While the penalty was technically more than the sentencing guidelines, and at least in some ways Kwok Wai Ho's family gets some type of closure - if you can call it that - I still don't know if it was harsh enough:
After hearing pleas for mercy from the 19-year-old defendant, his relatives and former teachers, and after calls for the maximum sentence from Ho's family, Judge Shelley Robins New handed him a 12 1/2-to-25-year term in state prison.It still doesn't bring Kwok Wai Ho back though does it?
The third-degree murder sentence was harsher than the 72 months to 20 years that state sentencing guidelines allow for a defendant with no prior criminal record, but it was less than than the statutory maximum range of 20 to 40 years.
The defendant, the judge said, "had the benefit of a large, loving family . . . people who tried again and again to guide him in a world that is difficult." But, according to testimony during his August trial, Walker-Williams on July 10, 2007, veered sharply from those influences when he went looking to "catch a body."
That's street slang with a range of meanings, from assaulting to robbing to murdering a stranger. Walker-Williams, according to several friends who testified, asked them if they wanted to catch a body as they walked to a drugstore on Greeby Street near Loretto Avenue in the Oxford Circle neighborhood in the Northeast.They said no, but moments later, Walker-Williams grabbed Ho from behind, got him in a choke-hold and slammed his head to the pavement.