Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness says she’s confident a former University of Iowa student, who admitted killing his girlfriend, will spend most — if not the rest — of his life in prison.
Twenty-four-year-old Xiangnan Li was sentenced this week in his home country of China to life in prison for the murder of 20-year-old Tong Shoa. A CNN report says, under Chinese law, Li’s imprisonment could be commuted to as little as 13 years. Lyness told KCRG-TV she doesn’t believe that’ll happen.
“I would trust that he is going to be in for sometime. I think the fact that they are saying life imprisonment, I do think that has some weight,” Lyness said. But, Lyness admits Li could eventually go free. “I’m not sure what their proceedings are, how they deal with parole, who makes that determination, things like that, but at least at this point we’re looking at life imprisonment,” Lyness told KCRG.
In March, Li appeared in court in China and admitted to strangling Shao, his then-girlfriend, in Iowa City and fleeing to China. Shao, an Iowa State University student, was also from China. Police found her body in September 2014 stuffed in a suitcase in the trunk of Li’s car in Iowa City.