He added, "Why would they have yelled the gang's name if there weren't any gang members there? It doesn't make sense. . . . Once a gang member, according to Walker, always a gang member."
Avdeef, a former prosecutor, also asserted that V Boys wasn't even a criminal street gang. Backing him up in court was Glend Padua (a.k.a. "The Cripster"), a self-proclaimed ex-member of the Asian Boys, a Little Saigon gang closely allied with V Boys. Padua testified that he joined the gang when he was 16 years old "just to be part of a group." During his four-year stint with Asian Boys, he'd never heard of them committing a single crime, he said.
"We'd just hang out, you know, go out," Padua testified. "We're just a group of friends. . . . We'd fight to defend ourselves but we didn't go out looking for trouble."
This witness also claimed that he'd watched Phu being "jumped out" of the V Boys in December 2000—six years before the assault on the girl.
"They [the remaining gang members] beat you for as long as they want to show you you made a mistake [by leaving]," Padua explained to Avdeef's questions. "It's a ritual. You get out so you have no allegiance to them and you can go on your merry way."
The prosecutor ridiculed Padua's testimony and derided the attack on Walker but said he understood its motive. The detective's work had placed Phu at a July 31, 2005, V Boys shooting at a Westminster restaurant. Moreover, he'd put Phu under surveillance for a month after the 2006 assault on the girl and found him living at a V Boys "crash pad" on McClure Avenue in Westminster. When Walker conducted a search there, he found several Dallas Cowboys number 22 jerseys pinned to walls, photos of gang members flashing hand signs and a memento celebrating the life of a dead V Boy.
Said Bryan in his closing argument, "Is that how you'd expect to find Phu living if he'd really given up that life?"
On Jan. 23—after less than two hours of deliberations—the jury convicted Phu of committing aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (his foot) and for participating in a gang. (They voted not guilty on a second assault charge because police were unable to find the injured Latino who'd rescued the victim.) The bailiff immediately slapped handcuffs on Phu and sent him to the Orange County Jail. Superior Court Judge Daniel Didier is scheduled to announce punishment on March 9. For five minutes of stupidity, Phu faces as much as four years in a California prison.