A St. Paul man was convicted Wednesday of all 14 counts against him and immediately given three consecutive life sentences in prison for October’s gang-retaliation murder of Adlai Xiong outside a troubled St. Paul bar.
Jurors began deliberations shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday and returned their verdicts Wednesday afternoon in Ramsey County District Court. They found True Thao, 31, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, four counts of first-degree attempted murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder.
Thao was also convicted of five counts of crime committed for the benefit of a gang. Two of Xiong’s cousins were each struck by multiple bullets in the Oct. 26 shooting outside the Moonshine Saloon.
Ramsey County District Judge Judith Tilsen immediately handed down a sentence of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole in the death of Xiong, 27. In a symbolic gesture, Tilsen handed down two additional sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Xiong’s wounded cousins.
The three sentences will run consecutively.
“It’s important that they each be recognized,” Assistant Ramsey County Attorney Elizabeth Lamin said when she urged the judge to hand down consecutive life sentences.
Xiong’s sister, Maysee Xiong, read a victim impact statement on her parents’ behalf before the sentencing.
“My life has changed forever,” Xiong read from her mother’s statement.
“They say time heals all wounds … but the wounds are still fresh.”
Xiong’s mother, Maysee Xiong, said she thinks of him daily and is heartbroken about the holidays, birthdays and family gatherings they will celebrate without him.
Thao declined to address the court when given his chance to speak before his sentencing. A handful of Thao’s family members were also present, but they declined to comment.
Thao sprayed a dozen shots from his car about 1:15 a.m., killing Xiong and injuring his cousins who were smoking with him outside. Thao killed Xiong because Thao is a member of the Oriental Ruthless Boys gang while Xiong was a member of the rival Oroville Mono Boys gang, Lamin said.
The brother of one of Thao’s fellow gang members was fatally stabbed outside the same bar in February, and Thao wanted revenge on the rival gang, Lamin said. The February murder of Cher Vang, 28, is unsolved, and Xiong has not been implicated in it.
Thao’s attorney, Gary Wolf, told jurors that two witnesses did not pick Thao as the shooter in a photo lineup.