4 Suspects in Tay Case Postpone Arraignment
Four defendants in the brutal slaying of Foothill High honor student Stuart A. Tay had their arraignment postponed in Orange County Superior Court Friday morning.
By waiving their right to a speedy trial, the young men--indicted Monday by the Orange County Grand Jury on charges of first-degree murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait--put off entering pleas until March 29. All are students at Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton and remain in custody without bail, one in Orange County Jail, three in Juvenile Hall.
The arraignment was postponed in part because one defendant, Mun Kang, 17, has switched lawyers for the second time. “They wanted someone local,” explained Santa Ana attorney Ronald G. Brower, who replaced Michael Hannon, a Los Angeles lawyer.
On Friday, Judge Michael Brenner sealed the transcripts of the three-day grand jury hearing that led to the indictment.
Robert Chan, 18, the accused ringleader in the killing who also faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon and murder for financial gain, is eligible for the death penalty in the case. Kang, Abraham Acosta, 16, and Kirn Kim, 17, face life imprisonment without parole. They were ordered by a judge last week to stand trial as adults.
A fifth defendant, Charles Choe, pleaded guilty last week in Juvenile Court as part of a plea bargain and will testify against the others.
At Friday’s brief hearing, the young men bowed their heads and sometimes hid their faces as they stood behind their lawyers and said they did not mind postponing the arraignment.
Chan’s mother sat stoically in the back of the courtroom with a friend. Half a dozen of Kim’s relatives--including his parents, who begged the judge last week to let Kim remain in Juvenile Court to no avail--also attended the hearing.
A brief squabble erupted in the courtroom when Chan’s lawyer, Marshall M. Schulman, refused to comply with the Deputy Dist. Atty. Lewis R. Rosenblum’s request for a blood test on the defendant.