Uncle who bludgeoned two nephews to death found guilty of murder

A man is restrained by a person in uniform.
Double-murder suspect Shi Deyun, 44, is shown in 2016 being sent to a hospital in Hong Kong after fleeing the U.S.
(David Wong / South China Morning Post )

A San Gabriel Valley man was found guilty of murder by an Alhambra court Wednesday of bludgeoning his two nephews to death during an overnight rampage that began when he attacked and hospitalized his wife in 2016.

Deyun Shi, 52, was convicted on two counts of murder with a special circumstance for using a deadly weapon in the deaths of 15-year-old Anthony Lin and 16-year-old William Lin. He also was found guilty of one felony count of injuring his then-spouse, Yujin “Amy” Lin.

But in a bizarre twist, relatives allege that Shi’s wife may have been instigating her husband to act out violently for her own financial benefit.


Meanwhile, Shi and his legal team were back in court Thursday trying to establish an insanity defense.

A call to Shi’s defense team was not immediately returned.

The facts and timeline of the events that took place on Jan. 21, 2016, and into the early hours of the following morning were not in dispute.

Shi had learned that Lin was filing for divorce that afternoon, according to court documents.

A man charged with killing his two teenage nephews in their Arcadia home returned to Los Angeles on Friday after being extradited from Hong Kong.

April 15, 2016

The wealthy importer and businessman left a Pasadena courthouse where terms of a restraining order made by his mother-in-law against him were being discussed. A short time later, he initiated wire transfers totaling slightly less than $450,000 to people in his Chinese hometown.

Later that night, Shi assaulted his wife at the family home in La Cañada Flintridge.

Shi hit her with a metal wood-splitting tool while she sat next to their 8-year-old son, fracturing her nose and slashing her face.

Shi’s teenage son eventually wrested the weapon out of his father’s hand shortly before midnight.


There is no dispute Deyun Shi bludgeoned his teenage relatives in 2016, but his attorneys argue during his trial that he was suffering from mental illness.

March 1, 2024

As Shi left the home, Lin called her brother, David W. Lin, and sister-in-law Vicki Huang, according to court documents. David Lin and Huang met Lin at the hospital and left their two sons home alone.

Shi then drove to the Arcadia home of his brother- and sister-in-law. There, he savagely beat a sleeping Anthony Lin to death with a 2-foot-long pair of bolt cutters, prosecutors alleged. William Lin, 16, was awake and tried to fend off Shi before he was beaten to death with a lead pipe, allege prosecutors.

“Detectives found the bloody bolt cutters wrapped in a towel in [Shi’s] car, with DNA from both Anthony and William on it,” Deputy Dist. Atty. MacKenzie Teymouri said in court last month. “He got a parking ticket while he was inside killing the children.”

Shi’s lawyers have contended that their client was suffering from a schizoaffective disorder and post traumatic stress brought on by the divorce paperwork.

“This is not about whether our client committed those acts — he did,” defense attorney Vicki Podberesky told jurors Feb. 29. “This case is about mental health.”

After the slayings, Shi put together a travel bag that included six foreign currencies and IDs from three countries. He caught a Cathay Pacific Airways flight to Hong Kong and paid for a seat upgrade with cash.


He was arrested by Hong Kong police and extradited back to California only after prosecutors assured Chinese officials that they would not seek the death penalty.

“Mr. Shi was acting under an active mental illness,” Podberesky said in court. “He did not have the requisite state of mind to have committed the murders as charged in this case.”

The prosecution spent a good portion of the case documenting Shi’s violent and angry outbursts against his wife that escalated in 2015, according to court testimony from his now former wife.

In December 2015, Shi nearly strangled Lin to death in early December, according to testimony. That month, he also attempted to suffocate her with a pillow before she fought back.

On Dec. 30, Shi and David Lin fought when Shi drove to the house of Lin’s mother and forcibly tried to grab his wife and take her home.

Two people in the Tyler Avenue home escaped with minor injuries, but three others died, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

Jan. 2, 2024

David Lin called 911, but later declined to press charges.

David Lin, however, encouraged his sister and mother to file a restraining order against Shi, according to court documents.


Phone records presented in court showed that Shi made several internet searches regarding California divorce law, Chinese extradition policies and the circumstance in which killers received light jail sentences.

The prosecution believes Shi murdered David Lin’s and Huang’s sons out of revenge.

In a twist, the couple filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Shi and Yujin Lin.

David Lin and Huang said in court documents that they believed Yujin Lin didn’t want to split her family’s assets with Shi upon divorce.

They allege in the lawsuit that Yujin Lin concocted a plan to so enrage her husband that he would act violently and eventually be incarcerated. With her husband in prison, the lawsuit claims, Yujin Lin could control the marital properties in the United States and China.

The end result of the plan, the lawsuit alleges, was the death of the two sons.

The wrongful death trial was placed on hold for the criminal case to be completed and is expected to resume April 22.