Crime

Fresno man found guilty of killing his father

Peter Yang
Peter Yang

A Fresno man was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of his unarmed father last year at the front doorway of the family’s southeast apartment.

Peter Yang, 26, showed no reaction when the verdict was announced in Fresno County Superior Court.

He now faces 50 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 23.

A jury of six men and six women deliberated only 80 minutes before finding Yang guilty of killing his father, Foung Yang, who was shot six times in the face, neck, right shoulder and back.

During the trial, prosecutor Gabriel Brickey told jurors that the slaying “was a cold-blooded execution” because the victim only had a bag of apricots in his hand.

Peter Yang, however, testified he was protecting his family when he fatally shot his 59-year-old father.

He told the jury that his father had molested and beaten him as a child and recently had molested Peter Yang’s two young sons.

Yang also complained that his father came and went as he pleased, often asked him for money and did drugs in the apartment.

In addition, he testified that his father did not love him or his siblings because his father felt obliged to marry their mother who was first married to Foung Yang’s brother in Laos. When his brother died, Foung Yang married his brother’s wife, his son testified. “In the Hmong culture, we don’t let women be stranded, left alone,” Peter Yang explained to the jury.

The shooting happened around 6:30 p.m. June 6, 2014, at Torrey Ridge Apartments on Clovis Avenue near Tulare Avenue.

When Foung Yang died he had opiates in his body, defense attorney Scott Baly told the jury.

Peter Yang told the jury he also had drugs in his system when he shot his father. He said he had ingested methamphetamine in order to stay awake and protect his children from his father.

Tension was high, Baly said, because Peter Yang, who had been injured in a car wreck, took care of their two sons, ages 6 and 3, while his wife worked at a retirement home. Baly said Peter Yang was upset with his father because Foung Yang often smoked opium and abused methamphetamine in the apartment when the children were there.

On the day of the killing, father and son had a physical altercation before the father left to take Peter Yang’s wife to work. When Foung Yang returned to the apartment, he was carrying a plastic bag filled with apricots, Brickey said. He knocked on the front door several times before his son answered.

Without warning, Peter Yang fired his Glock 19 eight times at his father, who was five feet away, said Brickey, who demonstrated for the jury how Yang held the gun with both hands and in a shooting stance.

On the witness stand, Yang explained that he feared his father, and that when he started firing the gun all he could see was his sons’ faces. “I’m thinking he’s going to attack me,” he said. “At the time I am only thinking of my children.”

Brickey, however, told the jury that Yang’s account of his father’s abusive behavior was unsubstantiated. Peter Yang also never mentioned to detectives the molestation allegations.

Brickey said Yang was never in imminent danger because he was less than half his father’s age and his father was likely lethargic from being high on opium. Peter Yang also didn’t suffer any injuries to show he had been in a fight with his father, Brickey said.

“You didn’t give him a chance,” Brickey told Yang.

Pablo Lopez: 559-441-6434, @beecourts

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