TAMPA — Two days after a 12-year-old boy testified about the beating death of his mother, a Hillsborough jury found his father guilty of her murder.
It took 21/2 hours Thursday for a six-member jury to find Chunping Lin, 46, guilty of second-degree murder and battery.
Lin hung his head as a Mandarin interpreter told him the verdict; he did not react.
Juror John Lombardo, 39, said he hopes the death of 43-year-old Lixin Tian lays bare the consequences of domestic violence. "Today," he said, "justice has been done for abused women."
Tian's son was 10 on May 25, 2011, when he witnessed his father pound her in the head with his fists, screaming of missing money.
To stop him, the boy hit him with his Nerf gun, but the toy broke. He put Lin in a headlock, but his father was too strong. The boy threw a glass of water that shattered, gashing his finger.
He called 911 in a panic.
As part of their deliberation, jurors listened to the recording, hearing the screams and cries that filled the Lutz home.
Tian did not immediately die. She slipped into a coma later that day and remained unresponsive into mid July, when an appointed guardian removed her from life support.
The defense argued that the decision to end Tian's life was not made by Lin, that she could have remained alive today, albeit in a persistent vegetative state.
"Whether it was criminal will be for you to decide," Assistant Public Defender Ken Littman told the jury.
"But it's not murder."
Jury foreman Andy White, 32, said the defense's argument did not gain much traction.
Lin will be sentenced March 8.
He faces a maximum of life in prison.
Alexandra Zayas can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3354.