Former Harbor football player loses appeal on murder conviction

A former Newport Harbor High School football player convicted of pushing and killing a Newport Beach store clerk during a shoplifting dispute lost an appeal of his 2010 murder conviction, according to court documents.

Weston Scott Kruger, 33, appealed his conviction on grounds that the jury did not receive proper instructions and that the prosecution was unable to prove robbery, which was necessary for a felony murder conviction, according to a copy of the appeal decision.

In 2007, Kruger tried stealing an adult magazine from Sportsman's Liquor Store by putting it in his pants. Store owner Hao "Tony" Huynh ran after Kruger to retrieve the magazine, but the 275 pound, 6-foot-5 Kruger pushed him so hard he hit his head on the pavement.

Kruger stood over the man, taunting him, before Huynh's friend who was in a nearby bar told Kruger to leave.

Huynh, who owned the liquor store for 15 years, died at Hoag Hospital from the blunt force trauma two days later.

The appeal court upheld his conviction Monday and ordered Kruger to serve the remainder of his sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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