David Jonathan Brown pled not guilty by reason of insanity in the murder of professor Bosco Tjan on Wednesday. He also reaffirmed his not guilty plea in the use of a knife in Tjan’s death.
Brown’s mental state will be evaluated by Risa Grand, a forensic psychiatrist for the Los Angeles County Superior Court and former assistant clinical professor at USC.
Brown, a graduate neuroscience student, is charged with first-degree murder, including a special allegation of using a “deadly and dangerous weapon” to kill Tjan.
If Brown is found not guilty by reason of insanity, he could be sentenced to life in a state mental health institution, according to Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman. If he is found guilty of first-degree murder, he could serve from 25 years to life in prison. If Brown is found guilty of second-degree murder, he could serve a lower sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
Brown was arrested at the scene of the crime in December, and police said Tjan’s murder was driven by a “personal dispute.” He worked in Tjan’s lab and had taken a leave of absence for “personal reasons” last year, according to the New York Daily News.
Brown’s next preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 21.