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Former Army sharpshooter's murder conviction upheld for shooting a man in the head after an argument outside a Fenway bar over whether the Yankees suck

The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld a man's first-degree murder conviction that stemmed from some banter-turned-fight over another man's Yankee's cap at closing time outside An Tua Nua on Beacon Street in 2004, so he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

The state's highest court concluded that Yat Fung Ng of Chelsea got a fair trial on charges he injected himself into what turned into a fight between two groups he had nothing to do with on May 23, 2004 and that even though Karriem Brown jumped out of a car, ripped off his shirt and walked toward him looking for a fight, Ng had no reason to calmly walk to his own car's trunk, pull out a gun and shoot Brown in the forehead. Brown was rushed to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he died a month later.

The defendant unnecessarily caused a mere verbal argument, one in which he was not even involved and that initially began with the childish verbal banter of "Yankees suck," to explode into a killing through the unnecessary and unjustified use of deadly force.

According to the court's summary of the case, two groups of people came out of An Tan Nua at closing time, when a person in one group said "Yankees suck!" when he saw a guy in the other group wearing a Yankees cap. The bantering turned angry, then physical - people were shoved and punches were thrown.

As the initial fight had concluded, and security from the bar had dispersed the group of individuals who were fighting outside the bar, the defendant, who had witnessed the victim push the woman to the ground, "instinctively took his jacket off and ran right over to the scene." The defendant confronted the victim, Lee, and Miranda [Brown's two friends], and began to threaten them with a gun. More specifically, the defendant told the victim and his friends, "You think you're bullet proof, you think you're bullet proof"; "What's up tough guys? You think you're bullet proof? I got something for you. I got something for you in my trunk. You think you're bullet proof?"

The summary continues that Brown's friends got him away and into Miranda's car, and they drove off. Only they didnt get far; about a block away, Beacon and Miner streets, Miranda had to stop for some people walking across the road.

While the car was stopped, the victim opened the passenger's side door and exited; he threw his jacket on the ground, ripped his shirt open, and began walking toward the front of the bar. The victim was yelling angrily at the defendant, asking why the defendant was threatening him. As the victim was yelling, the defendant walked to his own car, parked in front of the bar, to which the victim responded, "You better run." On hearing this, the defendant picked up his pace toward his car, walking purposefully. When a nearby witness told the defendant something to the effect of "It's over," the defendant responded with either "It's not over for me" or "I have business."

When the defendant arrived at his car, he initially searched through the driver's side door but then made his way to the trunk and emerged with a gun. The defendant turned to the defendant, raised the gun, and pointed it at the victim, saying, "Yeah, you want this? You want this?" The victim responded, "What are you gonna do, shoot me? Go ahead, shoot me," as well as "Go ahead, do it. Do it." At this point, the defendant and the victim were at least from ten to twenty feet away from each other, and they had stopped advancing toward each other.

So Ng shot him and, given his former Army rating as a "sharpshooter" with a 9-mm handgun, hit him square in the forehead.

Ng argued he shot in self defense, and one of his arguments in the appeal decided today was that he got an unfair trial because he was not allowed to participate directly in sidebar conversations between the judge, his lawyer and the prosecutor involving his state of mind at the time.

The court concluded Ng was right that he should have been allowed to participate in those discussions, but that the error didn't affect his trial and conviction because it had, in an earlier request he'd made for a new trial, ruled that he lost the ability to plead self defense because he made no attempt to try to avoid his alleged attacker first, that instead of trying to escape, he simply went to his car and got out his gun.

Here, any such evidence and discussion at the sidebar conferences in which the defendant's subjective state of mind was discussed only bore on the issue of self-defense, which this court already has held was unavailable to the defendant in these circumstances, given the defendant's failure to use the reasonable means of retreat that were available to him prior to shooting the victim.

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PDF icon Complete ruling202.27 KB


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Absolutely ridiculous

Voting closed 10

He'll realize bars and side bars are not his friend.

Voting closed 8

Voting closed 4

Thanks, fixed.

Voting closed 5

The highest Army weapons qualification is Expert. You have to hit 36+/40 targets for that.

Voting closed 10

"What are you gonna do, shoot me? Go ahead, shoot me," as well as "Go ahead, do it. Do it."

Careful what you ask for when you threaten someone holding a gun.

Voting closed 3

So to be clear, this was about which of two groups of people (none of whom were present at the time) is better at a game. Pathetic.

Voting closed 1