It took a jury less than a day to convict a Pinole man of first-degree murder today in the death of his then-girlfriend and mother of his child, concluding a case that had been cold for more than a decade. Raymond Wong is facing 50 years to life in prison for the 1999 killing of 21-year-old Alice Sin, whose body was left to decompose near a badger’s den in rural Nevada.
Defense attorney Tony Serra surprised many of the trial’s observers when he called Wong to testify earlier this month. Despite Wong’s instance on his own innocence, prosecutor Mary Knox attempted during the trial to poke holes in his explanations of how his live-in girlfriend, who was pregnant with their second child at the time, suddenly disappeared. Police said that in late Nov. 1999, Wong drove Sin to Nevada with his other girlfriend, Jessica Tang, who also had a child with Wong. Wong called police on Nov. 22, 1999, to report the Diablo Valley College student was missing.
Though police quickly identified Wong as a person of interest in the case, they were unable to link him to the murder until Dec. 2011, when he was caught trying to re-enter the country at San Francisco International Airport using a fake passport. The case took various twists and turns as police found email evidence that appeared to discuss alibis and referenced the murder.
Police said there was also evidence indicating Wong had emailed several Bay Area news organizations in 2000 claiming to be from a white supremacist group that hinted the group was involved in Sin’s killing. During their investigation into the murder, police uncovered child pornography on several of Wong’s computers. He was later convicted of possessing child pornography, served jail time and was required to register as a sex offender. Customs officers alerted Pinole police to Wong’s reentry into the country, and coupled with the previously undisclosed admission of Tang’s involvement in the murder, authorities were able to compile enough evidence to charge Wong.
In an earlier interview, Serra said Tang’s confession to her own complicity in the case held “zero credibility.” He called the evidence against Wong “purely circumstantial” but admitted that there were certain dimensions of the case that were “very ugly” and would be emotionally trying for the jury. “The decedent was believed to be four months pregnant and that makes the jury emotionally oriented instead of logically oriented,” Serra said.
“Their emotional instincts will speak loudly instead of their rationality.” The corpse was decomposed and found with four bullet wounds and surrounding shell casings. Knox said the body was also mutilated but Serra has said that was the work of badgers.
Knox said Sin’s family was grateful for the jury’s decision today. “I, and Alice’s parents and friends, am incredibly grateful for the attention that the jury paid to the evidence during a long and contentious trial,” Knox said. Wong’s sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 18, Knox said.
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