A Montgomery County judge refused yesterday to set bond for the 74-year-old McLean man charged with killing the president of a high-tech firm at the company's Rockville headquarters May 18, rejecting arguments that the man poses no threat to flee or hurt others.
At the same time, prosecutors revealed new details about the shooting. Assistant State's Attorney Cheryl McCally told District Court Judge Mary Beth McCormick that the handgun Timothy Chang allegedly used to kill Tzeyang "Jason" Chou could hold only five shots -- but that six shots were fired.
"So the gun had to have been reloaded" during the shooting, McCally explained.
"This was a planned, deliberate act. The defendant chose the date; he chose the location," McCally said. "And he did it -- in his own words -- with a clear mind."
Chang's attorneys had proposed that he be released so he could be evaluated at Suburban Hospital for possible neurological problems that could explain his violent behavior. Judy Catterton, one of Chang's attorneys, said a preliminary examination conducted at the jail by a forensic psychiatrist showed that Chang had some cognitive deficits that warrant further tests, including a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and an electroencephalogram (EEG).
Catterton said it would be "cumbersome" for the tests to be conducted while Chang remains in jail and difficult for lawyers to prepare his defense. She also said Chang is being considered at risk for suicide at the jail and needs treatment for depression, high blood pressure, back problems and other ailments.
But McCormick said she was worried by "the nature and circumstances of the event" and by Chang's "lack of family ties and ties to the community."
The hearing drew an unusually large audience yesterday to District Court in Rockville, including a group of Chinese reporters and about 16 friends of Chang's.
Among them was an unidentified couple who had offered their Rockville apartment as a place where Chang, childless and a widower, could reside under home detention, had McCormick decided to set a bond he could post.
According to police, Chang went to see Chou at the headquarters of Imacom Inc., the firm Chou headed in Rockville, and then shot the 51-year-old at close range. After the shooting, he informed the receptionist of what he had done and quietly waited for police.
Chang has told police that Chou accused him of having an affair with his wife, Patricia Chou, and then threatened to expose the illicit relationship to the Chinese community unless Chang paid him $650,000. Chang told police that there was nothing improper about his relationship with Patricia Chou, whom he knew socially through their participation in Chinese opera.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, described the crime Chang is accused of as a coldblooded plan that included three lessons in the use of firearms.
Chang bought the gun "for the express purpose of killing Jason Chou," McCally told the court. Chang "indicated [to detectives that] he had deep hatred and significant anger towards Mr. Chou."
Assistant State's Attorney Peter Feeney noted that Chang sold his house in McLean recently for about a half-million dollars and has "contacts in a number of countries, including his native Taiwan." Chang's attorneys said the money had been placed in a trust supervised by another lawyer involved in the case.
Afterward, friends of Chang's said they were disappointed by the judge's ruling.
"He is not a threat to security of anyone," said Joseph Wang, 75, a linguistics and Chinese language teacher from College Park who said he has known Chang for 40 years.
Wang said he was at a loss to explain the crime that Chang is charged with.
"If you believe in religion, you say a demon got into him. If you believe in modern psychology, you say something went wrong in the mind," Wang said. His wife sobbed to a Chinese reporter nearby.
"Wei shenma? Wei shenma?" she said. "Why? Why?"
CAPTION: Attorneys for Timothy Chang had sought his release so he could be evaluated for neurological problems.