Federal prosecutors say they will not seek the death penalty against alleged Chinatown gangster Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office indicated in a court filing on Monday that it won’t seek the death penalty against Chow even though it had argued forcefully in court to the contrary.
Chow, who has pleaded not guilty, was already facing racketeering and money laundering charges when prosecutors earlier this month charged him with murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a potential sentence of death.
Chow is accused of arranging the 2006 shooting death of Allen Leung, who preceded Chow as leader of the Chinese fraternal group Ghee Kung Tong.
U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer severed the charges against Chow that had possible capital punishment after prosecutors made their failed attempt to include those charges in the racketeering case against Chow.
Chow became the Dragonhead of the Ghee Kung Tong after Leung was killed.
But before Leung’s death, Chow had reportedly asked another fraternal organization, the Hop Sing Tong — of which Leung was a member — for $120,000 for a youth group.
The request was denied, then someone fired shots into the Hop Sing Tong’s front door.
Then Leung, who aided the FBI case looking into the shooting, was killed.
Chow alone wore white at Leung’s funeral, which some thought was a sign of disrespect. His attorneys said otherwise.
The defense also argues an FBI informant provided information about Leung’s killing and helped exonerate Chow. Despite this “the FBI has never missed an opportunity to try to paint Chow guilty for this murder,” Chow’s attorneys said in a filing.
They argue that evidence for Leung’s death points to another man.
“All evidence pointed at the now deceased Jim Tat Kong,” noted a recent defense filing. “Jim Tat Kong was attempting to take control of the Hop Sing Tong.”
Kong was found dead along with his wife Oct. 17, 2013, in Fort Bragg, in Mendocino County.