Man sentenced to life in prison in drive-by shooting death of 8-year-old boy in Pomona


A 37-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the drive-by shooting death of an 8-year-old boy in Pomona in 2017.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours in December before they found Sengchan Houl guilty of one count of first-degree murder, one count of shooting from a motor vehicle and two counts each of shooting at an occupied dwelling and negligent discharge of a firearm, according to Los Angeles Superior Court records.

In February 2017, Houl was in a car when he opened fire on a home in the 1100 block of West 11th Street. Jonah Hwang, 8, was fatally struck in the head.


Prosecutors said Houl had shot at the same house once before the shooting that killed the boy and then twice again afterward.

Jonah was inside the house, which belonged to a family friend that he and his parents and brother were visiting for dinner. Jonah’s parents, Jonny and Karen Hwang, adopted the boy three years earlier from an orphanage in Taiwan, they said at the time.

Sandi Hwang Adam, who said Jonah’s parents are her cousins, told The Times in 2017 that despite the language barrier, she immediately connected with the boy when his parents brought him home.

Adam said: “He was a boy that was just full of joy. When I first met him, newly adopted from Taiwan, he really didn’t speak English, but his playful nature prevailed and he somehow convinced me to compete against him in a running race.” He won.

Twitter: @Hannahnfry