SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Wing Wo Ma, also known as Fat Mark, received a life sentence Wednesday for murdering a couple in Mendocino over failed investments back in 2013.
A jury convicted Ma of murder and firearms charges, as well as conspiring to distribute drugs, and conspiring to commit honest services fraud and bribery, back in November after a three-week trial.
During the trial, prosecutors revealed evidence that Ma killed Jim Tat Kong and his wife Cindy Bao Feng Chen on Oct. 17, 2013 — Chen’s birthday. Prosecutors say Ma shot the couple as they sat in their minivan near a pot grow in Mendocino County Ma had invested in with Kong’s money.
Evidence later showed that Ma borrowed money from Kong for several failed business ventures, including the pot grow and real estate in Mendocino County. Ma apparently killed Kong and his wife because he feared retribution.
Investigators connected Ma to the shooting via cigarette butts he left at the scene that contained his DNA.
During the investigation, authorities connected Ma to disgraced Oakland Police Lieutenant Harry Hu. Evidence showed that Ma bribed Hu with numerous gifts in exchange for protection from law enforcement.
“Since at least 2008, Ma bribed Hu with airfare for multiple trips to Las Vegas, free accommodation at high-end suites and hotel rooms at Las Vegas casinos, meals and entertainment in Las Vegas and San Francisco, female hostesses at private room bars in Las Vegas and San Francisco, music concert tickets, use of a new Mercedes Benz, and labor for the remodel of Hu’s personal residence,” a Department of Justice press release stated.
Prosecutors also showed evidence that Ma met with Hu shortly after the murders of Kong and Chen. Hu then attempted to mislead the murder investigation by withholding his belief that Ma was involved.
When the judge, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer sentenced Ma to life in prison, per the prosecutors’ request, he described Ma’s murder of Kong and Chen as a “cold-blooded assassination.”
According to the release, Ma’s prosecution resulted from the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, California Department of Justice, and Oakland Police Department.