Three gang members will receive sentences of more than a decade in prison after entering no contest pleas in connection with the shooting deaths of two men in 2004.
Evidence presented during the seven-day preliminary hearing that started April 29 suggested the killings were gang-related.
On June 3, 2004, the three defendants, George Onesavanh, 25, and Sam Khim, 26, both of Stockton and David Sidavong, 19, of Modesto were at the Saigon Market in downtown Modesto when they saw a car pass that was driven by Edward Peoples, according to a statement released Thursday by the district attorney's office.
The defendants recognized Peoples, 26, and Ramone Rosado, 17, both of Modesto. They began to follow them in another vehicle, according to the statement.
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As the trio pulled up beside the two, Sidavong handed Onesavanh a handgun. He fired about 10 times, killing Peoples and Rosado, according to the news release.
Before the shooting, according to testimony during the preliminary hearing, someone in Peoples' car yelled "C-DUB," a reference to the gang CWA or Cambodians With Attitude.
Onesavanh and Khim were members of a gang called Asian Boyz and Sidavong was a member of the Modesto branch of Asian Boyz, the news release said.
Testimony during the preliminary hearing suggested that Peoples and Rosado had been at a party about a month earlier when a Cambodians With Attitude member shot and killed two members of Asian Boyz.
Trouble with proof
Authorities at the time of the second shooting said they believed it was in retaliation for the shooting at the party.
"We could not prove definitively that the second shooting was in retaliation of the first shooting," Assistant District Attorney Carol Shipley said in an e-mail Thursday.
Onesavanh was convicted of two counts of voluntary manslaughter and personally using a firearm. Khim was convicted of one count of voluntary manslaughter and being armed during the commission of the crime, and Sidavong of one count of voluntary manslaughter. All three had gang enhancements.
An agreement was made between the prosecution, defense counsel and the court for Onesa-vanh to receive 21 years in state prison, Khim to receive 14 years in state prison and Sidavong to receive 13 years in state prison.
District Attorney Birgit Fladager cited several reasons for the plea agreement: potential problems of proof at trial, witness memory problems and that a key witness in the Onesavanh car recently had been arrested on unrelated charges.
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2235.