Why Did Jennifer Pan Want To Kill Her Parents? The True Motive Behind The Murder

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Netflix‘s new true crime documentary What Jennifer Did is leaving some viewers with more questions than answers.

What-Jennifer-Did-Netflix-ReviewJennifer Pan | Netflix

The film is receiving criticism from some true crime junkies who, after delving deeper into the case, found Neflix’s documentary entertaining but lacking. Key details, such as Jennifer’s unmentioned older brother–who would file a restraining order against his sister on behalf of their family–are missing, according to viewers.

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Jennifer Pan is currently serving life sentences for the murder of her mother, Bich Ha Pan, and the attempted murder of her father, Huei Hann Pan. In 2010, the then-24-year-old Jennifer Pan orchestrated a kill-for-hire plot that she tried to pass off as a home invasion. She told police that gunmen, all unknown to her, broke into her family home and demanded money from her parents before shooting them. Her father’s eye account and police interrogations would later reveal the truth.

a-daughters-revenge| Toronto Life

Why did Jennifer Pan want to murder her parents?

According to the Netflix documentary, much of Jennifer’s motivation stemmed from her parents coming between her and her high school boyfriend, Daniel Wong, (a co-conspirator in the murder plot who was also sentenced to life in prison), and their high expectations for her career success. These motives, some viewers felt, were glossed over in the documentary.

torontostarHuei Hann Pan (left) and Bich Ha Pan (right) | Toronto Life

An in-depth 2015 report by Toronto Life, however, sheds light on the nuanced, detrimental relationship between Jennifer and her parents. Bich Ha Pan and Huei Hann Pan moved from Vietnam to Canada as refugees and achieved the “Canadian dream” by contributing to Canadian society and working hard to achieve a comfortable lifestyle. As such, Jennifer’s parents had high expectations for Jennifer and her brother Felix.

JenniferPan| Wikipedia

From the age of four, Jennifer was pushed to succeed. She was enrolled in piano classes and figure skating, becoming accomplished at both. Her schedule was tightly controlled; some nights, Jennifer would spend all day, until midnight, at school, doing homework, and attending skating practice. Due to the pressure, she engaged in self-harm by cutting her forearms.

According to reporter Karen K. Ho, who attended school with Jennifer, Jennifer was “tormented by feelings of inadequacy, self-doubt and shame” as she failed to live up to her parents’ expectations. Each loss–achieving average grades, losing skating competitions–intensified these feelings, but Jennifer hid them behind a “happy mask” in public.

1712144483_untitled-design-2024-04-03t171044-172| Netflix

Jennifer’s father was a “tiger dad.” This parenting style, common in Asian cultures, is strict and driven by a parent’s desire to see their child succeed. Jennifer’s father barred her from activities and experiences that could have provided balance in his daughter’s life, such as school dances, parties, vacations with friends, and boyfriends.

[Jennifer’s parents] were absolutely controlling. They treated her like shit for such a long time.

— Former classmate

To get around her parents’ restrictions while fulfilling their expectations, Jennifer turned to complicated lies. She forged her high school diploma and her college degree, pretended to attend post-secondary school, and more. After discovering her lies, Jennifer’s parents continued to monitor her and enforce restrictions. This included tracking the odometer on her car.


I tried looking at myself in the third person, and I didn’t like who I saw, but rationalizations in my head said I had to keep going—otherwise I would lose everything that ever meant anything to me.

— Jennifer Pan

Months before the kill-for-hire plot was set in motion, Jennifer and an elementary school friend, Andrew Montemayor, reconnected. After she told him about her “torturous” relationship with her parents, he confessed to her that he’d considered killing his own father once. This sparked a dark light in Jennifer, who began to imagine how much better her life would be without her parents. If her parents were dead, she could live as she pleased and inherit $500,000 CDN.


Jennifer Pan is currently behind bars and has served nearly ten years of her life sentence.

Watch the trailer here:


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