Federal prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Anh The Duong, who led armed robberies throughout the state, including two in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.
Duong's crew, a band of jewelry thieves, had been operating since 1993, when they held up a NGY Jewelers in Santa Ana at gunpoint and made off with $500,000 worth of loose diamonds. Under his direction, the group traveled up and down California robbing banks, and jewelry and electronics stores.
Police said Duong and his men operated on a shoot-first basis. When they encountered resistance from anyone, be it a guard or bystander, they would shoot to kill. On top of their 16 armed robbery and racketeering convictions last month, the federal jury found Duong and his crew guilty of eight murders.