Weston Kruger: Case of the Fatal Porno Theft

In July 2007, Weston Scott Kruger desperately wanted a porn magazine while in Newport Beach and he didn't want to pay for it.

When you're 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds like Kruger, you have a chance to get your way.

But even a moron knows that you are supposed to pay for items you remove from a store or risk trouble.

Yet, Kruger inexplicably picked up an adult magazine, stuffed it under his shirt and left a Newport Beach liquor store when the owner, Hao Huynh, told him to stop.

Outside the store, Kruger turned a simple misdemeanor theft into a felony murder in a flash.

Before fleeing, he knocked the much smaller Huynh to the ground, causing the Vietnamese immigrant to strike his head on concrete and eventually die from a fractured skull and massive bleeding.

During a 2010 jury trial, Kruger testified that he had initially intended to steal the magazine but intended to return it when Huynh approached him outside the store. He hadn't hidden it at his home after the killing to thwart police but rather to keep his girlfriend in the dark. She apparently did not approve of porno.

Not surprisingly, the jury found Kruger guilty of murder, Superior Court Judge W. Michael Hayes sentenced him to a term of 25 years to life in a California prison and the convicted killer appealed.

According to Kruger's reasoning, he could only be convicted of murder if the theft of the magazine had been a felony robbery. He maintained that he was guilty only of a simple misdemeanor theft and, at worse, manslaughter. A new trial should be ordered, he argued.
Kruger's mug shot stemming from a separate 2007 robbery conviction.
But a three-justice panel at a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana this week determined that Kruger's trial was righteous and that the simple theft became a felony robbery when the now 33-year-old defendant used force to leave with the scene with the porno.

Causing a death--even if unintended--in the commission of a felony is murder in this state.

Case closed.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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