A Lee County grand jury indicted a former Auburn student on six capital murder charges Aug. 20 after a husband and wife were stabbed repeatedly in Auburn in October 2020.
Zhuobin Wang, a Chinese foreign exchange student at Auburn University, was initially charged with two counts of capital murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with the Oct. 22, 2020, stabbings of Lijun Xuan and Zhengzheng Wu in The Oaks Neighborhood in Auburn off of Richland Road.
Wu sustained about 60 stab wounds that night after police said Auburn University student Zhuobin Wang broke into her family’s home and killed her husband, Xuan, before stabbing her 23 times. While Xuan died of his injuries that night, Wu received treatment for weeks before being released but passed away in March 2021.
“After she died, we decided to present the facts and circumstances surrounding the events that happened in October and the facts and circumstances surrounding how she died to the grand jury and let them consider all of the evidence,” Lee County District Attorney Jessica Ventiere said. “The grand jury, after considering all of the evidence, returned six capital murder indictments against the defendant.”
The original charges against Wang were for capital murder in front of a child less than 14 and capital murder committed during the course of a burglary. After Wu’s death, Wang has now been indicted for the previous two charges as well as for capital murder of two or more persons and gets the same capital murder charges for each victim, adding up to six capital murder charges total, according to Ventiere.
Police pointed to displaced molding on the back door of the house where the death occurred as evidence of a forced entry, and they found blood in multiple rooms in the house’s downstairs area, according to Auburn police detective Levi Donnelly, who was called as a witness in Wang’s preliminary hearing in December 2020.
“There was blood from the front door area, throughout the living room and kitchen — really the whole common area downstairs,” Donelly said.
Wu heard a knock on the front door the evening of Oct. 22 and saw Wang, whom she knew because he had lived with the family earlier that year as a renter, according to Donelly’s retelling of the statement to police by Wu, who was interviewed after she was able to leave the hospital.
Donelly said Wu called her husband to come downstairs, and while Xuan was trying to turn on his phone, Wang entered the house through the back door and stabbed Xuan in the back. After Wu attempted to intervene, police said Wang stabbed her.
Donnelly also said the couple’s two children, ages 8 and 5, were downstairs when the assault began and followed their mother’s instructions to run outside.
Auburn police Lt. Michael Creighton, who was also called as a witness, said Wang took an Uber to the residence of Wu and Xuan the night of the murder and tried to decide what to do with the children on the ride over.
“He had lived there for some time, so he knew there were children in the house,” Creighton said.
After the couple was stabbed, police said they received a call from Wang who told them he had killed a family and asked them to come to the house.
“I killed people. I killed a family,” Wang said in a recording of the 911 call that was played during the preliminary hearing. “Not [an] accident. I killed them by myself. I wanted to kill them.”
When police arrived, Wang did not resist arrest and complied with officers, according to police.
An arraignment for Wang has been set for Sept. 3.