to the face. But her mother had been killed instantly.
The horrific murder sent shockwaves across the country. The victims were kind, hardworking people, who were relaxing at home on a quiet Monday night. Jennifer, 24, was their ‘golden child’ – a straight-A student who’d won a scholarship to university. She was also a figure skater, practised martial arts and had played the piano since the age of four. Her accomplishments made her parents brim with pride. Their sacrifices – arriving in a new country as refugees from Vietnam and labouring to put their two children through school – were all worthwhile.
But recently they had discovered a more sinister reality. Buckling under the pressure, Jennifer had actually failed high school and never even attended university, let alone graduated. Over the years she’d spun a web of lies. Throughout school, she’d faked report cards, changing her respectable B marks to the A grades expected of her. After failing one particular class, she wasn’t even accepted into university. Desperate to please her parents, she’d travelled into the city every day. Instead of being in class, she’d hung out in public libraries. Suspecting something, her parents trailed their daughter and learnt the truth. It also came to light that Jennifer had been dating Daniel Wong for years – something her parents had forbidden. For the next 18 months it was like she was under house arrest, with her every move monitored. As her anger festered, she began to wonder what life would be like without her parents. As well as freedom, there was a $500,000 inheritance, which could be hers… But was this golden child really capable of a cold-blooded killing?
After three days in an induced coma, Hann woke up. Telling the police what he remembered, he said his daughter had spoken softly to one of the men ‘like a friend’. Just like that, Jennifer went from innocent victim to chief suspect. Hauled to the police station, she was interrogated by Detective Bill Goetz, who used a tactic called the Reid Technique. Going through a series of stages, he gained her trust, empathised with her situation and then accused her of plotting the gruesome revenge attack. ‘You’re involved in this. I know that,’ Goetz said, around three hours in. ‘There’s no question about it. The only question right now is: Are you going to keep making mistakes?’ At that, Jennifer cracked. ‘What happens to me?’ she sobbed. Bingo!
After arresting her on the spot, police then trawled thousands of text messages to snare four others – her ex-boyfriend Daniel Wong, Lenford Crawford, David Mylvaganam and Eric Carty. All five were charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The court heard Wong introduced Jennifer to Crawford and she arranged to pay $10,000 for a fake home invasion, where her parents would be killed.
On November 8, 2010, Crawford texted Pan, After work OK will be game time. That night, she unlocked the front door. Then three of them stormed the Pan home. To this day, it remains unclear who pulled the trigger. But in December 2014, Pan, Mylvaganam, Crawford, and Wong were found guilty. Pan sobbed as they were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. Justice Michelle Fuerst referred to Jennifer’s plot as the ‘epitome of evil.’ After striking a deal, Carty pleaded guilty to conspiring to kill – but not entering the house. He got 18 years. Hann wasn’t in court to see his daughter locked up, but he did write a statement, which was read aloud.
‘When I lost my wife, I lost my daughter at the same time,’ it said. ‘I don’t feel like I have a family anymore… I feel like I am dead, too.’ One of the family’s requests to the court was that Jennifer not be allowed to contact them. For the next two decades, she is legally barred from saying one word to her father and brother. Not even to apologise.
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