Former Huntsman employee pleads guilty

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

A former Huntsman Cancer Institute employee pled guilty to aggravated assault for striking his female coworker with a rubber mallet.

Qin Cai was charged with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony, attempted murder, a second-degree felony, and stalking, a Class A misdemeanor. However, a week before the trial was supposed to begin, Cai struck a plea deal that reduced the charges to aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.

The charges were amended on April 14 in the 3rd District Court before Judge Paul Skanchy.

Cai will be sentenced on June 2, but it is unclear how much prison time Cai might face with the new charges.

Lisa Remal, who is representing Cai, declined to comment, and the prosecutor in the case, Michael Postma, was unavailable for comment.

Thirty-year-old Cai was taken into custody after being accused of assaulting a 41-year-old female employee at the Biomedical Polymers Research Building in October. The victim’s name was not released. However, Sgt. Bob Garner of the U Police Department said the victim and Cai were acquaintances and that they had worked together before he transferred to the cancer institute.

Officers at the campus police department first received a call from a man who said he was talking to his wife on the other line when he heard a scream and realized the connection had been lost. He attempted to call back, but she did not answer, U Police Sgt. Lynn Rohland said in a written statement.

Police checked the area where the woman usually parked at the fourth level of the Genetic parking terrace but did not find the woman or her car. While officers searched the surrounding area, the woman approached them in her car to ask for help.

The woman was struck on her face and the back of her head with a rubber mallet, police reported. She was admitted and then released from the U Hospital.

“It appears the suspect had strong feelings for the victim, but when the victim did not reciprocate those feelings, he became angry with her,” Rohland said in a written statement. “The suspect had contact with the victim at least once during the day prior to the assault.”

Cai was booked into the Salt Lake County Metro Jail with bail set at more than $250,000. However, even if bail is posted, Cai will not be released because he was placed under an immigration detainer. This means that if he is released from custody, he will be reported to federal authorities who could potentially deport him because he is “likely an illegal immigrant,” said Lori Haley, public information officer at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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