OAKLAND — The family of a 75-year-old man who was murdered during a 2021 robbery attempt in Oakland used their right to speak in court to ask for mercy for the man who killed their loved one, which moved a judge to issue the minimum prison term allowable under state law.
For Teaunte Bailey, 28, that meant a sentence of 25 years to life for the murder of 75-year-old Pak Ho, who Bailey punched in the head during a March 2021 robbery. Judge Scott Patton said he was prepared to sentence Bailey to 29 years to life, but changed his mind at the last minute after hearing from Ho’s family.
“Today, I extend my forgiveness to Mr. Bailey not because his actions can ever be justified or forgotten, but in the hope that he will embark on a journey of self-improvement and positive change,” Ho’s daughter, Connie Vong, said in the September sentencing hearing. “I wish for him to find the strength to forgive himself as well. May the same energy that once fueled his destructive actions be harnessed to drive constructive change.”
Vong’s sentiments were echoed in public statements and letters by Ho’s other loved ones.
“Mr. Bailey ended my father’s life two-and-a-half years ago and forever changed our lives in many ways, but our pain does not need to create more hurt and pain in this word,” Pak Ho’s daughter, Amy Vo, said in court.
Bailey, who was transferred to the state prison system on Oct. 25, offered a brief apology before he was sentenced.
“I wasn’t trying to do that to him,” he said.
Judge Patton’s sentence gives Bailey an earlier opportunity for parole.
Bailey was convicted in August of murder and robbery, and had it not been for a last-minute decision by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, he would have been charged in a way that made him eligible for life without parole. Instead, prosecutors dropped sentencing enhancements minutes before the start of his trial, where jurors heard evidence that Bailey ran up and struck Pak Ho, who fell to the ground and hit his head on the pavement.
Ho routinely went on early morning walks in the Adams Point neighborhood near Lake Merritt, which family members said made them nervous. But Vong said after contemplating why her father and Bailey’s paths crossed right on the morning of March 9, 2021, she came to the conclusion it must simply have been fate.
Bailey was linked to the crime not just because some of Ho’s property was later found in his possession, but because he was wearing a GPS ankle monitor, which also placed him at the scene of a prior home invasion robbery in West Oakland, according to court records.
While Bailey is headed to prison, the fate of his co-defendant remains an open question. At the same trial, 59-year-old Demetrius Britton was acquitted of murder after his attorney argued that Britton was not the man who served as Bailey’s driver during the robbery, as prosecutors contended. Jurors also failed to reach a verdict on a robbery charge against Britton.
After the trial, Britton was released from jail and subsequently pleaded no contest to grand theft with the expectation he’d be sentenced to two years probation on Oct 13. But when the Oct. 13 hearing rolled around, Britton was a no-show. Judge Patton issued a no-bail warrant for Britton’s arrest, and postponed the hearing until he’s brought into custody.