Man Convicted for Murdering Wife in Church

A California resident with a record of domestic abuse has been found guilty of murdering his wife in a church on Palm Sunday. Wyn Leung, aged 47, attacked his wife, Jieyun Zhou, 37, with a knife, stabbing her over a dozen times before inflicting wounds on himself. He then returned to his wife to continue the assault, resulting in a total of 20 stab wounds.

On Thursday, Leung was convicted by a jury of his peers on charges of first-degree murder, domestic violence, and violation of a restraining order resulting in injury, as per a statement from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. The murder charge was accompanied by a special circumstances allegation, a feature of California law akin to a sentencing enhancement, indicating that he used a weapon during the crime. The jury also supported this allegation.

The incident took place shortly after 1 p.m. inside the Chinese Christian Church in the Ingleside Heights neighborhood of San Francisco on March 25, 2018. Most of the congregation had left after the service, and Zhou was cleaning up. Leung, known for his abusive behavior, arrived at the church, breaching a restraining order issued in favor of his wife. He requested to see the pastor from a 79-year-old assistant. Zhou expressed her unwillingness to interact with her husband and informed church staff that she needed to leave the building, according to court documents.

Leung found his wife in the kitchen. Another employee heard screams and rushed in to find Leung holding a knife in one hand and his wife by the neck with the other. He repeatedly stabbed Zhou in the chest and back before stabbing himself. After the attack, Leung and Zhou fell to the ground. Leung then got up and crawled to Zhou to continue the assault, according to San Francisco County Assistant District Attorney Julia Cervantes.

An employee who witnessed the scene fled the kitchen to call 911. The pastor entered the kitchen to find Zhou lying face down on the floor, with her husband sitting next to her, still holding the knife. Leung reportedly told the pastor, “If I’m going to jail, I might as well die.”

Police arrived around 2:10 p.m. to find Leung still in the kitchen, alive, and holding what they described as a “survival looking knife.” Leung allegedly pointed the knife at the officers, who responded by firing a beanbag round at him. He then lost color, sat down, and dropped the knife. Despite this, Leung resisted arrest, managing to remove a body-worn camera from one of the officers. He was eventually subdued and taken into custody after police used pepper spray and batons.

Zhou was given first aid and rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, but she succumbed to her injuries an hour later. Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Zhou had filed for divorce months before the incident. The mother of two had been granted preliminary custody of their children, and a family court counselor had recommended she receive full physical and legal custody. A family court hearing had been scheduled for March 28, 2018.

Leung had previously been charged twice with domestic violence involving his wife in San Mateo County. One case, filed in 2013, was dismissed. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins expressed gratitude to the jury for their service in the case and for delivering justice to the victim’s family and friends.