A man accused of firing the fatal round in a shootout at a southeast Wichita restaurant in 2011 pleaded guilty this week to second-degree reckless murder in a deal with prosecutors.
Dung Anh Nguyen is scheduled for sentencing July 8 before Sedgwick County District Court Judge Ben Burgess. He remains in Sedgwick County Jail while awaiting the hearing.
Police say Nguyen fired the bullet that killed 19-year-old Kao Saechao after gunfire erupted in the parking lot of Bai Wei restaurant, 1845 S. Rock Road, on Dec. 30, 2011.
Saechao died at a local hospital two days later. He had suffered a gunshot wound to his head, according to his autopsy report.
Nguyen, 25, entered his plea Monday, the same day his jury trial was scheduled to start in Sedgwick County District Court, records show. He also admitted Monday to one count of criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the case, according to court records.
Prosecutors originally charged Nguyen with first-degree, premeditated murder in Saechao’s death and with criminal possession of a firearm, records show.
Another man charged in connection with Saechao’s killing is serving a life prison sentence plus nearly 14 years on first-degree felony murder and 11 other charges, including attempted murder. The defense claimed during trial that Steven Louis acted in self-defense and returned fire only after a rival gang member fired upon him that night in 2011 at the restaurant.
Prosecutors said Louis fired 15 shots in the restaurant parking lot then drove to an address in the 2200 block of South Stoneybrook where he thought members of a rival gang were and fired 18 more rounds at a house and car.
He and Saechao apparently were affiliated with the same gang.