"Kitty litter" killer gets 11 years prison

A judge on Monday sentenced an Alhambra man to the maximum of 11 years in prison for killing his girlfriend and then stashing her body in a trash can full of kitty litter, the Pasadena Star-News reports.

In June, after less than two days of discussion, an Alhambra Supreme Court jury reached an unanimous decision to convict Isaac Campbell, 37 for the 2007 death of his girlfriend Liya "Jessie" Lu, then 31. The jury determined it was voluntary manslaughter in the "heat of passion."

A friend of Campbell's who lived in Arcadia first found Lu’s mummified body covered with kitty litter in a trash can in the back of his home. The defense insisted that Campbell only discovered Lu’s death and failed to handle the situation properly in a state of fear. Since Lu’s body had severely decayed and been deformed, the coroner was unable to determine Lu’s cause of death. Police arrested Campbell in Minnesota a month later, though his first trial in 2011 led to a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a conclusion. Since then, prosecutors brought in a neighbor as a new witness, who claims to have heard arguing and a loud noise followed by silence coming from Campell's apartment.

Campbell had been in custody for more than five years since his arrest.

The Star-News reports that Lu's father, Yongtai Lu, tearfully addressed Campbell in court, sharing how she had been the primary supporter of the family in China.

"'I wanted to ask Isaac why he killed my daughter,' Lu said. 'Why did he destroy the body remains of my daughter? … I want him to answer.'"

Campbell will also be required to pay restitution to Lu's family, according to the Star-News, for an amount to be determined at an Aug. 31 hearing.

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