Man admits slaying estranged wife in Arcadia

ARCADIA — Just before his trial was to begin, a Long Beach man admitted in court Wednesday he shot his estranged wife to death in front of her Arcadia home — and was immediately sentenced to 29 years to life in prison.
Peter Chang, 60, pleaded no contest to first-degree murder and the special allegation that he used a gun to kill Liya “Sandy” Lu, 32, on Jan. 27, 2008, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Dvila-Morales said.
Lu died at a hospital shortly after the shooting, but not before she gave police a statement leading them to the killer. Her “dying declaration” was key in Chang’s arrest, Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque said.
Le Veque said Lu and Chang had been separated for several months prior to the slaying. People close to Lu said Chang had become threatening, he said.
“She had become increasingly afraid of him over time,” Le Veque said.
Lu was standing near her townhouse on Bonita Street, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, when Chang suddenly attacked her, an Arcadia police statement said.
She was talking to a man, who Le Veque said was a mutual friend of Lu and Chang, when Chang started beating her and knocked her to the ground.
Le Veque said the man ran away, and Lu sprinted for her front door but never made it.
“(Chang) chased after her up the stairway and that’s where the shooting occurred,” he said.
Before Lu died at the hospital, she gave detectives a statement that led them to Chang’s home in Long Beach, police said. Chang was arrested after a brief standoff and struggle with Long Beach police.
Le Veque said the case officials were planning to present against Chang was a strong one.
“We did have the dying declaration of the victim,” he said, as well as physical evidence at the scene.

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