The teardrops, chin music and especially neck art against Caucasian skin scream white motorcycle club prospect, but according to prosecutors Anthony Paul Johnson Jr. belongs to a Vietnamese street gang that knows him as "White Boy." Indeed, the Westminster 35-year-old is said to be so tight with the Vietnamese gang that he's accused of carrying out a murder on its behalf.
"White Boy" Johnson now also belongs to another exclusive club, our Ugly Police Mugshot of the Week lineup.
The murder trial against Johnson, Giang Thuy Nguyen, 36, of Fountain Valley, Tam Hung Nguyen, 36, of Riverside, and Truc Ngoc Tran, 34, Santa Ana, began this week. All face life in state prison without the possibility of parole with convictions.
Viet Nguyen and two other members of his gang wore masks the morning of Feb. 24, 1995, when they pulled a home invasion robbery at the Huntington Beach house of one of the 18-year-old's Ocean View High School classmates. But Viet Nguyen booked it in the middle of the hit because he believed he may have been recognized. That left the other two gang members, who prosecutors claim were Johnson and Giang Nguyen, to fend for themselves.
That same evening, Johnson, Giang Nguyen, Tam Nguyen, and Tran are accused of meeting at a house in Midway City and conspiring to murder Viet Nguyen in retaliation for abandoning them and to prevent him from implicating the other robbers, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
Here's how prosecutors say it went down early in the next morning, Feb. 25, 1995: Johnson and Giang Nguyen convinced Viet Nguyen to drive Tam Nguyen's van for a drug run while the owner sat in the back. During the ride, Tam Nguyen is said to have faked an illness to get Viet Nguyen to pull over onto the shoulder of the 73 freeway in Costa Mesa. Tam Nguyen then allegedly pulled out a semi-automatic and shot Viet Nguyen execution-style in the back of the head.
Tran, who had been secretly following the van, picked up Tam Nguyen, and they and the other gang members are accused of meeting later in Anaheim to cook up alibis--not only for law enforcement but other gang members by falsely blaming the murder on a Costa Mesa drug dealer.
The case went cold until 2006, when new information came in that prompted Costa Mesa homicide detectives to re-investigate, with assistance from the OCDA.
Each defendant is charged with: one felony count of murder and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder with sentencing enhancement allegations for murder by lying in wait and committing a crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang.
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Giang Nguyen faces additional sentencing enhancements for murder to avoid arrest and crime-bail-crime, indicating that he was out of custody on bail for another criminal case at the time of the murder.
Tam Nguyen faces an additional sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm.
This week's ugly mugger "White Boy" Johnson faces an additional sentencing enhancement for murder to avoid arrest.