D.C. man gets 80 years for killing market owner and son

A Northeast Washington man was sentenced to 80 years in prison Thursday for the 2010 fatal shootings of a wholesale market owner and his son during a robbery.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Motley sentenced Christian Taylor in connection with the June 23, 2010, fatal shootings of Ming-Kun Chih, 59, and his son, Li Jen Chih, 32, owners of the Lida Wholesale Market in the 1200 block of Fifth Street NE.

It took a jury less than two hours to convict Taylor, 27, of first-degree murder, armed robbery and other charges after a week-long trial in June during which surveillance video from the store was played. The video captured Taylor, wearing sunglasses and a T-shirt, brandishing a gun he pulled out of his backpack.

The video, along with audio, showed Taylor ordering the younger Chih to put “more money” in his bag. At one point, Chih tried to grab the gun and jumped over the counter. The video then showed Taylor firing several shots into Chih. Moments later, Chih’s father, armed with a long stick, emerged and tried to knock the gun out of Taylor’s hand. Taylor turned and shot him as well.

During the trial, Taylor’s attorneys tried to argue that the shooter in the video was not their client. But jurors were not convinced.

In addition to the video, prosecutors Deborah Sines and Glenn Kirschner said Taylor’s DNA was found on a bag that was left at the store. And several eyewitnesses who testified during the trial identified Taylor and the car and license plate on the car used in his getaway.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Motley said there was “overwhelming evidence” of Taylor’s guilt. Taylor’s court-appointed attorney, Geoffrey Harris, turned to the back of the courtroom where the victims’ family sat and praised the senior Chih for his bravery for coming to the aid of his son.

Taylor maintained his innocence at his sentencing but said he “felt bad” for the victim’s family. Taylor went on to criticized the prosecutors and the judicial system, which he said “profited” from violent crime. Taylor said more resources, instead, should be devoted to ensure such crimes did not occur.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of intern Chandra Levy.
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