3 charged for execution of liquor store owner

June 16, 2009 7:48:24 PM PDT
It's been nine months since the execution-style killing of a grocery store owner in San Francisco. On Tuesday, three of the five suspects facing charges in connection with that murder appeared in court.

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Relatives of the three adult suspects showed up at the Marin County courthouse for the arraignment, but refused to speak about the arrests of Anchulita Uribe, Sean Washington and Larry Blay.

They were arrested yesterday after a Marin County grand jury handed down indictments for the murder last September of Tong Van Le.

Sources tell ABC7 they are members of a gang in the Alemany housing projects called "The Black Hole." Police say they caught the suspects by surprise.

"I think they had pretty much figured the investigation had died and things had passed," said Sgt. Keith Heiden from the Novato Police Department.

Le was gunned down as he stepped out of his car in the driveway of his home in Novato. He was killed a month after he was robbed in his grocery store in San Francisco.

He later helped police identify Larry Blay and a juvenile from a photo lineup. But after the murder, all charges were dropped since Le was the only witness.

Novato Police and the San Francisco Gang Task Force always believed Le was killed to keep him from testifying.

On Friday, the grand jury indicted five people in connection with the murder. Police are still looking for the fifth suspect.

Uribe faces separate charges for harboring the suspects from police. She is a Muni bus driver and the mother of one of those indicted.

Le's wife and children went into hiding in Vietnam after the murder, but police say they have returned to the Bay Area.

"She was very pleased to hear we made successful arrests in this case and she is hopeful of successful prosecution of all parties involved as are we," said Chief Joseph Kreins from the Novato Police Department.

The arraignments of the three adult suspects were postponed until Friday. The two juveniles in custody will be arraigned on Wednesday.

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