Last Updated: Monday, May 8, 2000, 4:30 p.m.

Recent homicides in Palo Alto

Sept. 22, 1998: Police believe Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Pokhilko killed his wife and son before slashing his own throat. A family friend found Pokhilko's body lying next to his son's bed with his throat deeply slashed. An 8-inch hunting knife was still in Pokhilko's hand. The wife, Elena Fedotova, and their 12-year-old son had been bludgeoned and stabbed to death while apparently sleeping in their beds.

June 12, 1997: NASA scientist Herbert "Bert" Kay was robbed and beaten to death by six suspects as he strolled on Gilman Street near downtown Palo Alto. He left behind his wife, Meg, and twin daughters, who were 2 years old at the time. Six suspects have been convicted and sentenced in the case. Danny Toatele Tevaga, 19, has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison; Christian Valdes, 22, and Falala Lelei, 18, also received 25 years to life in prison; Olopitoamoa Tapuloa, 20, pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and will serve 15 years to life in prison. Two juvenile suspects are also serving time for the crime.

Aug. 3, 1996: James Taylor Wright, 66, was taken to Stanford Hospital from Casa Olga, an extended-care residential facility on Hamilton Avenue in downtown Palo Alto after suffering an apparent heart attack. Wright later died. Police arrested James Edward Vonronne, then 56, and charged him with manslaughter after they determined that Vonronne allegedly punched Wright and knocked him down. Vonronne pleaded guilty in July 1997 to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in state prison.

March 31, 1996: Police discovered the body of Hakjoo "Jean" Kim, 59, in her home at 1160 Fulton St. Peter Wilson, then 31, was later arrested and charged with beating Kim to death. Wilson was Kim's tenant in the Fulton Street house. He was convicted of first-degree murder in March.

Nov. 13, 1994: Stanford graduate student David Liu, 23, was shot and killed during a robbery outside an apartment complex near Greer Park. Liu had already handed over his money when he was shot and killed. Eddie Jay Pereles, 24, arrested in January 1995, was convicted of first-degree murder in Liu's death, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. An alleged accomplice in the killing-- Larry Paul, 22, who prosecutors say actually shot Liu--was sentenced to 28 years to life in state prison in January 1998.

--Elizabeth Lorenz

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