Three men were indicted yesterday in D.C. Superior Court on charges of felony murder in the shooting death of Young Ja Cha, a 42-year-old Korean immigrant who had exchanged shots with three men when they tried to rob her inner-city grocery store last March.
The grand jury indicted Darion J. Willis, 19, of 1305 Columbia Rd. NW, Gregory Smith, 32, of the same address, and Theodore R. Rhem, 18, of 1307 Columbia Rd. NW, on charges of felony murder, attempted robbery while armed and carrying a pistol without a license.
Willis was also indicted on charges of obstruction of justice for allegedly using intimidation to prevent a man from relaying information about the slaying to police, according to the indictment.
Cha was shot once in the abdomen on March 8 when three men tried to rob the small store that she operated with her husband at 3001 Sherman Ave. near Columbia Road NW, authorities said. Cha exchanged shots with the men, who apparently got no money, police said.
According to one witness, Cha pursued her assailants for a few steps from the store, then collapsed, bleeding, into a large cardboard carton on the sidewalk. Neighborhood residents said the couple had operated the store for about four years and had been robbed two or three times before.
Cha and her husband, Jun-Sung Cha, lived in suburban Maryland and had two children.