Woman sentenced to 25 years in road-rage murder of ASU student

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Holly Davis shot and killed a young ASU student  on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Holly Davis shot and killed a young ASU student on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Holly Davis accepted a deal that carries a mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Holly Davis accepted a deal that carries a mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
According to Tempe police, Davis shot and killed Arizona State University student Yue Jiang of China, after rear-ending the back of her car on January 18, 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) According to Tempe police, Davis shot and killed Arizona State University student Yue Jiang of China, after rear-ending the back of her car on January 18, 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Yue Jiang's father, Yiyong, glared and pointed at Davis before talking to the judge and shouted in Chongqing, a dialect of the Chinese language, "How inhumane you were to brutally murder my only daughter!" (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Yue Jiang's father, Yiyong, glared and pointed at Davis before talking to the judge and shouted in Chongqing, a dialect of the Chinese language, "How inhumane you were to brutally murder my only daughter!" (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Holly Davis was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday, June 15, 2018. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Holly Davis was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday, June 15, 2018. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The woman who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after shooting a 19-year-old Arizona State University student in the course of a road-rage incident was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday.

“No words can express how sorry I am, but thank you for the chance to try,” Holly Davis told Judge Warren Granville in a wavering voice during her sentencing hearing. “I take full responsibility for my actions and will live with this every day of my life.”

[WATCH: Holly Davis addresses judge at sentencing]

On the afternoon of Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, Davis, now 34, rear-ended Yue Jiang, a student from China, in the area of Broadway Road and McClintock Drive.

Jiang’s boyfriend was with her at the time. He got out of the car to check the damage but got back in as soon as he saw that Davis had a gun.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Police say woman arrested in deadly road rage shooting was 'planning to engage in violence' (Jan. 16, 2016)]

[RELATED: Makeshift memorial honors slain ASU student (Jan. 18, 2016)]

Police said Davis got out of her car, walked up to the driver’s side of Jiang’s Mercedes and shot the young woman.

“Jiang and her passenger did not know the defendant and did not exchange words or have a confrontation with the defendant prior to the shooting,” according to a news release from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Jiang, who had been hit three times, tried to escape but crashed into another vehicle. She later died at the hospital. Five people in that other vehicle, including a pregnant woman and three children, suffered minor injuries in the wreck.

Davis left the scene.

“The defendant was seen by witnesses as getting back in her own car after the shooting and then driving away,” according to MCAO.

Davis, who had spent time in prison in Missouri, originally was charged with first-degree murder after police found evidence -- a note she had written -- that Davis was “planning to engage in violence.”

[RELATED: PD: Road rage suspect left note: 'I want to be burned.' (Jan. 19, 2016)]

“Davis denied any involvement in the shooting, but told investigators if she had been involved, it was because she was depressed and wanted police to kill her,” according to MCAO.

When Davis pleaded down to second-degree murder, Jiang’s family begged the judge not to accept the agreement.

[RELATED: Family of ASU student killed in road rage opposes plea deal with accused murderer (June 11, 2018)]

"Please, our honorable judge, no less than first-degree murder and life imprisonment," said Jiang's cousin, Katherine Xu, who did not think the plea bargain is fair. "All we want to do is protect the whole society and fight for the justice for my cousin.

Jiang's father, Yiyong, glared and pointed at Davis before talking to the judge and shouted in Chongqing, a dialect of the Chinese language, "How inhumane you were to brutally murder my only daughter!" He then called her "a monster."

[RELATED: Judge accepts plea agreement in deadly Tempe road rage case (June 12, 2018)]

In the end, Granville accepted the plea, which carried a mandatory sentence of 25 years.

“This sentence is the maximum penalty for 2nd Degree Murder and reflects the senseless nature of the acts of the defendant and the degree of harm that was inflicted upon the Jiang family and all victims in this incident,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said in a news release.

"The defendant here manufactured a confrontation with a car that was targeted for literally no clear reason whatsoever, other than the defendant was unhappy with her own life, and she chose to take it out on other human beings," the prosecutor said during Davis' sentencing hearing. "In this situation, this series of acts by the defendant, it's appalling and it's incomprehensible that so many people were hurt so terribly, deeply by someone who was just unhappy and lashing out at random people."

"She's a monster!" somebody in the courtroom yelled when Davis' lawyer said he does not believe his client is a monster as characterized by Jiang's father.

[WATCH: Judge Warren Granville sentences Holly Davis]

“I will never forget Ms. Jiang,” Davis told the judge Friday, two years and five months after the shooting. “I am sorry to all those involved and affected by this tragedy. If I could change it, I would. If I could bring her back, I would. If I could take her place, I would.”

"Sometimes people don't appreciate that they've thrown a boulder in a pond so the ripples go way, way beyond what they ever thought, and that's what clearly has happened here," Granville said. "I don't find you a monster, but what you did was monstrous. It was senseless and it was cruel."


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