3 Chinese Teens Will Go To Prison For 'Lord Of The Flies' Attack On Classmate
Three Chinese teens will be going to prison as part of a plea deal for kidnapping and assaulting a San Gabriel Valley classmate.
Yiran "Camellia" Liu, who was 18 at the time of the March 30 attack, testified that the three defendants—Yunyao "Helen" Zhai, Yuhan "Coco" Yang and Xinlei "John" Zhang, who were also 18 at the time—were part of a group of teens who brutally beat, humiliated and tortured her. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that it allegedly stemmed from a dispute over a dinner bill and over a boy. Liu said the three teenage girls forced her to get on her knees and wipe cigarette butts and ice cream off the floor of a Rowland Heights ice cream shop. The mob mentality got worse when they then took Liu to Rowland Heights Park, where they removed her clothes, kicked and hit her, used a cigarette to burn her nipples, and chopped off her hair and demanded she eat it, according to the testimony.
The three defendants, now 19, pleaded no contest to charges of kidnapping and assault as part of a plea deal this week, according to the L.A. Times. Deputy Dist. Atty. Casey Jarvis, the prosecutor on the case, agreed to drop the original torture charge because the teens had no prior criminal record. Previously, Zhai and Yang's attorneys did say their clients participated in the attack, and Zhang's lawyer said Zhang was just a bystander. Jarvis said Zhai will be sentenced to 13 years in jail, Yang to 10 and Zhang to six.
Yang's attorney, Rayford Fountain, said, "It was too much of a risk to go to trial."
The defendants and the victim involved in the attack were "parachute kids," meaning that they had been sent to the United States by their parents to get an American education, while the parents stayed in China. The case drew a lot of concern about parachute kids not having very much parental supervision. In the summer when Judge Thomas C. Falls presided over the preliminary hearing, he compared the actions of the teens to the book Lord of the Flies. He felt that since parachute kids were away from their parents and had to live in another country, there was "no supervision, no one to turn to for assistance. So these things can get out of control."