A Pasadena Superior Court judge on Tuesday meted out the harshest sentence allowable--two consecutive 25-year-to-life terms, plus 11 additional years--to a Taiwanese national convicted in the Feb. 5, 1988, slayings of two federal drug agents and the attempted killing of another.
Michael Su Chia, 20, was not at the bloody shoot-out on a Pasadena street that led to the deaths, but he was convicted of being part a conspiracy that led to the gunfight over an $80,000 heroin deal that went sour.
The alleged gunman, William Wang, 18, of Hacienda Heights, is scheduled to go to trial April 11. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty.
Chia was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and armed robbery and conspiracy. He must serve 40 years of his minimum 61-year sentence before he will be eligible for parole.
In pronouncing sentence, Judge Gilbert C. Alston acknowledged that Chia may have played a “minor” role in the conspiracy but, he added, the Alhambra man had “less pressure to go through with it.”
A “person of character,” the judge said, would have reported to authorities what was about to occur. “That was a duty (Chia) failed (to perform).”
The judge made it clear in other statements that he agreed with the jury that Chia was a willing lookout in a plot to rob the undercover agents, who were posing as drug dealers.
Killed were Special Agents George Montoya and Paul Seema of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Special Agent Jose Martinez survived the attack.
The agents’ backup team killed two of the alleged conspirators.
Chia’s lawyer, Luke McKissack, contending that Alston erred in the sentencing as well as during Chia’s trial, said he would appeal.
Prosecutors said the sentence was justified.