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Former visiting grad student sentenced to 46 years for murder

Yongfei Ci admitted to stabbing his ex-girlfriend at her home

Charged with the brutal murder of his ex-girlfriend last September, Yongfei Ci — at the time of the crime a visiting graduate student at Brown’s Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics — was sentenced to 46 years behind bars last week, the News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois, reported.

The sentence is four years fewer than the length recommended by Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Ziegler. But Ci will serve the full 46 years per the terms of his plea bargain, according to the Illinois Circuit Court’s website.

Ci, a PhD candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, drove from Providence to Urbana, Illinois, in late September bearing knives and a pellet gun he had purchased over the course of several days. He could not come to terms with the fact that his ex-girlfriend, Mengchen Huang, had ended their relationship and found a new boyfriend, according to testimony reported by the News-Gazette.

Ci admitted he forced his way into Huang’s Urbana apartment and stabbed her to death while leaving her roommate tied up and locked in a bathroom.

Ci addressed the judge during his sentencing hearing, asking her to contextualize his offense and “to see me not through this single act but my life prior to this offense,” the News-Gazette reported.

Ziegler countered Ci’s argument, calling the defendant “dangerous” and describing how Ci had planned at least one week in advance to torture and murder Huang, the News-Gazette reported.

After Ci serves his time in prison, he will face deportation to China, his home country, the News-Gazette reported.


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