IKO TRIAL: Trial testimony concludes
Alameda County prosecutor Tim Wellman offered the last of the 38 witnesses he presented in the trial of Quochuy “Tony” Tran on Monday. Tran, 19, of Oakland, is accused of killing Ichinkhorloo “Iko” Bayarsaikhan on the night of October 31, 2007 during a botched robbery attempt in Washington Park.
Defense attorney Annie Beles rested her case without presenting any witnesses, ending testimony in the trial. Closing arguments are slated for Thursday in Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carrie Panetta’s courtroom.
Mylan Cheng said she was sitting in Spanish class at Oakland High School on November 1, 2007 when Tran, who she described as a close friend, beckoned her to come out in the hall with him.
“I did something bad,” Tran allegedly told Cheng.
“I asked him, what did he do,” Cheng, who is now 20, said. “He said he shot somebody.”
Tran, who Cheng said was “tearing up” as he told her what happened, then asked Cheng to take care of his mother when the police came to get him, she said. She later became aware that Bayarsaikhan had been shot in Alameda and wrote an essay titled “Murder in Alameda” that attracted the attention of police several months after the shooting.
A 17-year-old Oakland girl who said she was with Tran and others in the hours leading up to the Halloween 2007 shooting of Ichinkhorloo “Iko” Bayarsaikhan described the group’s movements Monday. She said she came to Alameda that night with a group that included Tran, her brother and her then-boyfriend to go trick-or-treating. The Island is not naming her because she is a minor.
The teen described a series of confrontations members of the group became involved in before entering Washington Park, where Bayarsaikhan was shot and killed.
She said she said she saw her brother pull a gun that was apparently his after a girl “said something to him that he felt (was) disrespectful.” After that the witness’s brother, who she said had since handed the gun off to her boyfriend, chased down a van whose occupants had tossed an egg at the group. The group then confronted two girls and a boy, one of whom apparently recognized the witness’s boyfriend. Wellman said the group had sought to rob the trio.
The witness said the group then decided to go back to Oakland, but missed the bus that they had hoped would take them home. So the boys went into Washington Park, where they had spotted another group. The witness and another girl who was with the group – Tran’s girlfriend – waited on the sidewalk, she said.
“I thought they were just going in there to mess with them,” the witness said of the confrontation that followed. She said she heard a male voice say something like “give me your wallet,” but she wasn’t sure who said it.
The witness said she heard several shots ring out, and then one more that was followed by a girl’s scream. She then saw the boys running out of the park and she ran with them, she said. She said her boyfriend separated from the group but then rejoined it before boarding an Oakland-bound bus, where some of the youths speculated about whether they had shot the victim in the leg.
She said she and her boyfriend, who claimed he fired the initial shots but that Tran had fired the final shot, learned Bayarsaikhan had died from watching the television news the next morning. They decided to try to hide their involvement, she said.
“We just said, ‘We’re not going to talk about this.’ And we weren’t going to tell anyone,” she said.
She admitted she “was not honest” with police when they pulled her out of school to talk with her on November 8 because she was fearful she and the others would go to jail. But she said she later relented and told police what happened, she said.
She was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony.
A third witness, who is an Alameda teen, said she and her then-boyfriend were looking at a picture in the window of Spritzer’s coffee shop near Washington Park when they heard something that sounded like gunshots, at around 10 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. that Halloween. She said she then saw five or six people run past her, and that someone shouted “PoPo,” a reference to police. She said she also heard someone tell the group to hop on the bus and also, “Oakland High.”
The witness said she saw a police car sitting outside a store at the corner of Central Avenue and Webster Street, near the park, but that she kept walking. She learned of Bayarsaikhan’s death at school the next day, she said.
Alameda Police Sgt. Joe McNiff also appeared on the witness stand Monday, as did an inspector from the district attorney’s office.
Tran is facing a single murder charge in connection with Bayarsaikhan’s death. Five other youths have already been convicted in juvenile court in connection with the slaying.