One Goh pleaded no contest Tuesday to seven counts of first-degree murder and three counts of premeditated murder for killing seven people in a shooting rampage at Oikos University in Oakland five years ago.
Goh, 48, also pleaded no contest to the special circumstance allegations of committing a murder during a kidnapping and committing multiple murders for the shooting at Oikos, a Christian vocational school located near Oakland International Airport, on April 2, 2012.
Goh’s plea deal calls for him to receive seven consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 271 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Horner on July 14.
Goh’s plea agreement came only two weeks after doctors determined that after receiving years of treatment at Napa State Hospital, he’s now been restored to competency and could face a trial.
Goh’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender David Klaus, said another key factor is that the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office decided not to seek the death penalty for Goh.
District attorney’s office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said:
“Given all the circumstances of this case, such as Mr. Goh’s violent actions and his mental health, we believe that life in prison without the possibility is the appropriate outcome. … The enormity of this crime is unprecedented in our county.”
Killed in the shooting were students Lydia Sim, 21, Sonam Choedon, 33, Grace Kim, 23, Doris Chibuko, 40, Judith Seymour, 53, and Tshering Bhutia, 38, as well as Katleen Ping, 24, who worked at the school.
Five of the victims’ family members attended Goh’s hearing today but they declined to talk to reporters.
Prosecutors said Goh had dropped out of Oikos several months before the shooting and wanted his tuition refunded and targeted an administrator who wasn’t present on the day of the shooting.
Criminal proceedings against Goh were suspended after his lawyers questioned his mental competency to stand trial. On Jan. 7, 2013, a judge ruled that he was incompetent, citing reports by two psychiatrists who examined him, and he was moved to Napa State Hospital a few months later.
Goh underwent a competency hearing in 2015 after a forensic psychologist at the Napa facility found him competent to stand trial, but a judge who also heard testimony from other psychologists ruled that he was still mentally incompetent.
Klaus said that although Goh is now competent enough to undergo criminal proceedings, he believes that Goh is still “deeply mentally ill.” Klaus said there’s no question that Goh carried out the shooting because he immediately confessed to it when he was arrested that day, but the key question in his case was his mental competency.
Klaus said Goh has always been remorseful about carrying out the shooting and at one point he wanted to die because he thought he deserved the death penalty:
“He wants to tell the victims’ family members that he’s deeply sorry.”
Dressed in a light brown T-shirt and sporting glasses and long hair, Goh used a Korean interpreter when he entered his no contest pleas.
It took Horner 30 minutes to read all of the charges and enhancement clauses against Goh.