Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDERING NEWPORT BEACH LIQUOR STORE CLERK TO STEAL A PORNOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
*At the time of the murder, the defendant was out of custody on bail for two unrelated felony cases
SANTA ANA – A Newport Beach man was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison for murdering a liquor store owner who confronted him about stealing a pornographic magazine. At the time of the murder, the defendant was out of custody on two other unrelated felony cases for domestic violence and residential burglary. Weston Scott Kruger, 32, was found guilty by a jury May 5, 2010, of one felony count of murder.
Homicide Case (Case # 07HF1539)
On the afternoon of July 28, 2007, Kruger entered Sportsman Liquor Store at 2615 Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach. He hid 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 walked out of the liquor store as Huynh followed him out and refused to let go of the magazine as the victim attempted to get it back. Kruger turned to the victim and violently shoved him, causing Huynh to fly through the air and fall to the ground, landing on the back of his head. The defendant picked up the magazine and briefly stood over the victim with a clenched fist to make sure that Huynh did not get up, and then fled 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 was in possession of the stolen magazine and the shirt seen on the assailant in the surveillance video.
At the time of the murder, Kruger was out of custody on bail for two unrelated felony cases.
Domestic Violence Case (Case # 06HF1684)