back to article Pair charged with murder, manslaughter after IBM Aspera boffin killed in New Year's Eve laptop theft struggle

Two men have been charged over the death of IBM engineer Shuo Zeng, who died on his birthday, on New Year's Eve, after his laptop was snatched while in a cafe. Byron OJ Reed Jr, 22, and Javon Eugene Lee, 21, have been charged with murder and involuntary manslaughter respectively, as well as second-degree robbery, after an …

  1. tekHedd


    You don't think it could possibly be related in some way to the previous convictions and the murder charge, do you?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: WHY DON'T I HAVE BAIL!?!?

      "WHY DON'T I HAVE BAIL!?!? "

      Words that could very well have been uttered by Julian Assange not very long ago

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

      Re: WHY DON'T I HAVE BAIL!?!?

      There's a big push among "woke" prosecutors in the US to not even bother prosecuting "victimless" crimes like burglary, shoplifting and the like. An example is Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins in Boston, who won't prosecute these crimes because they discriminate against, well, criminals. In California specifically, Proposition 47 passed five years ago gives a green light to commit crimes as long as the merchandise or the drugs stolen are less than $950 in value.

      1. ckm5

        Re: WHY DON'T I HAVE BAIL!?!?

        The value of a work laptop far exceeds $950.....

        Besides, all prop 47 does is align California laws with most states where it's not grand theft if it's under $1000 anyway. Burglary and robbery are still felonies and snatching someones laptop is robbery.

        But thanks for the propaganda post - seems like the hate on California is spreading to El Reg along with deep misinformation....

  2. whitepines

    You don't have bail because you just made the world poorer. You killed a scientist that could have helped make so many lives better, to try to enrich your own sorry life very slightly. You should be chained to a dynamo to produce power for others, or forced to pick up waste endlessly from the side of the road, or filter the waste from a Chinese factory with your lungs. But no, you'll use your time in prison to make yourself stronger and more able to commit more crime when you're released.


    1. BebopWeBop

      Quite agree - but then I would have agreed without the justiciation of scientist....

  3. sbt

    Not worth dying for

    Another example (if one were needed) that it's not worth risking your life to prevent theft.

    Glad you didn't give chase, Kieren.

    There's a deeper question here about why after so many arrests these alleged perps were still at large and unreformed.

    1. Cheshire Cat

      Re: Not worth dying for

      "There's a deeper question here about why after so many arrests these alleged perps were still at large and unreformed."

      The US penal system is not designed to reform, it is a business intended to make money. When they come out, they are even less able to get employment, and have larger debts, so go straight back to crime - and become more raw material for the prison business.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not worth dying for

      To be honest, most criminals simply don't want to reform. They enjoy living their life this way. My cousin whom I will not name, has in the past uttered the words "Prison ain't so bad, I enjoy it!".

      He was arrested many times as a teenager. Eventually he was put in the nick at the age of 17 for beating someone up for their iPhone (first gen) (GBH and theft).

      He wasn't remorseful in the slightest for his actions. In fact, he still often makes jokes about "the rich guy with too much money to spend on phones".

      He was released to the public a year later, and his father was able to secure him a decent job working for his fathers employer. However, within a month working for this company he was caught on CCTV stealing from his employer at night, using the yard keys he was given. He was even seen putting a middle finger up to the Camera laughing (Yes, he knew there was cameras).

      This also caused his employer to sack his father who had been working there for 25 years.

      And big shock, he was put in the nick again.. Sadly, he was eventually released again, however at this point he couldn't find any work, and the family wouldn't help him. We disowned him.

      This made him homeless. However, because he didn't want to be homeless... he beat up the sweeny while he kept yelling "Arrest me!".

      So that's where he is now, because as he says, free food and easy living.

      So, I wouldn't be so shocked if criminals are happy to return to crime after leaving prison... not everyone is happy to "reform".

    3. a_yank_lurker

      Re: Not worth dying for

      You would have to look at CA's penal code and procedures as to why these 2 unworthies were on the street. The crimes and punishment are state responsibility thus there are 50 different opinions about how to handle them.

  4. W.S.Gosset Silver badge


    > It is also possible that the two men were responsible for the theft of this reporter’s laptop in San Francisco in August last year: Lee fits the description of the person who grabbed my machine and the robbery was carried out in the exact same way, complete with getaway car.


    Were you killed?!?

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: !!


    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: !!

      Utter bellend.

    3. Anonymous South African Coward

      Re: !!

      Hast thou forgotten thine trollface icon?

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: !!


        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: !!

          And forgotten or deliberately excluded the words "though minus the fatality" wrote clearly in the text.

  5. Anonymous South African Coward

    If ne'er-do-wells decide to steal your laptop/fondleslab, don't try to be a hero and chase after them. Let them go.

    Your device can be replaced, data can be restored from backup and life can go on. But your life cannot be replaced.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      From an individual self preservation perspective I agree, but for the good of humanity we need some people to stand up and say No. The thought of getting a rightfully deserved kicking might just be enough to deter the average opportunist scumbag. If everybody just 'let them go' then there would be no barrier to entry in the thievery profession and we'd have a lot more thefts.

      EDIT Just seen you're from SA where the chance of getting killed whilst resisting is very real, so YMMV on this.

      Last time I was in Joburg there were two conversations I had with locals that stuck with me; one where a friend told me he'd just had a stairwell cage installed at home, so when (not if) his house got robbed at night, he hoped the thieves would just take the stuff and not kill his family. The second was a colleague who said crime in Joburg isn't so bad, I've only been carjacked once.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A warning for us all.

        SA seems to be receiving payback for all those years of treating people as sub-humans.

        1. BebopWeBop
          Thumb Down

          Re: A warning for us all.

          Well given that the majority of the victims are black/coloured (if I get your implication), it is not going so well for the people who were oppressed either.

        2. horse of a different color

          Re: A warning for us all.

          Two wrongs don't make a right, as the saying goes.

          1. David 45

            Re: A warning for us all.

            "Two wrongs don't make a right, as the saying goes." Maybe not but if the perpetrator comes off considerably worse after a not-so-gentle take-down and detainment than it's more than satisfying.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re. we need some people to stand up and say No.

        and we ALL stand by waiting for "some people" to turn up and say No, so we can film them and cheer their bravery and promptly post on FB :/

        1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

          Re: re. we need some people to stand up and say No.

          I've stepped in once, and stood by once. When I stepped in (a street mugging) I had honestly no idea what I was doing but there was a lot of swearing, a bit of pushing and some running. He was about 14.

          I was 19 years old when I stood by. A man (I guess a pimp) was giving a woman a kicking, and then he pulled a knife on her. I wanted to intervene but couldn't bring myself to move; luckily an off-duty policeman jumped in and took care of it - he probably saved her life. Up until that point I thought I was pretty hard and would defend virtue wherever I saw it regardless of how weaponised the scumbag was; I grew up a lot in those few moments.

          1. Nunyabiznes

            Re: re. we need some people to stand up and say No.

            @ Lord E

            There is a line in a movie - by Clint Eastwood I believe, that fits. "A man has got to know his limitations."

            Kudos to you for stepping in where you could.

    2. Nunyabiznes

      Sorry, I have to disagree. Thieves (to include "white collar" scumbags) take because they can, easily. Once society as a whole explains to them that it isn't going to be easy anymore, simple crime will go down. In order for that to happen you, me and that person over there need to step up. Some people are not equipped physically and/or mentally for this, and that is ok. It is up to the rest of us to do a little extra.

      It is a shame that self defense (including that of your property) has become a sin in Western societies.

  6. Snorlax

    A sad story

    A senseless waste of a life. All for a laptop...

    1. dnicholas

      Re: A sad story

      In the heat of the moment, it's hard to predict how you'd react :(

  7. ThePhantom

    Welcome to California, where theft under $950 is "victimless" and the San Francisco bay area, where illegals and criminals have more rights than citizens, and indeed, San Francisco, across the bay from where this murder took place, where a person who was raised by Weather Underground members is the new district attorney (prosecutor).

    What a topsy-turvy world we live in, eh?

    1. ckm5

      More incorrect & misleading propaganda

      California re-defined Grand Theft (and only Grand Theft) as being anything over $950 (Prop 47), which is exactly in-line with most other states where it is at least $1000, incl. Texas where its $1500 or more. So California theft laws, while made more lenient recently, are still harsher than Texas.....

      Burglary and robbery are still felonies and snatching someones laptop is robbery.

      But thanks for the propaganda post - seems like the hate on California is spreading to El Reg along with deep misinformation....

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    “I don’t understand how my brother got wrapped up in this. Probably hanging around the wrong people.”

    It sounds as if he is the wrong people.

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