Sixth suspect arrested in Novato man's murder

July 28, 2009 7:47:33 PM PDT
A sixth suspect indicted in connection with the murder of Novato businessman Tong Van Le last September was arrested in San Francisco Monday afternoon, Novato police said today.

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C. Autis Johnson III, 18, was arrested by San Francisco police at a home at 1150 Palou Ave. around 4 p.m. Monday. He was turned over to Novato police, who were standing by, Sgt. Keith Heiden said.

Novato police developed leads indicating that Johnson was staying at the San Francisco home and obtained a search warrant, Heiden said. Johnson was booked into Marin County jail without bail. He was 17 at the time of the murder.

Johnson was booked on felony counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy, being an accessory, preventing or dissuading a witness or victim by force, carrying a loaded firearm and carrying a non-registered concealed weapon.

Four other suspects are also charged with Le's murder and the special circumstance of lying in wait. They are Larry Brian Blay Jr., 19; Sean Demetrius Washington, 23; Deandre Maurice Blay, 17, Larry Blay's brother; and Kevin Abram, 17. The special circumstance exposes the adult defendants to the death penalty.

Johnson's mother, Anchulita Uribe, 34, is charged with being an accessory after the fact.

None of the defendants have entered pleas. A status report on the case is scheduled in Marin County Superior Court today and on Aug. 25.

Le, 44, was set to be a key witness in a robbery case in San Francisco against Larry Blay, who had been arrested on suspicion of robbing Le's business, Nasser Market in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood, on Aug. 23.

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office dropped the charges against Blay after Le was murdered.

The indictment alleges that Washington, Deandre Blay, Abram and Johnson followed Le from the Nasser Market to his home on Pizarro Avenue in Novato in a 1991 Acura Legend on Sept. 13 and ambushed and killed Le in the garage. Le was found shot once in the head.

The indictment also alleges that Larry Blay ordered Le killed from his jail cell in the San Francisco County jail.

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