Second Trial Ordered in Professor’s Death
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) _ A Vietnamese student was ordered Monday to stand trial a second time for the shooting death of his physics professor.
Jury selection will begin Wednesday for Minh Van Lam, 21, charged with slaying Edward Cooperman, 48, a professor at California State University, Fullerton.
A mistrial was declared Feb. 19 after jurors voted to acquit Lam of first- degree murder, but declared they were deadlocked on second-degree murder or manslaughter charges.
Superior Court Judge Richard Beacom acquitted Lam of first-degree charges, but ordered him to stand trial on the lesser charges.
Presiding Judge Everett Dickey on Monday rejected a request from Lam’s attorney that Beacom be removed from the case, and ordered the case to go to trial Wednesday.
Beacom had criticized Lam’s attorney, Alan May, for making what the judge called misleading and unnecessary comments to the jury during Lam’s trial. May said Beacom should be removed from the trial because of the comments, which were delivered from the bench.
Cooperman, one of the first Americans to visit Hanoi after the Vietnam War, was shot to death Oct. 13 in his sixth-floor office on campus.
Although Lam’s lawyer says the young man is a staunch anti-communist, the student has sworn the shooting was accidental, resulting from horseplay with the professor.
Police ruled out political motives in the death.