Supporters react to Esmie Tseng’s sentence

Friends stand by Tseng, call sentence poor:

Some supporters of Esmie Tseng react to her sentencing…

“Nobody’s really better served by this (sentence),” Horwitz said. “When the judge talks about rehabilitation in the prison system … She needs help (after) years and years of challenges and what many argue to be abuse in the home situation.”

Another Tseng family friend, Grant Mallett, said his daughter used to play with Esmie. He said Esmie would not be forgotten.

“We’re committed to stay in touch and help her out as best we can,” Mallett said. “I saw her last week. Her spirits seemed to be quite good, and I was pleased and impressed with how she seems to be doing personally.”

Horwitz said real friends would not abandon Esmie.

“Everybody wants to visit her and write her. She has a lot of true friends,” he said. “She’s been in the community since kindergarten and the people who have known her her whole life know that this is a really good kid and a terrible set of circumstances.”

I am neither a supporter nor detractor of Esmie Tseng but I can sympathize with Esmie. I really do. I also grew up in a house of abuse so I know to some extent what she went through. However, it doesn’t change the fact that she stabbed her mother with a kitchen knife and when her mother got the knife away from her Esmie picked up another knife and stabbed her again. I have to agree with what the assistant D.A. said…

Assistant District Attorney Richard Guinn said the sentence, considering all factors, represented a “fair and just outcome.”

“We feel for the family, we feel for the dad, we feel for (Esmie) in terms of her situation at home,” Guinn said. “But we are also taking a very strong position here.”

Guinn said stabbing someone multiple times should draw prison time as opposed to the shorter sentence, perhaps three years, available through the juvenile justice system. With good behavior and considering time already served, Esmie faces about seven years in an adult prison, he said.

In prison, Esmie could advance herself academically through college classes, Guinn said.

“It’s up to her what she chooses to make of this time,” he said. “My impression in talking with her attorney is that she has put this chapter of her life behind and is now doing everything she can to make a worthwhile life for herself.”

I know I said I would never do one again but I may have a special podcast on this sometime this weekend.

Esmie Tseng sentenced

Esmie Tseng sentenced to prison:

The Overland Park teen-ager who pleaded guilty to killing her mother was sentenced today to eight years and four months in prison.

Esmie Tseng, 17, declined to say anything during the brief hearing in Johnson County District Court. She had pleaded guilty in March to voluntary manslaughter.

The sentence imposed by Judge Brenda Cameron was recommended by both sides last month as part of a plea agreement.

Esmie’s mother, 55-year-old Shu Yi Zhang, died after being stabbed to death on Aug. 19.

Esmie Tseng not elligible for juvenile detention

Esmie ineligible for youth prison:

Supporters of Esmie Tseng, the Kansas girl who pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of her mother, had their hopes raised and summarily dashed last week…

Supporters of Tseng who lost their fight to have her tried as a juvenile were still lobbying last week for the judge to show mercy.

They were encouraged briefly when they learned the Kansas Department of Corrections was researching whether state law would allow Tseng to be placed in the state’s juvenile facility for females, in Beloit in north central Kansas. Then they were disappointed to find out Friday that she was not eligible to go there.

Esmie Tseng agreed to a plea of voluntary manslaughter, an adult charge, and a recommended sentence of 8 years and 4 months. The judge is not bound to follow the agreement.

Sentencing will take place later this month.

Esmie’s abuse

Teenager pleads guilty in mother’s stabbing death:

This is just another story about Esmie Tseng’s plea but I finally get to hear what kind of abuse Esmie went through…

In Esmie Tseng’s world, a test score of 96 might have gotten the 16-year-old grounded.

Her mother expected more. Always more. And when the Overland Park girl fell short, she often was punished in ‘unfair and cruel’ ways, Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison said Monday.

Sometimes, he said, Esmie’s mother tried to teach her a lesson by humiliating her: She made her daughter take off all her clothes.

But Esmie also was under a lot of pressure, primarily from her mother, to perform at unrealistically high levels, Morrison said. Slight transgressions often resulted in punishments such as not being able to go outside for extended periods of time, he said, or not being able to do the kinds of things that teens like to do.

“She lived in a highly structured environment,” Morrison said.

“It was not uncommon for her to be ordered to take her clothes off as a way to humiliate her, if that gives you a flavor of what was going on.”

I feel bad for Esmie. I really do. That’s not sarcasm. Mental abuse like that form a parent is one of the worst tortures that a teenager can go through. However, that abuse did not warrant the violent response that Esmie gave…

Assistant District Attorney John Fritz said that Esmie had stabbed her mother with a knife. When her mother took away the knife, Esmie grabbed another and stabbed her multiple times. Esmie did not call for help, he said.

The way Esmie’s mother treated her would have been grounds to call social services not a multiple stabbing with two different knives.

Also, did Esmie’s father know that this treatment was going on?

Now that I know a little more about the events leading up to the murder of Shu Yi Zhang I can offer an opinion on the sentencing. I think the suggested eight years and four months is very reasonable for the offense and what led up to it. As I said, I feel bad for Esmie, but stabbing her mother to death was a severe over-reaction and she needs to be punished. She will still have much of her life ahead of her when she gets out.

Esmie Tseng pleads guilty

Esmie Tseng pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter:

In a shocking turn of events, shocking to me anyway, Esmie Tseng, the 16-year-old Kansas teen accused of stabbing her mother to death, has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter…

Esmie Tseng, 16, pleaded guilty to the charge after agreeing to have her case moved to adult court. Sentencing was set for May 3.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to recommend a sentence of 100 months in prison, or about 8 years and four months. The defense agreed it would not ask for probation.

I’m curious as to why she plead guilty to an adult charge when so many people thought she should be tried as a juvenile?

Esmie Tseng revisited

Friends argue 16-year-old girl needs help, not prison, following her mother’s murder:

This is another story that I’ve been following here. It’s the story of Esmie Tseng, a 16-year-old Kansas girl who is accused of stabbing her mother, Shu Y. Tseng, to death. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten a chance to post the previous entries since The Great Website Meltdown of 2005. What makes this story attention-getting is the support she is getting from friends and strangers alike who do not want her tried as an adult, which is basically what this article is about. I have yet to hear an official motive for the killing but it may be because I haven’t researched too hard. I just post dribs and drabs of what I get through the media. However, Esmie’s mom has been portrayed as this overbearing mother putting way to much pressure to succeed on her daughter…

“Her mom leaves a note on her bed that basically said, ‘If you don’t take the state championship, we’re taking the piano away,'” Horwitz said. “(Esmie) puts in (her journal) a couple times that the only thing that defines her is piano and her escape from life is to sit down and play Bach for a few hours.”

While her mother sounds like a control freak it’s still no reason to stab her repeatedly if that is, in fact, the motive. Unless I hear a better explanation of why she killed her mother I have no problems at all with her being tried as an adult.

Esmie Tseng's Dad Speaks Out

If tried as adult, daughter “doomed”: (Log in info)

Kind of a fitting headline don’t you think? Anyway, Esmie Tseng’s father has spoken out against his daughter being tried as an adult…

“If my daughter is tried and penalized with hardened criminals and recidivists, she will be doomed,” Tao Tseng said in the statement. “I have already been deprived of my wife. I am afraid I will not survive the loss of my daughter, a more devastating blow.”
Tao Tseng released the statement after a group that had organized to support his daughter asked him to comment, said Robin Scully, Tao Tseng”s attorney. The group, Concerned Citizens for Esmie, has a Web site at .

“He is obviously very, very concerned about his daughter,” Scully said of Tao Tseng. Scully said he was providing Tao Tseng with legal guidance and keeping him updated on the case. “He wants the best for her and wants her to be tried in juvenile court.”

In the statement, Tao Tseng said he was deeply saddened by the tragedy, but that he continued to love and care for his daughter and will do so for the rest of his life.

“If Esmie becomes a part of the adult criminal system, it will simply be another tragedy because her wonderful gifts and talents will without question be forever lost,” he said. “She has far too much to give to the world for that to happen.

“My duty as a husband has been abruptly terminated. I am hanging on only because my duty as a father has yet to be performed.”


Esmie Tseng was due in court today. A ruling on whether or not she will be tried as an adult may not be for another two to three months.

Esmie Tseng Still Blogging

Once again I’m late to the party but hey I run three websites so sue me. Anyway, it appears that Esmie Tseng is still updating her LiveJournal through a friend of her’s on the outside. Here is a copy of her friends only entry dated 9/2/05…

Hey, Kids—
Missing you all lots. If you could, Lex, pass this on to the rest of the BVN masses…

How much drama am I missing out on? If at all possible, fill me in a little…

The basics are here. Food is great—the JDC is sure to keep our appetites filled to the top.

A substitute for love? Humans are simple creatures…am I wrong?

Walls are so bare. No color here, and you know I love those colors…

The staff is pretty cool. Like mommies and daddies. I’m at a sleep over. I get my own room.

The nice thing is that there is such a variety of people. I can hear and feel the heart and soul, and I just want to grab each one for a typical philosophical discussion.

Court is September 13, 2005. There are so many weird and basic restrictions here. Toilet paper, lights, individual voice are all so oppressed…

I have never been one to complain but it’s almost as though we’re considered less human in the bland walls of the JDC. Humans need to feel to accomplish any of their potential, and if taking that away/limiting that right is called justice, then…? I don’t understand how one can ever assert that what we call punishment is as productive as society has so strongly established.

Do we become better people after a sentence? How many of us truly learn from our mistakes? Can we really justify assigning the same punishment to two different offenders, so easily and obviously different in history, mindset, loves, habits, intelligence, physique, hindsight, reasoning, Etc.?

I just don’t understand how society has so easily dumped on its own. All of which are so unique and deserving of any opportunity in such a vast world into such a blue and basic bucket? It seems redemption is an aspect impossible to achieve, no matter which end of the spectrum of extremity that the crime is on. We all have such varying degrees of motive and passion and such, but it just seems that diversity has been ignored.

I hope I’m blind and only have seen some of this world’s existence. I hope.

❤ Esmie

This does not sound like someone who either stabbed their mom to death or someone who is incarcerated. Not that I’m a professional or anything but this seems very sociopathic to me.

Nod to The Cellar for the tip.

More Esmie Tseng News

Teen Faces Charge in Mom’s Stabbing: (last story)

Just some other news about Esmie Tseng. Probably nothing new to those that are closer to the case but new to me…

Investigators said the teen’s 55-year-old mother, Shu Yi Zhang, was fatally stabbed after a lengthy argument between the mother and daughter.

Zhang called her husband after the attack and asked him to come home, but she was dead by the time emergency workers arrived, officials said.


Prosecutors said Tseng’s alleged violent behavior is out of character for her, but classmates said Tseng, a high school junior, had been using drugs and was sent her home early for some strange behavior.

I did know that she was allegedly sent home but this is the first I’ve heard about any alleged drug use.

I also found another support forum for Esmie Tseng at Kids in Court. Now while I’m personally reserving judgment on the situation because not enough information has been released the people at KIC annoy me to no end because they believe that no minor should be tried as an adult. I’m sorry but if you can’t do adult time you shouldn’t do adult crime. 16 years old is old enough to know that killing people is wrong and against the law.

Esmie Tseng Support Site

Web site urges that teenager be tried as juvenile in slaying: (log in info)

According to the article friends and supporters of Esmie Tseng, the Kansas teen accused of stabbing her mother to death, have set up a website in support of her at According to the site, their goal is to keep the case in the juvenile courts while prosecutors want to try her as an adult. Or as they put it in their words…

If Esmie is convicted in the juvenile court system she can get the care and help she needs and 7 years from now could move on with a normal life. If her case is moved to the adult system, the likely penalty for this 16-year-old child will be life in prison. Read Esmie’s bio, and what those who know Esmie have to say, and you will understand that sending this kid to jail for life would constitute not one but two terrible tragedies resulting from that August 19th afternoon.

Personally, I think they’re jumping the gun here a little bit. By their own admission details about what happened that day are almost nonexistent. Saying that she needs help and care and letting her move on with her life is a bit premature. If it turns out that this was nothing more than a cold-blooded killing then she should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.