Five months after a jury acquitted him of one count of attempted murder and deadlocked on another, former cook Xiubin Mei pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was sentenced to probation.
Mei, 62, attacked his boss and a co-worker with a meat cleaver two years ago following a heated argument at Elk Grove Village's China Bowl restaurant where they all worked. In exchange for Mei's guilty plea to two counts of aggravated battery, Cook County Judge Ellen Mandletort sentenced the Chicago man Monday to 30 months probation and ordered him to have no contact with the victims.
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In exchange for Mei's plea, prosecutors dropped the remaining attempted murder charge against him.
Both China Bowl owner Rui Zhong and the female co-worker agreed with the disposition and indicated they did not want to pursue the case further, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mike Gerber.
"What happened that afternoon was an aberration," said defense attorney Barry Spector, adding it was something his client "sincerely regrets."
Mei said he acted in self-defense when his struck Zhong on August 15, 2011, after he said Zhong punched him several times in the face, bloodying his nose and loosening two teeth. The co-worker, who authorities characterized as a peacemaker, was injured when she tried to intervene.
The argument occurred after Zhong reprimanded Mei for his poor workmanship and his inability to perform his assigned duties, Gerber said. At trial, Mei said Zhong fired him, ordered him to leave, then punched him. Mei said he grabbed the knife in self-defense because he feared being punched again.
Zhong suffered injuries to his face, ear and neck. The female co-worker suffered a skull laceration.
A jury deliberated about 12 hours in April before acquitting Mei of attempting to murder the female co-worker but deadlocked on the other charges: attempted murder of Zhong and aggravated battery to both Zhong and the woman.
Spector said he expected the case might end this way after the mistrial last April.
"He's grateful that he's not going to prison, and he's thankful to have an opportunity to serve his probation," Spector said