ABERDEEN, Wash. (AP) — One of three men convicted in the 1983 massacre of 13 people at a Seattle gambling club is being paroled.
The Washington Department of Corrections parole board has decided to release Wai Chiu "Tony" Ng (eng) after 30 years in prison. He was convicted of robbery and assault for his role in the shooting at the Wah Mee club.
Ng will be released 35-40 days from Friday to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and will be deported to Hong Kong.
Fourteen people were tied up, robbed and shot in the head in the shootings at Seattle's Wah Mee club. One man survived to identify the assailants.
Ng appeared before the Indeterminate Sentence Review Board in August. He said if he's released, he wouldn't fight deportation back to Hong Kong, where his father is sick.
The board noted Ng has demonstrated a positive attitude and work ethic in prison.
Co-defendants Kwan Fai "Willie" Mak and Benjamin Ng were convicted of aggravated murder and are serving life sentences without chance of parole. Tony Ng is no relation to Benjamin Ng.
Unlike his co-defendants, Ng was not convicted of murder but was convicted on 13 counts of first-degree robbery and a single count of assault. Sentencing rules in place at the time allowed a state parole board to determine when Ng was fit for release.
Tony Ng was charged in the murders, but claimed he had been forced to participate in the massacre by Mak. While prosecutors now say the jury shouldn't have heard that defense, jurors found in Ng's favor and convicted him only of robbery.
"The Wah-Mee massacre stands as the worst mass murder in Seattle history," King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said in a statement, "and it seems incomprehensible that one of the participants will soon be free."
"There is little doubt that Tony Ng caught some breaks in his favor that he did not deserve, but the verdict of the jury set in motion the possibility of his eventual release," Satterberg concluded.