A Gardena, California, man has been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter for killing a businessman who laughed at him when the pastrami fell out of his sandwich at a doughnut shop. Ronald Eugene Murray II, 26, punched and kicked 56-year-old New Jersey resident Mun Jang so hard on Oct. 1, 2011, that Jang died in a hospital two days later. A kick to the head proved to be the fatal blow. Neither man knew each other, but Murray and Jang had patronized Donut King, on Western Avenue, at 3:30 that morning.
Jang, who was visiting Los
Angeles on business, went for an ice cream. Murray purchased a pastrami sandwich
and was particular with his order, asking for tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise,
but no onions or jalapenos.
Jang, who was with a friend, watched as Murray took a bite. Some of the meat
fell out, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Turk said. Jang laughed, angering Murray, who snapped, "Who you laughing at?" He became even more upset when the
clerk behind the glass refused his request for another sandwich at half-price, Turk said.
"The real focus of his anger were the people who would not give him a sandwich," Turk said. "The only person he could take his rage out on was the victim."
Prosecutors said Murray sucker-punched Jang and then punched him repeatedly, inflicting the fatal blow with a kick to the head while Jang was on the ground. He then threw the sandwich so hard into Jang's head that mayonnaise and lettuce stuck in his ear.
Testifying on his own behalf, Murray said he wasn't trying to hurt Jang. He said he acted in self-defence after he slipped on the sandwich meat and fell to the ground.
Jang, Murray testified, stood over him with a fist, so he protected himself by fighting back, Turk said.
Jurors did not believe the self-defence argument, but decided he did not commit murder. He took the beating too far, kicking a defenceless man in the head, Turk said.
"Somebody lost his life because he laughed and had a normal human reaction to something that was pretty funny," Turk said. "It could have been anybody standing there."
Murray was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.
He will now be sentenced to a maximum of 11 years in prison at a March
4 court appearance.