Hengjun Chao was sentenced to 28 years in state prison today for shooting his former boss outside a Chappaqua deli last summer.
Following his June trial, where the jury spent nearly an hour deliberating Chao’s fate, the Tuckahoe resident was convicted of second-degree attempted murder, first-degree criminal use of a weapon and assault in the revenge shooting.
Presiding at the Westchester County Court in White Plains, Westchester County judge Barry Warhit sentenced Chao to 23 years for the attempted murder, along with an additional five years for the weapon charge.
On the morning of Aug. 29, 2016, Chao fired a 20-gauge shotgun at Dr. Dennis Charney, the dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, outside Lange’s Little Store & Delicatessen on King Street.
Charney suffered a significant shoulder injury and has experienced seizures and other aliments as a result of the gunshot.
Chao, 50, a former research assistant professor and lab director at the school, was fired following nearly three years of investigation into claims of research fraud on his part. A committee that included Charney terminated Chao in May 2009.
During the trial, Chao testified in his own defense, saying he didn’t mean to injure Charney. His plan was to bring public attention to Charney, who he thought to be a fraud in the medical field.
Video surveillance proved Chao had stalked the victim for several days prior to the shooting. During his testimony, Chao admitted that before he made the initial decision to take aim at Charney at the deli, he went to his Chappaqua home several times where he originally planned to fire. Chao said he didn’t attack the victim at his home because there were children in the yard.
Chao remained at the scene where he was arrested by New Castle Police, telling police had had just shot an “a——.”