Bay Area man accused of killing woman and dumping body in Merced dumpster pleads not guilty

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William Li pled not guilty in court Tuesday to the human trafficking and murder of a 30-year-old woman whose body was found in a dumpster behind a Merced Rite Aid. (KFSN)

The Bay Area man accused of killing a woman and dumping her body behind a Rite Aid dumpster made his appearance in court Tuesday.

William Li pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, however, attorneys brought up issues with his bail amount. Prosecutors argued Li shouldn't be able to bail out because he is a flight risk, meaning he could have the means to leave the country if he bonds out.

However, the judge decided to keep the amount at $1 million but with a long list of conditions that Li will have to follow.

After the bail dispute between attorneys, Li pled not guilty to murdering 30-year-old Lijun Wang. Li was arrested in late April in the Bay Area after police found evidence linking him to Wang's body that was found in a dumpster.

"It is especially troubling and callous when you think of somebody just tossing a person in the garbage like that," prosecutor Ilea McKinney argued.

In court, attorneys argued about his bail amount. It was originally set at $1 million, but defense attorneys argue that not long after it was set, it was changed to no bail.

"Local law enforcement sought a second order from another judge, modifying that bail to no bail," defense attorney Jeffrey Tenenbaum said. "We brought that to this court's attention. Judge Hansen's assigned for all purposes and we objected."

Prosecutors brought up the issue of Li lying about knowing the victim, saying he told authorities he didn't know Wang. But according to police reports, phone records show he was in contact with her more than 1,000 times in a 10-month period. They also say that Li is a flight risk.

"This is someone that's involved in human trafficking," McKinney told the judge. "They do have access to people that can get them out of the country even if they've surrendered their passport to the authorities."

Ultimately, the judge decided to keep the bond at $1 million but with a long list of conditions. Li is required to wear and electric monitor and have one before he leaves the jail.

He also must give up his passport to the court and show up to every court date in person.

"I have not been given any indication that he's a flight risk," Tenenbaum said. "Of course, I cannot predict the future, but my client intends to work with our office, review the reports and be here in court."

Li walked away from the stand still in custody, but he may not be that way much longer as Li's attorney says his family has already put down tens of thousands of dollars down in both cash and cards toward his bail.

Li's attorney says he is now in the process of finding and electric monitoring company to place a device on Li before he leaves the jail.

He says he could be released as soon as this week. Li's due back in court on June 7.

Related Topics:
court casehomicide investigationmerced countyMerced
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