Henrico teen convicted of voluntary manslaughter in father's death

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A guilty verdict for the Henrico teen who beat his father to death with a bowling pin. 19-year-old Alan Chang had faced first degree murder but was convicted of a lesser charge.

Jurors found Chang guilty of voluntary manslaughter and unlawful wounding in the death of his father. They deliberated for nearly three hours Thursday night.

Two of Chang's former teachers from Maggie Walker left the Henrico courthouse relieved.

"I would have liked an acquittal because of self defense, but relief it wasn't first degree, " said Cynthia Losen.

"I had known this boy for four and a half years and he's a very good kind person, so there was no way in my mind that he could have done this intentionally," said Dawn Grois.

Prosecutors say the verdict means the jury felt Chang acted in the heat of passion when he grabbed a bowling pin and beat his father to death in January.

Chang testified he killed his father, 47-year-old Jian Zhang, in self defense saying his father could get so angry that he feared for his life. But prosecutors argued that while Chang's father had rage issues, he never appeared to put the 19-year-old's life in danger.

Grois believes Chang and his family suffered for a long time.

"I didn't know this was going on in this family. He kept it to himself. I knew something was bothering him, but he was a private person," said Grois.

Prosecutors say Chang could get anywhere from no prison time to 15 years for both convictions. Grois says what Chang really needs is mental help.

"He is punished but prison time is not what he needs. He needs psychiatric help to overcome what has happened in his life," said Grois.

The sentencing phase begins Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock. The defense plans to call seven witnesses to the stand.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.