Bookie killer faces life in prison
Andrew Toon Wong was convicted this week on two counts of first-degree murder after killing two bookies he owed money for gambling debts.
The 23-year-old former assistant night manager of an Alameda Safeway store may receive life in prison without parole when he’s sentenced on Nov. 30.
Wong was convicted of killing cookie deliveryman David Wells, 62, on July 31, 2008. Then, back in debt again, he killed coworker Quang “John” Quach, 36, on April 3, 2009. He owed them around $9,000 over sports bets he had lost.
Both men died from gunshots to the head.
Prosecutor Autrey James explained that Wells was a bookie and Quach acted as a middleman for another bookie.
According to James, Wong admitted to his mother and a friend that he had killed the two bookies, but then when questioned to police, lied and claimed he was innocent.
Wong also sent several telling text messages that said things like: “I’m going to take him out” and “Would you rather owe money to a bank or to someone you can kill?” and “I’ll shoot someone if I keep losing.”
Wong’s attorney, Tim Pori, admitted that while Wong had “bragged, boasted and chatted that he had committed the homicides” there wasn’t enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he actually committed the murders.
Earlier this month, Pori was charged with contempt for not being prepared in time for the double murder trial. However, state appeals court overturned the sentence of five days in jail and a $2,500 fine, because the judge had not followed the necessary legal requirements for a contempt order.
When police arrested Wong in 2009, they found nearly three dozen guns in the Alameda home he shared with his parents.
While he could have received the death penalty, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office decided to seek life in prison without parole instead.