When Walter Taylor placed the call that would lead to Tian Zin Wang's violent death last year, he did more than set a murder in motion. He shattered the man's family, leaving members homeless and without their spiritual and economic provider.
Taylor, who pleaded guilty last week to Wang's robbery and murder, had little to say Wednesday in Baltimore Circuit Court during his sentencing, other than a mumbled "I'm sorry." Following the conditions of his plea agreement, the 29-year-old was sentenced to life in prison, with all but 40 years of the term suspended.
According to court records, Taylor placed a carryout order at Wang's China Garden restaurant in Oldtown Mall. Then he and an accomplice robbed Wang, 51, and left him for dead, shot five times. Taylor took the food — an order of orange chicken, curry chicken and beef fried rice — to his girlfriend's that night for dinner.
One of Wang's last acts, his family said, was to call his wife for help.
"Even when he was shot, he still thought about family," Wang's daughter, Jing Na Wang, tearfully told a judge Wednesday as an interpreter translated her Chinese into English.
She, a cousin, and her mother described Wang as a hard-working man devoted to his family's happiness and looking forward to time with his new grandchild, whom he never got to hold. He ran the restaurant, paid the bills and held his family together.
After his death, the mortgage payments piled up, and the family lost its home, they said. His children had to move out of state for work. And his wife cried day and night.
"Having no father anymore, we all feel the family has been broken," Jing Na Wang said.
"The actions of Mr. Taylor were clearly heinous, cowardly," said Judge Barry Williams. They "robbed [the Wang] family of a husband and a father."