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Student Forgoes Jury Trial in Death of Professor

March 28, 1985

Attorneys in the second trial for Minh Van Lam, the Vietnamese student accused of murdering California State University, Fullerton, professor Edward Lee Cooperman, agreed Wednesday to let the trial judge decide the case.

Superior Court Judge Richard J. Beacom excused the jurors, who were chosen last week. Lam's first trial ended last month in a hung jury, with nine jurors voting for involuntary manslaughter and three voting for acquittal on all charges--first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

Beacom, who also presided over the earlier trial, eliminated the first-degree murder charge, which the first jury had unanimously rejected, but allowed the remaining charges to stand. He said he expected to complete taking testimony and announce his verdict today.

Lam, 21, admitted he killed Cooperman on Oct. 13, 1984, at the professor's campus office, but said it was an accident. He did not take the stand at the first trial, but a videotaped re-enactment of the shooting was used by both sides as evidence.

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