A 39-year-old man was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison on Tuesday in connection with the death of a Chinese national whose body was found decomposing in the trunk of a car after he threatened to tell authorities about a home where the defendant was growing weed in Temple City, officials said.
Baldwin Park resident Andy Yalau Chen was convicted of first-degree murder and cultivating marijuana, both felonies, on March 23 — almost exactly two years after the body of Min Gu was found dead on March 21, 2016, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
It’s unclear when exactly Gu was killed; his body was found after a Monterey Park resident noticed a foul smell coming from a car parked near her home and called law enforcement, prosecutors said.
The deputies who responded to the scene found the vehicle unlocked and the body of the Chinese man rotting inside the trunk. Gu had sustained two gunshot wounds, officials said.
The victim was 30 years old and had only been in the country since January when he was reported missing on Feb. 22, according to the Pasadena Star News. The newspaper also reported that the car Gu was found in was his own Lexus.
Amid their investigation, L.A. County sheriff’s detectives learned Chen was one of the last people to interact with Gu when he was still alive, prosecutors said.
While searching of one of Chen’s residences, in Temple City, authorities found the victim’s blood underneath floorboards in the house, along with two bullet casings, according to the DA’s office.
Investigators also found that Chen was using the residence to cultivate pot. Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Coleman told the Los Angeles Times it was a rather large operation in a house on the 5500 block of Sultana Avenue.
“Most of the whole second floor was a marijuana grow,” he said. “We found more than 1,000 marijuana plants and several pounds of package marijuana.”
During the trial, a witness testified that Chen owed Gu money, and Gu had threatened to tell law enforcement about the growing operation if it wasn’t returned.