A man accused in the stabbing deaths of two men, who were attacked last month while playing mah-jongg in a private social club in Chinatown, pleaded not guilty Friday to capital murder charges.
Vinh Dao — who prosecutors allege has a 2002 conviction for manslaughter — is charged in the Jan. 26 deaths of Tony Young and Kim Kong Yon at the Hop Sing Tong Benevolent Association at 428 Gin Ling Way, near the 900 block of North Broadway.
The murder charges include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, along with the allegation that the 37-year-old defendant personally used a knife in the commission of the crimes.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Dao.
Los Angeles police allege that Dao approached Young at the Chinatown club, demanded money to pay for vehicle impound fees and then attacked him with a 6-inch knife when he refused. Young was in his 60s and lived in the Montebello area.
When Yun, 64, of Monterey Park, tried to intervene, he was also fatally stabbed, detectives said.
Dao, who was quickly identified as the alleged killer, was arrested in Rosemead about 24 hours later. A former member of the private club, he had recently returned to Los Angeles after several years in the Las Vegas area, police said.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Hanasono ordered Dao to be held without bail while awaiting his next court appearance April 5. A date is scheduled to be set then for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
—City News Service