Shuai pleads guilty to lesser charge, is freed

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Bei Bei Shuai is free.

The Chinese immigrant who tried to kill herself by consuming rat poison and was charged with murder and attempted feticide days later when her newborn daughter died pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminal recklessness, a Class B misdemeanor.

Shuai’s plea agreement was announced this afternoon in Marion Superior Court and accepted by Judge Sheila Carlisle. Shuai will serve no additional jail time and was released from monitoring Friday afternoon.

Defense attorney Linda Pence said the outcome was about the best her client could have hoped for short of dismissal. Shuai was sentenced to 178 days, but time served exceeds that amount. “She has served her time in this case,” Carlisle said in approving the plea agreement.

 “It feels great,” Shuai told reporters after the hastily-called final hearing in her case, which lasted less than 30 minutes. “I can tell you I feel great relief.”

The agreement also protects Shuai from any potential immigration sanctions. “Although the state has no authority regarding immigration laws, the state and defendant enter into this agreement with the belief that this conviction will not trigger adverse immigration consequences.

“If adverse immigration consequences occur based on this conviction, it shall result in the State filing a motion to set aside this agreement which shall be granted by this court,” the agreement says.

Pence has insisted that the case never should have been prosecuted. “This woman was in the throes of depression,” she said as she stood next to Shuai after the hearing. She said Shuai was prosecuted for actions she took that weren’t crimes.

Prosecutors made no remarks about the agreement during the brief hearing in which the felony counts were dropped. In order to allow the plea to the misdemeanor, the state filed amended information Friday afternoon that said Shuai on Dec. 23, 2010, “recklessly performed an act, specifically: ingested Brodifacoum, that created a substantial risk of bodily injury to a person, that is: Angel Shuai.”

Shuai, 34 at the time, was charged after her newborn daughter died days after her delivery by emergency caesarian section at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Shuai had told friends that she consumed rat poison days earlier in an attempted suicide after the baby’s father jilted her. Her friends persuaded her to seek medical attention.

Shuai was to face trial beginning Sept. 3 in State v. Bei Bei Shuai, and earlier Friday, Carlisle gathered reporters and media representatives for a decorum hearing. Pence said prosecutors had called her that morning with an offer.

Carlisle said earlier Friday she was prepared to call as many as 200 potential jurors within about two weeks.

After Shuai was charged, she spent 435 days in the Marion County Jail before a divided Court of Appeals ruled she should not be denied bail, and she ultimately was freed on $50,000 bond. One appellate court judge dissented, saying the grant of bond didn't go far enough and that she would dismiss the charges altogether.

Carlisle also approved a waiver of fines and court fee for Shuai, who Pence said had limited resources. After the hearing, Pence said Shuai was one of the kindest and most gracious young women she had ever met and works seven days a week at an Indianapolis Chinese restaurant. “She has a fabulous life ahead of her,” Pence said.

But Pence said Shuai also will bear the results of her actions, and said she sleeps with her daughter’s ashes nearby. “The one who will suffer,” Pence said, “it will be this woman.”

Shuai’s case became an international story, and she thanked supporters, who she said boosted her spirits while she was jailed. “I was really, really depressed until one day I read a letter a supporter sent to me,” she said. “I remember every one of them.”

“I’m thrilled it’s been resolved and Miss Shuai doesn’t have to undergo any more pain,” Pence said.  


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.