OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A 14-year-old Oakland high school student has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and robbery for allegedly causing the death of a store owner in a violent confrontation over two bottles of vodka.
The boy, whose name was not disclosed because he is a juvenile, admitted to the crimes at a hearing last week and is scheduled to be sentenced by Alameda County Juvenile Court Commissioner Mark Kliszewski on Sept. 23.
Authorities said 57-year-old Dong Suk Kang died after suffering a heart attack following a confrontation with the boy at the Oak Knoll Market at 7980 Mountain Blvd. in Oakland at 11:35 a.m. on May 31.
The boy, who was accompanied by two teenage girls, was supposed to be at the nearby Youth Empowerment School at the time.
Authorities said it appears that Kang’s heart attack was triggered by the anxiety he experienced during the incident.
Prosecutor Matt Golde said Friday that authorities do not think that the boy intended to cause Kang to die but under felony murder rules he initially charged the boy with murder because he believes the facts of the case supported such a charge.
He said if someone dies during the course of a violent crime, such as a robbery, the suspect is responsible for the victim’s death.
Authorities said the incident occurred after the boy, who had previously been banned from the store for knocking over display cases and causing other problems, entered the store on Tuesday morning and Kang saw him take two bottles of vodka.
Kang tried to stop the boy, but a violent pushing and shoving match began and the boy eventually fled the store, authorities said.
Kang got into his car to follow the juvenile but loand the boy eventually fled the store, authorities said.
Kang got into his car to follow the juvenile but lost consciousness a few blocks away and his car swerved to a stop. He died at Highland Hospital in Oakland.
Golde said he believes “the boy is clearly guilty of murder” and “he intended to fight, rob and intimidate” Kang.
He said the boy treated Kang’s store “as his own pantry to take what he wanted” because he had robbed the store many times before.
But Golde said he accepted a plea to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter because the goal of the juvenile court system is to rehabilitate youths instead of severely punishing them.
Golde said the boy’s plea means that “he admits causing the death.”
Sentencing options for the boy range from being released to his family, which is unlikely, to a commitment at a juvenile camp or group home or being incarcerated at a state Department of Juvenile Justice facility, where he could be held until the age of 20, Golde said.
The boy’s attorney, John McDougall, couldn’t be reached for comment on the boy’s plea.
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