Sheriff's officials say SR man is member of Asian Boyz, helped plan crime against Vutha Au, who was killed near Jenner

  • 3/15/2008:A1: Vutha Au

    3/6/2008: A1: Vutha Au

    PC: Photo from DMV License photo copy of Vutha Au. CDL info states "Photo date 4/21/06" "Issued 2/22/2007". Vuth Au was in state's witness protection program when he was killed, a prosecutor said. (Press Democrat/ via DMV driver license)

A Santa Rosa man who allegedly helped plan the kidnapping and murder of a witness in a Sonoma County gang trial was arrested Tuesday morning, authorities said.

The arrest comes nine months after members of the Asian Boyz street gang allegedly drove 24-year-old Vutha Au of Santa Rosa to a beach near Jenner and shot him nine times.

Boonlack Chanpheng, 27, of Santa Rosa was arrested after leaving his house at about 9:30 a.m., sheriff's officials said.

Sgt. Dave Thompson said Chanpheng is a member of the Asian Boyz, who allegedly helped plan the crime against Au, and "that puts him as a conspirator to murder and kidnapping."

Authorities believe Au was killed so he couldn't testify on behalf of his brother, 22-year-old Terry Au, who has alleged he also was kidnapped and tortured by the same gang when he decided to stop running drugs for them.

Quentin Russell, 25; Preston Khaoone, 22; Tyrone Tay, 26; and brothers David Prak, 19, and Sarith Prak, 22, remain held without bail at Sonoma County Jail on murder charges.

Thompson said Chanpheng was not at the scene of the killing.

"He helped orchestrate or plan this out, or was in the planning stages," Thompson said. "That's what detectives were able to uncover."

Thompson said detectives from the sheriff's violent-crimes unit pieced together Chanpheng's alleged involvement through searches of phone and bank records, as well as other "investigative avenues."

"That's just the way these investigations kind of unfold in some cases," he said.

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