The 31-year-old NYPD officer accused of murdering a 24-year-old woman she found with her ex-girlfriend and also trying to kill her ex has requested a mental capacity examination as the case against her proceeds, officials said Tuesday.
An attorney for Yvonne Wu, who appeared in court earlier in the day, said she wanted the exam to assess her capacity to understand the charges against her and to assist in her defense, which the court granted, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced. Wu was remanded pending the examination; her next court date is scheduled for mid-November.
James' Office of Special Investigations launched a probe last week into the death of Jamie Liang, who was shot in the chest, possibly multiple times, and the shooting of Wu's 23-year-old ex-girlfriend, whom James identified as Jenny Li. Li was wounded in the torso and had been hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
The attorney general's office said Friday that preliminary information suggests the deadly shooting may have been the result of a personal or domestic incident without connection to Wu's law enforcement duties. She works midnights and had last reported for duty the night before the deadly shooting.
It's not clear if the gun allegedly used to kill Liang was Wu's service weapon.
According to state law, the attorney general's Office of Special Investigation (OSI) reviews every incident where a police or peace officer, including a corrections officer, may have caused the death of a person by an act or by omission. That law applies whether the officer was on- or off-duty at the time of the incident.
If OSI's review finds an officer did cause the death of another person, the office proceeds to conduct a full investigation of the incident. That's in addition to any criminal case that may develop against the officer accused. In this case, the latter is already in progress, though a first court date for Wu wasn't immediately clear.
Information on a possible attorney for Wu wasn't known, either.
The crimes the 31-year-old patrol cop is accused of committing were described as "coming out of left field" by one senior NYPD official who told News 4 last week the officer's annual evaluations exceeded expectations. There had been no prior signs of trouble involving her until the shooting a week ago, the official said.
Cops responding to 911 calls at the ex-girlfriend's home on 19th Avenue that night found Wu outside. Her ex-girlfriend had been shot in the bedroom and Liang was found shot in the chest in the living room. She was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Authorities say Wu confessed at the scene; investigators described her as calm and forthcoming with the information. Neighbors who saw her speaking to police described Wu as shockingly "deadpan, no anxiety" as she talked after the shooting.
Liang was also a dental student with a bright future, friends have told News 4. Her family had recently moved to a Staten Island neighborhood. Relatives declined to speak with News 4 about the case.