A Santee psychologist was convicted Thursday of conspiring with a patient to kill an acupuncturist who had won a $119,000 judgment against the doctor.
Dr. Donald Sonn, 33, was convicted in Superior Court before Judge Bernard Revak, after a jury deliberated one day, of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, which carries a penalty of 25 years to life in state prison.
Sonn was also found guilty of two counts of soliciting the murder of William Yeung, the acupuncturist, who testified in Sonn's trial.
Sonn admitted discussing the proposed killing with Richard Hopkins, 30, his patient, who testified as the prosecution's first witness April 17 under a grant of immunity.
Sentencing for Sonn, who will remain in custody, was set for June 1.
Sonn's dispute with Yeung began after he began taking acupuncture lessons from him in 1980. He sued Yeung, but Yeung countersued with a business slander suit, and the acupuncturist won a $119,000 default judgment in 1985.
Hopkins testified that he took a baseball bat and nylon rope to use against Yeung, but changed his mind after several hours of waiting for him. He said he told another psychologist about the plot, and that doctor notified police.