Man convicted in murder of store owner


A Baltimore County Circuit Court jury took 5 1/2 hours to find a 21-year-old Vietnamese immigrant guilty of first-degree murder, robbery and burglary in the 1989 shooting death of a Randallstown liquor store owner.

Tony Cao, the accused, was convicted Wednesday of the murder and robbery of In Gyu Choe, 54, a Korean immigrant gunned down in his Randallstown home Oct. 21, 1989.

Judge Barbara K. Howe ordered a presentence investigation. No sentencing date was set.

Cao faces a maximum of life in prison without possibility of parole in the murder plus 60 years for the other convictions.

The verdict came despite strong arguments from Cao's attorney, Stephen Schenning, that the chief evidence against Cao came from a bad witness, Terri Nguyen, who had lied to police and held onto stolen property.

Sandy Williams, an assistant state's attorney, countered by saying Nguyen, 18 at the time of the killing, had lied to police to protect her boyfriend, Song Jin Yun, also known as Johnny Yun.

Now, Williams said, Nguyen was trying to make a break with the past and had no reason to lie.

"Who is she protecting?" Williams said. "Not Johnny Yun. Because she gave us lots of evidence against him. . . . She has no reason

to lie."

Yun, 21, faces a first-degree murder trial Oct. 21 for his alleged part in the killing of Choe.

A third suspect in the killing, Seong Beon "Chris" Yu, 30, of Baltimore, is being sought by Baltimore County police on a first-degree murder warrant.

Yu, who owned his own liquor store in Baltimore, knew the Choe family and hatched the robbery plot, prosecutors said. Prosecutors said Yu drove the getaway car and did not go inside the Choe home the night of the killing.

County police said Yu is 5 feet 6, about 120 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Call 887-3943 with information.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad