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Hearing Postponed for UCLA Professor Charged in Lab Death Case

Patrick Harran is charged with three counts of willful violation of an occupational safety and health standard causing the death of an employee.

The preliminary hearing for a UCLA professor charged in a 2008 lab fire that caused the death of a research assistant has been postponed until November.

Patrick Harran, an organic chemistry professor, will return to court Nov. 16. His preliminary hearing was originally scheduled for Tuesday.

Harran last appeared in court in September, when he pleaded not guilty to three counts of willful violation of an occupational safety and health standard causing the death of an employee. The charges stem from a Dec. 29, 2008 laboratory fire that resulted in the death of Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji about two and a half weeks later.

Sangji—who was not wearing a lab coat—suffered second- and third-degree burns as she was transferring a highly flammable chemical agent, tert-Butyllithium, when it spilled from a syringe and onto her hands, arms and body and ignited, according to the agreement. She died 18 days later as a result of her injuries.

See also: UPDATE: UCLA Professor Pleads Not Guilty in Laboratory Death Case

Harran, 43, was ordered to return to court to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.

Harran faces four and a half years in prison of convicted of the charges, according to the District Attorney's Office.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

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