Mostly cloudy

Jenner beach murder trial to be heard by two juries

Two separate juries will hear the trial of four Santa Rosa gang members charged with killing the brother of a witness in 2008 in a beach parking lot near Jenner.

One panel will decide the fate of the alleged Asian Boyz ringleader, Preston Khaoone, 26, while the other will review the evidence against the accused shooter, Quentin Russell, 28, and brothers Sarith and David Prak, 25 and 23.

All four men are charged with kidnapping and murdering Vutha Au, 24, allegedly in retaliation for his brother's testimony in another gang-related case. They face life in prison without parole if convicted.

The dual juries were granted this week as an alternative to separate trials. Selection begins Wednesday with opening statements in about three weeks. Both juries will be seated together in an extra-large courtroom.

"The juries will hear most of the case together but there will be some evidence that is only heard by one jury," prosecutor Traci Carrillo said outside court Tuesday.

The 4-year-old case is moving ahead after numerous delays. It was postponed last year after two former co-defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Tyrone Tay of Suisun and Boonlak Chanpheng of Santa Rosa admitted kidnapping with gang enhancements. Chanpheng sent text-messages arranging Au's abduction and Tay delivered Au to the other co-defendants in his car.

They were sentenced to 18 years and 15 years in prison, respectively.

An earlier delay came when prosecutors were deciding whether to seek the death penalty. Then-District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua announced in October 2010 that he would not.

Now, the men who prosecutors say were present when Au was shot nine times in the Blind Beach parking lot will go to trial.

© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View