One-time Chinese gang member Alex Wong, sentenced to life in prison as a juvenile for racketeering and double-murder in a 1989 case handled by now-Attorney Gen. Loretta Lynch, was resentenced to 35 years in Brooklyn federal court Friday.
Wong, 16 at the time of his crimes, had to be resentenced because an intervening Supreme Court decision banned mandatory life sentences for juveniles, but prosecutors had asked Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie to give him life again.
Wong, prosecutors said, murdered the manager of a Queens Chinese restaurant who wouldn’t pay protection to the Green Dragons by shooting him nine times, killed one bystander and paralyzed another when he opened fire on patrons, and later plotted to kill a witness.
At his sentencing in 1992, Lynch, then a Brooklyn prosecutor, described Wong as “vicious and sadistic,” and said, “He hasn’t shown and rehabilitative efforts and the government doesn’t feel that he ever will.”
Wong, now 43, told Dearie 11,000 days in prison had changed him and he was no longer the “animal” he had been. “I can and will become a functioning part of society,” he said in a letter.
His new sentence will be complete in ten years. “Judge Dearie exercised his discretion in the greatest tradition of the federal judiciary,” said Wong’s lawyer, Lloyd Epstein.