Accused killer depressed, says sister — (The Edmonton Sun)

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The Edmonton Sun

Saturday, October 16, 2004

TONY BLAIS, COURT BUREAU

Testifying from California by video-link, the sister of an accused Edmonton wife killer said her brother was depressed about his wife leaving him and his abusive childhood. With her American husband sitting behind her and an FBI agent hovering nearby, Trinh Sims told court about a 6 a.m. phone call in which her brother, Julian Diep, said he had killed his wife and was going to commit suicide.

Diep, 52, is accused of first-degree murder for the Aug. 10, 2002, stabbing death of his wife, Xing Zhen Li, 28.

“He was crying and he was very upset and said he had killed his wife and was going to kill himself,” said Sims, forced by court order to go from her Fremont home to the U.S. District Attorney’s office in San Francisco to testify.

Sims said her brother told her he was recently divorced from Li, but they still lived together at his city apartment, and he was sad because she had a boyfriend and was moving out that weekend.

Sims testified Diep told her he was being treated with medication for depression, had taken stress leave from his job and hadn’t eaten or slept much lately.

Sims told court her brother kept talking about his “terrible childhood” and being abused as a child by their mother. Sims confirmed their mother had physically abused her and her three siblings and given away one brother.

Sims testified she and her brother had grown up in Vietnam, but she had lost touch with him for 26 years until he contacted her by phone at her home in 2001.

She said she had gone to the U.S. in 1975 and said she believed her brother, whom she described as “one of the boat people,” had been living in Canada about 20 years. Court earlier heard police went to the City Square Tower, 10020 103 Ave., and saw a butcher knife on a kitchen counter when Diep answered the door of the sixth-floor suite. Li’s body was discovered in the bedroom.