By Ed Meyer
Beacon Journal staff writer
Jurors were shown a photo of a smiling Tami Wong in Tuesday’s opening statements in the aggravated murder trial of her husband.
Summit County Assistant Prosecutor Angela Walls-Alexander held the 8-by-10 photo in front of the jury box at the beginning and end of her remarks.
She concluded by urging the panel to convict Glenn Wong of every charge in his six-count indictment “and find him accountable for what he did to this woman.”
In the preceding 15 minutes, the prosecutor described in chilling detail how Tami Wong, 46, died on the morning of Feb. 24, 2013, a Sunday, and how the couple’s two elementary school children witnessed what happened.
Walls-Alexander said there were 103 stab wounds from two serrated kitchen knives, and that Tami Wong died of “critical loss of blood.”
She succumbed before emergency crews could get her to a helicopter waiting to take her to a hospital.
Glenn Wong, 51, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, one count of murder and one count each of kidnapping, felonious assault and misdemeanor domestic violence.
He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but Common Pleas Judge Paul Gallagher didn’t accept the plea. After conducting a pretrial hearing with a psychologist hired by the defense, the judge disallowed any testimony or evidence regarding the insanity plea.
Wong’s attorney, Brian Pierce, said the plea technically remains in effect, but only for the purpose of appeal.
How Gallagher will handle the instructions on the law once the jury gets the case apparently has not been settled.
The two aggravated murder counts offer alternate prosecution theories about the crime – first, that Wong purposely caused his wife’s death with prior calculation and design; second, that he purposely caused her death during a kidnapping.
Jurors can convict him of either or both counts.
Prosecutors presented a motive for the crime with Twinsburg police officer Jerry Vecchio. Two weeks before the slaying, Vecchio testified that Glenn Wong went to the police station for some advice.
Wong thought his wife was having an affair, Vecchio said, and wanted to know what he should do.
The officer told Wong a private investigator might be of help, and that hiring a lawyer probably should be his first move.
Suspicion over candy
Walls-Alexander told the jury that on Valentine’s Day, Wong again became suspicious when he went to the office where his wife worked and saw a bag of candy on her desk.
“Everyone in that office has the exact same bag, with the exact same candy in it,” the prosecutor said. It was a customary Valentine’s Day gift from an office co-worker, she said.
The couple were married in 2001, and from the outside they appeared to have “a very normal family,” Walls-Alexander said.
Glenn Wong, however, was “very controlling” and sometimes demeaning to his wife about her weight, she said.
Tami Wong eventually became unhappy in the marriage and talked to a friend about getting a divorce.
On the morning of the slaying, the couple’s 10-year-old daughter heard her parents talking loudly in their first-floor bedroom, “and within a matter of seconds, she hears her mother scream,” the prosecutor said.
Child’s 911 call
Jurors heard the panicked recording of the child’s 911 call.
“My daddy’s murdering my mom,” the little girl blurted, her voice trembling. After a pause, she told the dispatcher: “I don’t know what’s happening.”
But in the final moments of the recording, it became clear what was happening. “He has a knife, he has a knife, he has a knife,” the child screamed.
The time of the call was 7:06 a.m.
Twinsburg police responded at 7:11 a.m., entered the home with their guns drawn and ordered Wong, who was on top of his wife, to get off.
He did not resist and was taken into custody.
Throughout the playing of the 911 call in open court, Wong sat at the defense table, to Pierce’s right, staring straight ahead.
Pierce said Wong was altogether responsible for his wife’s death, and the defense wasn’t going to dispute most of the facts of the crime.
“Even in a case as heinous as this,” Pierce said, “the State of Ohio has the burden of proof.” Prosecutors, he stressed, “have to prove each and every element” of every charge.
“The question you’re going to have to answer,” Pierce said, “is what is he guilty of?”
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.