Sunday, January 24, 2010

Penn Law Student Sentenced for Shooting reports on the sentencing of Cho.

Joseph Cho, a bright but mentally troubled man who shocked his law-school classmates in 2007 by shooting into his neighbors' front door, was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison yesterday.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Rose DeFino-Nastasi also ordered Cho to complete a 20-year probation period after he is released.

Cho, 34, who at the time of the shooting was a second-year Penn Law School student and is a graduate of Yale University, pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to attempted murder, burglary, aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime stemming from the Jan. 31, 2007, shooting incident.

On that day, Cho, who has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, left his third-floor apartment on Pine Street near 44th, walked one floor down and began pounding on the door of two male Drexel University students.

When no one answered, Cho began firing rounds from his 9mm handgun into the door's lock. Police said Cho suspected that his neighbors were terrorists, though they were actually bioengineering students of Indian descent.

The one student who was at home at the time of the shooting was not injured.

What's your opinion? Was that a fair sentence, as Assistant District Attorney Melissa M. Francis said? I'd say it was a fair sentence for her. She marked a nice victory for herself with this one. But for the defendant, I'm not so sure.

He was a severely mentally disturbed individual with no criminal record. Wouldn't residential mental treatment be more appropriate for someone like that, followed by probation and of course placement on the disqualified-for-gun-ownership list?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. I do believe that that was a felony, so it shouldn't matter what his mental state is, he's a prohibited person anyway.
    He needs help, but putting him on a "no gun list" for his mental illness is a tad redundant.

  2. Kevin, I think the point is he should have been prohibited for his mental state before he committed the felony.

  3. Well, he should have, but he was diagnosed after the incident. What would you suggest to help prevent this? Can we find a way that's non-invasive to Americans?