San Diego


A transvestite prostitute was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in state prison for killing a potential customer.

However, Kenny Chow, 30, of San Diego, will probably be released on parole soon because he has already served 5 1/2 years in custody for the 1983 killing of Joseph Sardina, a fisherman.

Chow was arrested Jan. 15, 1983, for the fatal stabbing of Sardina, who had allegedly solicited Chow, who was dressed as a woman, for an oral sex act in downtown San Diego in the early morning.


Chow was convicted May 17, 1983, of second-degree murder and sentenced to 16 years to life. On April 8, the 4th District Court of Appeal overturned his conviction, citing the alleged incompetence of his attorney, who did not ask the judge to read an instruction for involuntary manslaughter to the jury.

To avoid a second trial, Chow pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Herbert Exarhos gave Chow credit for the 5 1/2 years in custody but left the decision about his release to prison officials.

In his 1983 trial, Chow claimed he stabbed the fisherman in self-defense after Sardina tried to choke him. Chow’s lover, Terrence McClanahan, 28, was also charged with murder, but the same jury acquitted him of all charges.