A jury has recommended the death penalty for a 30-year-old man convicted in the 1992 stabbing death of a USC student who had escaped the violence of Cambodia only to die during a holdup at her sister’s Gardena doughnut shop.
Compton Superior Court Judge Steven Suzukawa can accept the panel’s recommendation or hand down a life prison term without parole to Lester W. Virgil during sentencing May 19.
Virgil was found guilty of murder, robbery and assault charges in the slaying of Soy Song Lao, 21. She was stabbed about 35 times in the chest as she worked a weekend afternoon shift at the El Segundo Avenue doughnut shop. The attacker fled with about $60.