Palo Alto murder suspect walks out of jail after plea bargain

Jingyan Jin's police booking photo

Daily Post Staff Writer

A Palo Alto woman, who has been in jail for five years awaiting trial for stabbing her sister-in-law to death, has accepted a plea bargain and been freed from custody.

Jingyan Jin, 46, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter, which has a maximum four-year sentence, and was given credit for time served. Since she’s served five years already, she was eligible for immediate release on Wednesday (Sept. 22).

Jin was facing a murder charge in the July 7, 2016 death of Jenny Shi, 65, whose body was found in Shi’s home on the 300 block of Creekside Drive in south Palo Alto.

The plea deal comes as jury selection was wrapping up for a potential trial in Santa Clara County Superior Court before Judge Elizabeth Peterson in San Jose.

Prosecutors claimed that Jin thought Shi had hid a large amount of money in anticipation of Jin’s divorce from Shi’s brother, James. The idea was that Jin felt she was entitled to some of the money Shi had allegedly concealed.

Jin cut her way into Shi’s home through the window screen and stabbed her 41 times, police said. Shi was found in a pool of blood in her bed.

Police said that Jin’s DNA was found on the window, and she had previously fought with Shi and threatened her husband. She was arrested on Oct. 6, 2016, and has been in jail since then.

“She is innocent, and she pled to get out of jail,” said Rebecca Kahan, Jin’s public defender.

Evidence couldn’t be used at trial

The prosecution was relying on evidence from cellphones owned by Shi and Jin, using information from cell towers to prove the crime. But the evidence couldn’t be used because some cell towers in the area weren’t looked at, prosecutor Carlos Vega said.

Rather than re-examining the evidence, and potentially dismissing and re-filing a case that was always based on circumstantial evidence, Vega decided to make a deal.

He couldn’t say if he was satisfied with the outcome.

“We constantly reassess and have to make decisions based on new revelations,” he said.


  1. Wow, stabbed someone 41 times and now she’s out walking among us. These type of people should be locked up in a mental facility for rest of their life. Sickening.

  2. Wow!I am floored! She wasn’t innocent, she admitted that she did it, and reason why she did it! Did she murder in vain? Was there actually money as she had perceived? Her DNA places her at the scene of the crime. Yet she walks free. Well I guess karma will have the last say.

    • Circumstantial evidence, meaning the prosecution had no real evidence but endlessly prolonged the case and she wasn’t given bail or anything so just stuck in limbo, she served 5 years and probably was told she would be there another 5 years

  3. The 6th amendment to the Constitution says, in part :”In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,”
    The prosecutors violated that right. Why should it take 5 years to get to trial?

  4. i don’t understand the commenters upset about her walking. The lady would have been given 4 year sentence if found guilty. She served 5. What the hell? What are you crying about? Murderer? Is she the only one walking free?

  5. Can’t believe it took 5 years to go to jury trial with weak evidence, the prosecutor even wanted to re-examine the evidences and re-filling, 5 years is not enough? how much public resources have been spent on this case?

  6. stabbed 41 times….. What does that take in time?
    1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes?
    So she stabbed a human to death, for 3 minutes and essentially walks.
    The case must have been very weak to convict.

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