Jury convicts Va. man in death of grocer Surprised burglar shot victim 4 times

September 20, 1991|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury took about six hours to convict a Virginia man of breaking into a Randallstown home two years ago and killing the businessman who surprised him and an accomplice.

Thinh Van "Tony" Cao, 21, of Fairfax, Va., was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder, armed robbery, burglary and use of a gun in the death of In Gyu Choe, 54, of the 10,000 block of Liberty Road.

Mr. Choe owned a liquor store and a delicatessen in Prince George's County.

His widow, Su Yeol Choe, 52, testified through a Korean interpreter that she and her 2-year-old granddaughter huddled beneath a blanket just before midnight on Oct. 20, 1989, after a gunman burst into the room, demanding, "Where is your husband?"

She heard gunshots and the sound of the house being ransacked, she testified. Her husband, shot four times, died en route to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

The robbers took a watch, nine 50-cent pieces and the pearl and diamond necklace Mrs. Choe wore every day, she testified.

Mrs. Choe, who now lives in Greenbelt with her children, could not identify Mr. Cao as the thin-faced man she saw that night.

But Terri Nguyen, 20, who was living with her boyfriend Song Jin "Johnny" Yun in Baltimore, identified Mr. Cao as the man who left with him that night to break into cars or burglarize houses, taking two handguns and a sawed-off shotgun with them.

Later Mr. Yun told her that an old man had attacked him and Mr. Cao, and that they had shot him, Ms. Nguyen testified.

Although she admitted she hadn't seen Mr. Cao before, Ms. Nguyen told defense attorney Stephen M. Schenning that she was certain it was him. She also denied any concern about being charged with a crime herself, or any intent to protect her boyfriend.

Mr. Yun, 21, will be tried on the same charges in Caroline County on Oct. 21.

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