Fisherman’s Wharf merchant found guilty of double murder a second time

A man who shot and killed a pair of rival shopkeepers in Fisherman’s Wharf has been found guilty of murder for the second time after his first conviction was set aside over questions about his sanity.

Jurors determined Wednesday that Hong Ri Wu, 64, was sane when he took a gun to work at a souvenir shop on Jefferson Street in 2011 and shot the two 30-year-old merchants next door. Before determining his mental competency, the jury convicted Wu of two counts of second-degree murder in late September.

Wu was initially convicted of double murder in 2014 for the same killings. But prosecutors decided to try him again after an appeals court ruled that a judge should have ordered a hearing to determine his mental competency before his first trial, when he was hospitalized and refusing to eat.

Sandy Feinland, his attorney with the Public Defender’s Office, argued during the latest trial that Wu had “lost control” and reached a “breaking point” in his life after losing his regular job and being forced to make a living at the souvenir shop.

Prosecutor John Rowland argued that Wu killed Feng Ping Ou and Qiong Han Chu, the merchants next door, because he believed he had the exclusive right to sell certain counterfeit goods between the two shops. Wu had a longstanding dispute with the owner of both shops over the terms of his lease.

Rowland argued in detail that Wu planned the murders, bringing a pistol to his store and hiding it beneath a stack of umbrellas for some time before one evening closing shop early and walking to the adjacent store.

Wu dropped Ou to the ground with a single shot, according to Rowland. He then walked passed tourists in the shop and unloaded the rest of his bullets into Chu, who hid behind a counter in the back of the shop.

“These were brutal executions in an iconic neighborhood that left two families without their loved ones,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “We thank the jury for their service, and for sending a clear message that violence will not be tolerated.”

The jury returned the verdicts on the murder charges Sept. 27. Jurors began to deliberate on his sanity Oct. 5 and returned a verdict Wednesday.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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