Stall in Montessori Killer/Rapist Sentencing

Superior Court Judge William Froeberg had intended to announce punishment this morning for convicted Montessori killer/rapist Jonathan Phong Khanh Tran, 22. But Tran’s mother switched defense lawyers and, through new counsel Al Stokke, asked for a five-month delay. Froeberg granted the request.

The decision means that Tran continues living in the Orange County Jail, where family members can easily visit. A prison sentence could land him at, say, Pelican Bay State Prison near the California-Oregon border. The OCJ isn’t a nice place, but it’s probably more ideal than life inside Pelican Bay or any other state prison.

Between now and September, it’s highly probable that Stokke—known as a clever lawyer with impressive connections—will attempt to overturn Tran’s March 13 convictions. A jury said the gregarious Orange County car salesman was guilty of murdering 15-year-old Hanna Montessori and forcibly raping three other Santa Ana teen prostitutes.

The case won international media attention because Montessori was the runaway, great-great-granddaughter of the founder of world-famous Montessori schools.

Previous OC Weekly coverage of the Tran case includes “Nicest Killer I’ve Ever Met” and “I Want The White Girl.”

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