Misdemeanor case against man charged in murder of Syracuse University student moves forward

Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

Cameron Isaac is charged in the murder of Syracuse University student Xiaopeng "Pippen" Yuan. He appeared in city court Tuesday for a separate but related tampering charge.

A misdemeanor case against one of the men charged with murdering a Syracuse University student moved forward after a pretrial hearing in Syracuse City Court on Tuesday.

Cameron Isaac, 23, was charged in December with tampering with a witness in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor. He and his lawyer, Lance Cimino, appeared before Judge James Cecile on Tuesday for a pretrial hearing, during which they discussed the available evidence and how the case would proceed, Cecile said.

Cimino did not return phone calls on Tuesday.

Isaac was given a new court date, April 6, which Cecile said will be another pretrial hearing. At Isaac’s Jan. 19 court appearance, Cimino had said he would seek to have the tampering charges dismissed.

Isaac received the tampering charge in early December after he allegedly asked a witness not to testify against him in the murder case.

During the next month and a half, Isaac’s defense will undergo the discovery phase, during which they will turn over information about evidence and witnesses.

Isaac, along with Ninimbe Mitchell, 20, was charged in the fall with the October murder of Xiaopeng “Pippen” Yuan, who was a Syracuse University student from China. Isaac and Mitchell were arrested in November and formally charged with murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.

Last month, Isaac was indicted on first-degree murder, an upgrade from the original second-degree charge.

Isaac faces the murder, robber and criminal possession of a weapon charges in Onondaga County Court.

In January, Cimino said it was possible that the tampering charge could also end up being included in county court. But whether it stays in city court or moves to county court, Cimino said he will seek to have the charge dismissed.

Yuan, 23, of China, was found dead behind the Springfield Garden Apartments located on Caton Drive on Sept. 30. Authorities have said the two suspects arranged to meet him at the apartments for what was believed to be a drug transaction. Isaac and Mitchell are accused of robbing Yuan before shooting and killing him.

Isaac and Mitchell have been held since Nov. 17 in the Onondaga County Justice Center without bail.


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