|For Immediate Release
Case # 07HF1539
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING NEWPORT BEACH LIQUOR STORE CLERK TO STEAL
A PORNOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
SANTA ANA – A Newport Beach man faces trial tomorrow for murdering a liquor store owner who confronted him about stealing a pornographic magazine. Weston Scott Kruger, 31, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of a robbery. If convicted of the murder, Kruger faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, April 27, 2010, in Department C-29, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
On the afternoon of July 28, 2007, Kruger is accused of entering Sportsman Liquor Store at 2615 Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach. He is accused of hiding a pornographic magazine under his shirt with the intention of stealing it before approaching the counter to purchase a pack of cigarettes. While Kruger was standing at the counter he was confronted by the clerk, store owner Hao Huynh, who could see the stolen magazine that the defendant was attempting to conceal.
Kruger is accused of walking out of the liquor store as Huynh followed him out. The defendant is accused of refusing to let go of the magazine as the victim attempted to get it back. He is accused of turning to the victim and violently shoving him, causing Huynh to fly through the air and fall to the ground, landing on the back of his head. Kruger is accused of picking up the magazine and briefly standing over the victim with a clenched fist to make sure that Huynh did not get up. Kruger is accused of then fleeing the scene with the stolen pornographic magazine.
Huynh was transported to the hospital, where he died the following day due to traumatic injuries to his brain. The victim had owned and worked at Sportsman Liquor Store with his wife since 1992. The victim’s wife was in the store at the time of the murder.
The incident was captured on video surveillance. An uninvolved witness in the parking lot identified Kruger, with whom he had gone to high school. When officers later searched the defendant’s home, Kruger is accused of being in possession of the stolen magazine and the shirt seen on the assailant in the surveillance video.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.