The California Supreme Court refused Thursday to review the case of a San Gabriel Valley marijuana grower who is serving a 25-year-to-life prison term for killing a Chinese national whose decomposing body was found in a car trunk in Monterey Park.
In an Oct. 22 ruling, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence against Andy Yalau Chen to prove that the shooting of Min Gu was premeditated.
The 30-year-old man’s body was discovered March 21, 2016, after a Monterey Park resident reported a foul odor coming from a Lexus near her home in the 200 block of South Lincoln Avenue. Gu had been shot multiple times, including in the head, according to the appellate court panel’s ruling.
Jurors also convicted Chen of one count of cultivating marijuana inside his Temple City home.
Authorities determined that Chen had been one of the last people in contact with Gu, who was reported missing nearly a month earlier. Investigators got a warrant to search Chen’s home, which led them to suspect that Gu was killed there as the result of a financial dispute.
The appellate court panel noted that Gu — who made a living as a “loan shark” — had loaned somewhere between $3,000 and $30,000 to Chen, who had given him a Rolex watch as collateral, and that Gu was concerned about repayment of the loan and had threatened to report Chen’s marijuana grow operation to authorities.
“Gu’s body was also found with his empty wallet despite the fact that he always carried large amount of cash on his person. Chen also took back the Rolex which he had given Gu as collateral for the loan,” the justices noted.
Chen was arrested early the following month. He was wearing a Rolex watch and carrying nearly $2,800 in cash at the time, according to the appellate court panel’s opinion.
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