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Newport Beach murder defendant gets 25 years

August 31, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Newport Beach man has been sentenced to 25 years to life for murdering a liquor store clerk three years ago.Weston Scott Kruger, 32, was found guilty of one felony count of murder in May.

Prosecutors said on July 28, 2007, Kruger entered Sportsman Liquor Store at 2615 Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach. According to investigators he hid a pornographic magazine under his shirt with the intention of stealing it before approaching the counter to purchase a pack of cigarettes.

While Kruger was standing at the counter he was confronted by the clerk, store owner Hao Huynh, who spotted the magazine. Kruger walked out of the liquor store as Huynh followed him out. The two struggled over the magazine.

Prosecutors say Kruger turned to the victim and violently shoved him to the ground. Huynh hit the back of his head. They say Kruger picked up the magazine and briefly stood over Huynh with a clenched fist to make sure he did not get up. He then fled with the stolen magazine.

Huynh was transported to the hospital where he died the following day due to traumatic brain injuries.

The incident was caught on surveillance video. A witness in the parking lot identified Kruger, with whom he had gone to high school. Officer's later searched Kruger's home and found the stolen magazine and the shirt resembling the one worn by the suspect in the videotape. Kruger was later arrested.

At the time of the murder, Kruger was out of custody on bail for two unrelated felony cases, including domestic violence.

Hao Huynh had owned and worked at Sportsman Liquor Store with his wife since 1992. His wife was in the store at the time of the incident.


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