A Coquitlam man who killed his wife over a custody dispute drove around for two days with her body in his SUV while he took his two kids to Burnaby Mountain, the Vancouver Aquarium and to church.
Zhongming "James" Mou, 36, was charged with first-degree murder for the strangulation death of Yating "Lancy" Hu, 27, in July 2011 after her body was found by fishermen in a suitcase in the Fraser River near Steveston.
The couple had been embroiled in a nasty custody battle over their two sons, now four and three years old.
Mou showed no emotion during his sentencing hearing Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
He confessed to police and the charge was reduced to second-degree murder.
Both first- and second-degree murder carry life sentences, but the parole eligibility for first degree is a minimum of 25 years, while second degree is 10 to 25 years.
The Crown asked the judge Tuesday to keep Mou in jail for 15 to 20 years before he can apply for parole to denounce the crime and to deter others.
Hu's parents sat almost directly behind Mou, separated by Plexiglas, and her mom, Yanyu Xiao, sobbed uncontrollably during the morning recess.
Hu's dad, Muming Hu, wiped away tears as he delivered a victim-impact statement through a translator, describing an enduring agony since they learned of the murder of their only child.
"And he (Mou) is not remorseful at all," he said.
Mou and Hu had married in 2003 and separated in 2011, and Hu, who had in May 2011 lived in a women's shelter and alleged abuse, wanted sole custody.
Mou said he couldn't see his children being properly raised by her and had thought of killing her twice before he did it.
The couple were discussing custody on Skype on July 15, 2011, but getting nowhere because she was too emotional, he said, so he invited her to their Coquitlam house. Two hours later, at 5 a.m., he decided to kill her.
While she was in the washroom, he removed a metal bar from a Total Home Gym apparatus, closed the windows in the house and invited her into the laundry room to show her something and to beat her. He then strangled her using an electrical cord.
Mou later admitted he drove around with his kids for the next two days, "their mother's body in the back," said the Crown prosecutor.
Early Monday at low tide, Mou weighted the suitcase with two rocks and towed it into the river in Richmond.
He disposed of evidence in different locations and buried his wife's cellphone, keys, wedding ring and wallet, minus its bank cards, in his parents' backyard, later digging up the wallet to retrieve his son's B.C. CareCard.
The suitcase was found on Aug. 27, 2011, two days after Hu's parents came from China to make a public appeal.
Mou was arrested and charged on Sept. 9, 2011.
Hu's father said he and his wife have moved to Canada to help raise the kids but there has been friction with the Mous, with whom they live.
Mou's lawyer is to argue for his recommended sentence Friday.
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