Hwa Sung Sim and James Yi Get Prison Time for Botched Medical Marijuana Robbery That Left Partner Dead

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Final sentences have been handed down in June's botched medical marijuana robbery in Brea that originally had three would-be bandits arrested for murder because the fourth was shot dead by a security guard protecting the weed. Hwa Sung Sim, 20, and James Yi, 18, of Irvine, switched their earlier pleas to guilty of attempted second-degree robbery and were sentenced to five and three years in state prison respectively.

Prosecutors had been seeking seven years for Sim and five for Yi, reports the Orange County Register.

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Mugshots courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's office
Earle Augustus Austin got a 2 1/2-year delay of game penalty.
Earle Augustus Austin, the third member of the gang still among the living, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced in August to just shy of 2 1/2 years behind bars. It was a hard fall for the Santa Ana 19-year-old, and not just because he's 6-foot-5 and weighs 315 lbs. The Fairmont Prep offensive lineman had been selected to play in a July Orange County all-star football game and had planned to continue his playing career at Long Beach City College.

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James Yi has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Just before 8:15 p.m. on June 22 in the Birchwood Village apartment complex, 1717 E. Birch St., Brea, the three amigos and 20-year-old Minh Kinh Dang confronted a deliveryman on a run for an unnamed Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensary. The service's security guard sprang into action, a struggle ensued and Dang and the guard whipped out handguns. But the unidentified protector was quicker on the draw and got off three shots, at least one of which fatally struck Dang.

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Hwa Sung Sim received the stiffest sentence: five years.
The sound of the rounds produced a shots fired call to Brea police, and officers arrived to the sight of Dang's dead body on the ground and the guard holding a weapon. He was originally held but, after he and the deliveryman were questioned, both were released.

Because Dang was killed in the commission of a robbery, Yi, Sim and Austin were arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted robbery. However, when prosecutors announced the charges filed against the trio, murder was not among them.

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