The Most Disturbing Details From The What Jennifer Did Documentary

Lots of young adults have strained relationships with their parents. Maybe simmering tensions boil over into full-blown arguments now and then. Maybe resentment remains low, deep, and quiet in a household. There might even be times when people think the unthinkable: "I wish you were dead." The case of Canadian-born Jennifer Pan followed such spite to its most extreme end. Or at least, it did until the Canadian Supreme Court overruled the judgement in Pan's case in May, 2023. 

As the very complicated story goes, three men allegedly broke into the Pan family house back on November 8, 2010, and shot Jennifer Pan's mother, Bich Ha Pan, and father, Huei Hann Pan. Bich died immediately, but Hann fell into a coma. Jennifer cried as she spoke to police in interrogation footage seen in the 2024 Netflix documentary "What Jennifer Did," saying that the intruders had tied her to a banister while they attacked her parents. But when Hann woke up he offered an account that contradicted his daughter's. 

As police investigated further they unwound a byzantine entanglement of lies that included Pan concocting an entirely fraudulent life to cover up her real life, allegedly plotting with her drug dealer boyfriend to murder her parents, and staging a fake break-in on the night of their murders. In 2015, Jennifer, her ex-boyfriend Daniel Wong, and three accomplices – Lenford Crawford, David Mylvaganam, and Eric Carty — were sentenced to life in prison. Come 2023, their convictions were overturned on what could be characterized as a technicality.

Jennifer fabricated an entire life

At this point, we're not really sure what happened and didn't happen in the case of Jennifer Pan — at least when it comes to the night of the break-in. But if one element of the case proves untrue, like Jennifer plotting to kill her parents, it doesn't mean that other elements are also untrue. Case in point: the entirely fabricated life that Jennifer fed to her parents for years.

As the daughter of two political refugees from Vietnam, Jennifer felt under extreme pressure from a young age, as Jennifer's classmate Karen Ho writes on Toronto Life. Even as Jennifer's parents met with resounding success in their new life — saving enough to buy a house and luxury cars — their daughter felt crestfallen. Jennifer put on her "happy mask," as she called it, engaged in self-harm, and wilted under the gaze of her "tiger dad" and "accomplice" mom.

Jennifer not only lied about going to the University of Toronto to study pharmacology for a full four years, but also photoshopped report cards, student loan documents, and even her bachelor's degree. Instead of going to class, Ho says that Jennifer would head into Toronto, fill notebooks with bogus notes, hang out at cafes, and eventually get a job bartending aside her boyfriend, Daniel Wong, at Boston Pizza. Wong was also a drug dealer who made a huge impression on Jennifer. When Jennifer's parents found out about her deception they were furious, demanded their money back, and forbade their daughter from seeing Wong.

Jennifer purportedly staged a break-in to murder her parents

Thanks to the Canadian Supreme Court's overturning of the convictions in Jennifer Pan's case, we've got two versions of the story from here. As the prosecution told the tale, Jennifer conspired with her ex-boyfriend, Daniel Wong, to kill her parents and get $500,000 in inheritance money. According to Business Insider, Jennifer and Wong had already separated by 2010, the year of the crime in question. Wong says as much in the Netflix documentary, "What Jennifer Did," and also expresses frustration at being dismissed by Jennifer's parents for not making enough money, and for things like never being invited over to their house to eat together. 

Nonetheless, Wong still allegedly helped Jennifer plan her parents' murders. Looking back to Karen Ho's account on Toronto Life, Wong reached out to an acquaintance, Lenford Crawford, who said the hit on Jennifer's parents could be done for $10,000. Crawford went by the nickname "Homeboy" in text conversations between Jennifer and Wong found on a spare iPhone that Wong had given her. They even argued about the night of the hit, which Jennifer had to postpone.

On the night of the staged break-in, per Ho's account, Jennifer allegedly let Crawford in her house along with two other hitmen: Eric Carty and Mylvaganam. She handed over $2,500 on the spot, another $1,100 from her parent's room, and then let Carty tie her to a banister. Then the intruders shot her mother and father.

Jennifer's father watched his wife die

As if this story wasn't disturbing enough — at least if the prosecution's version of the tale is true — we've got to consider things from Jennifer Pan's parent's perspective. Regardless of how high their expectations were for their daughter, no doubt their actions came from a place of concern. As two immigrants — refugees, no less — who built an entire, highly successful life from scratch in a foreign country, it stands to reason that they'd want their daughter to try her best. And so it was that Jennifer's mother Bich, in her last moments, didn't beg for her own life, but said, "Don't hurt my daughter," to the person holding a gun at her before he shot her, per Screenrant.

Jennifer's father Hann watched this happen before the intruders shot him, too — once in the shoulder and once in the face. As the Toronto Star recounts, he survived and woke up to see his wife dead on the floor. He fell into a coma, woke up three days later, and made some damning statements to the police. He said that Jennifer had been speaking quietly to one of the intruders, who yelled at her, "Where's the f–king money?" Elements of his and Jennifer's stories didn't match, and bit by bit police uncovered further evidence. Hann wound up taking out a "lifetime non-contact order" against his daughter, per Dextero, tried to sell his house, suffered from constant pain and anxiety attacks, and had to move in with relatives. 

Jennifer's confession to detectives

If Jennifer Pan did indeed work with her ex-boyfriend Daniel Wong to orchestrate the murder of her parents, then her interviews with police could come across as deeply disturbing. Jennifer's first, second, and third interview are all available online, but it's the first video that stands out. Yes, everyone processes grief in different ways, and Jennifer's quiet, clear delivery could be taken as indicative of shock. But, her clear, precise, detailed, largely unhesitating delivery — mere hours after the murder of her mother — could also be taken as rehearsed.

In the second interview Jennifer appears notably more anxious than in the first, as the detective tries to test her story for consistency, such as when Jennifer re-states one of the intruders being in his late 20s to early 30s. By the time the third interview rolls around the detective in question says that he knows what Jennifer has done, and presses her to admit her criminal role in events. Playing the conciliatory and kind role, the detective states that he understands how hard it must have been living in a strict household. Eventually, Jennifer says that the intruders were just supposed to kill her. 

Even if this statement is true, and Jennifer didn't conspire to murder her parents, her interrogation footage is deeply disturbing in and of itself. It depicts a young woman whose life is broken, and who perhaps realizes the enormity of what's happened.

Jennifer's first-degree murder charge got overturned

As we've said, the Canadian Supreme Court overruled Jennifer Pan's sentence in May 2023, along with Daniel Wong's, Lenford Crawford's, and David Mylvaganam's — Eric Carty died in prison in 2018. Specifically, the Supreme Court overturned the first-degree murder conviction for Jennifer's mother Bich but kept the attempted murder conviction for Jennifer's father, Hann. As the Court explains, the reasoning for this decision boils down to the judge's mishandling of evidence that might have otherwise changed juror conclusions.

Jennifer, as she admitted in police interrogations, admitted to hiring the hitmen, but claims that they were hired to kill her and not her parents. Once they arrived at her house, however, events unfolded differently. If true, then jurors could have chosen second-degree murder as an alternative judgment during the trial, rather than first-degree murder. Prosecutors, in turn, filed an appeal to the decision to overrule in August 2023. As York Region explains, if this appeal is denied, then Jennifer and company will face another, entire second trial. If the overruling stands, however, then Jennifer, Wong, Crawford, and Mylvaganam can all seek parole and head back into society as soon as possible. For now, all of the accused — now nine years older than they were at the time they were convicted — sit in limbo in prison, waiting.