Their children went to kindergarten together in Twinsburg and it wasn’t long before they became best friends.
After Dawn Drasner took the witness stand Wednesday morning, testifying for the prosecution in the aggravated murder trial of Glenn Wong, she paused to remember her friend, Tami Wong, as a “wonderful lady who was all about doing things with the children.”
It was her sole motivation, Drasner said, for being there in such difficult circumstances.
“I just don’t want people to forget how beautiful a person Tami was. This whole thing for me is about her,” Drasner said, still wiping away tears 15 minutes after her court appearance ended.
The state is expected to wrap up its case today, and there is no clear indication yet whether Glenn Wong will testify in his own defense.
But when he was escorted out of court after Wednesday’s proceedings adjourned, he began sobbing when he saw Drasner in the hallway near the third-floor elevator.
On a Sunday morning in late February last year, Glenn Wong stabbed his 46-year-old wife to death over fears that she was having an affair, prosecutors allege.
The couple’s two children, both grade-schoolers, were in the living room of the Abrams Drive home when they heard their mother’s screams in their parents’ bedroom.
Drasner said it has been “horrible” since the year anniversary, Feb. 24, of her friend’s death.
“It’s all I can think of,” she said. “And I’m hoping today that there’s just some type of closure throughout next week, or the end of the week when the sentencing comes. I just hope that that’s the end, and we can all start healing.”
Wong, 51, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder under the state’s alternate theories of the crime. He also was indicted on one count of felony murder and one count each of kidnapping, felonious assault and domestic violence.
A conviction on any of the murder charges would mean a sentence of life in prison, with the judge having discretion on any parole eligibility. Common Pleas Judge Paul Gallagher has the case.
Drasner, an elementary school girls running and lifestyle coach, is married with two children of her own. It was through her children that she came to know Tami Wong five or six years ago.
“Our kids became friends when I became friends with Tami,” she said. “We’d spend our summers together at the pool, doing things at the park.”
Tami Wong was a court reporter for a professional firm in Wadsworth and served as a Girl Scouts co-leader for Drasner’s daughter, who is the same age as the Wongs’ daughter.
“We would go on overnight trips away, and Tami was a good role model for the girls,” Drasner said. “She was a professional woman. She was kind to everybody, and she would always remember the tiniest details you would tell her.”
“If you told her anything, the next time she saw you, she would ask how your aunt was, or your brother or your sister,” she said. “She always remembered things about people, even if she met them only one time.”
Last December, Drasner said she became aware during their outings that Tami Wong was unhappy in her marriage. She and Glenn Wong, an engineer, were married in 2001.
“I just noticed how unhappy she was, and she told me she was thinking of leaving her husband,” Drasner said. “She wasn’t quite sure where she would go. She had mentioned her aunt as a possibility as some place she could stay for a while. But she definitely wanted out of her marriage.
“And I remember saying to her: ‘Is this something you guys can work out?’ And she said: ‘No.’ ”
Drasner said she learned of the tragedy in a cellphone call from her mother, who was coming to her home for a Sunday visit and saw police cars at the Wongs’ home.
“I went to the crime scene, and I just remember seeing the tape, and I knew something bad had happened, but I didn’t know it was her yet,” Drasner said.
A Twinsburg officer was her first contact.
Drasner said the officer’s reaction was another sign of how many others felt about Tami Wong.
“He really wasn’t allowed to tell me anything,” Drasner said, sobbing as she recalled their encounter. “I looked at him and asked: ‘Is my friend OK?’ And the officer had tears in his eyes, and just shook his head no. I said: ‘Is she dead?’ And he said yes.”
She said she has deep compassion for the officers who were there that day.
“I know when something like this happens, something so terrible, it just hits everybody in the heart,” Drasner said.
Tami Wong’s father is caring for the children now at the family home in Oklahoma. Drasner said they are happy there, and she intends to stay in touch with them as they build new lives in the years to come.
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.