March 8, 1998 in City

Convicted Murderer’s Plea For Reduced Sentence Rejected

From Staff And Wire Reports

A former University of Idaho student’s slayings of a married couple were “hideous and gruesome beyond belief,” the state Court of Appeals said in denying Wenkai Li’s appeal for a sentence reduction.

Li pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder and was sentenced in 1996 to life in prison with no possibility of parole for at least 65 years for the stabbing deaths of a fellow Chinese graduate student and his wife.

Li, who was not related to the victims, was sentenced to a minimum 25 years for killing Ning Li, who was stabbed 10 times, and to a minimum 40 years for stabbing his wife, Xia Ge, 28 times. The sentences were to be served consecutively, and the second cannot begin until Li is paroled from the first.

He appealed, asserting the terms are excessive.

Wenkai Li alleged that Ning Li made disparaging remarks about his girlfriend and slapped him. He pulled out a knife and killed the couple. Li took their credit cards, put the bodies in sleeping bags and drove their car to near Rawlins, Wyo., where he dropped them off.

Wenkai Li was arrested shortly after that.

“The offenses committed by Wenkai Li were hideous and gruesome beyond belief,” the appellate court wrote.

“The sentencing court had every right to emphasize the brutality and grisliness of the crimes, together with Li’s planning and profit motives, credibility gap and apparent lack of deep remorse, in fashioning these sentences.”

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