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Crime & Justice

Arraignment pushed back to June for UCLA professor in fiery death of lab assistant


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A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has once again pushed back an arraignment hearing for a UCLA chemistry professor who faces felony charges in a deadly school lab fire.

Flanked by his legal team, Patrick Harran briefly appeared in court where, for a third and final time, the judge delayed Harran’s arraignment until early June. Defense attorneys have requested time to continue plea negotiations.

He faces felony criminal charges in an accident three years ago that fatally burned a 23-year-old research assistant, Sheharbano Sangji. She was not wearing a protective lab coat when a chemical she was handling ignited.

Prosecutors say Harran and the UC Board of Regents failed to prevent or correct unsafe working conditions.

This is the first time authorities have filed criminal charges involving an academic lab death.

If a jury convicts him, Harran faces a four-and-a-half year sentence. The regents may have to pay several million dollars in fines.