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July 2010 News Articles About Wong Trial

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2/25/2010 UPDATE:



Wong trial delay likely

By Jon Ostendorff • February 25, 2010

WAYNESVILLE — The trial of the Florida man accused of killing a state trooper will likely be delayed a second time while one of his two attorneys is treated for cancer.

Attorney Randal Seago, in a motion obtained by the Citizen-Times on Thursday, told the court he will have surgery for cancer next month and that his recovery following the procedure will mean he can’t participate in a March trial. Defendants in death penalty cases are guaranteed two attorneys.

The court filing doesn’t mention Seago’s specific cancer. He has not asked to withdraw from the case. He declined comment on Thursday.

Edwardo Wong had been scheduled for trial in the killing of Trooper David Shawn Blanton on March 29. He’s accused of shooting to death the N.C. Highway Patrol trooper during a traffic stop on Interstate 40 on June 17, 2008.

The state Supreme Court last year ordered the lower court to give Wong's team more time to prepare after it said it wanted to review Blanton’s personnel file.

The defense team in January lost a bid for a second delay to have time to research the role race has played in capital punishment. Wong is Asian. Blanton is Cherokee.

The newest motion has nothing to do with a legal argument. Instead it asks for more time because of a serious health problem, meaning the judge would have little choice but to grant it.The court on March 8 will still hear motions on having Wong evaluated by a doctor working for the prosecution and a request by the defense team to recuse District Attorney Michael Bonfoey and his entire staff.

The defense wants the current prosecutors off the case because of a letter Assistant District Attorney Reid Brown wrote when he was a defense attorney years ago.

The letter, according to statements in court, deals with race and the death penalty.The letter would mean, potentially, that the defense could call Brown as a witness in its case, which could raise a conflict-of-interest issue in the trial.Bonfoey said Thursday that his thoughts are with Seago.

“No one expected this development and we hope for Randy’s sake, and the sake of his family, that his treatment goes well and he makes a quick recovery,” the prosecutor said.

The Murderer: Eduardo Wong

Trooper Blanton was gunned down during a traffic stop on June 17th, 2008 by Eduardo Wong (pictured at right during his arraignment; click to enlarge), a felon with a long criminal history in Florida. Trooper Blanton was taken from his wife and newborn, premature and gravely ill son, Ty, who sadly passed on himself at age 4 months.

There were numerous articles for months on end covering this case, which at this writing (9/28/09) is still pending trial. You can research those articles in the Ashville Citizen Times (on line) at

The article below previously appeared on this site with "codes" appearing in some places. Because this was the form in which the article appeared on-line, it had been presented in our site exactly as published. Recently, thanks to information received from Det. Hosey of the Landis PD, we've learned that the "codes" were not missing or redacted information rather, as he wrote, "...a failure of the software to properly display a special character." We appreciate Det. Hosey taking the time to explain the technical reasons behind what we were seeing but more importantly for taking the time to ensure the article read in its proper form.

December 13, 2008

Section: News

Edition: Main

Page: 1A

NC trooper murder trial set for Oct.

Jon Ostendorff


By Jon Ostendorff

WAYNESVILLE — The man accused of shooting a state trooper to death during a traffic stop in Haywood County will face trial in October, a judge ordered Friday.

Edwardo Wong is charged with first-degree murder in the June 17 slaying of Trooper David Shawn Blanton Jr. on Interstate 40 near Canton.

Blanton had stopped the truck Wong was driving because it was pulling a rented car trailer with no license plate. Investigators believe Wong shot Blanton to death, took the trooper's gun and fired at a sheriff's deputy trying to stop him.

Superior Court Judge Nathanial Poovey set the Oct. 12 court date after hearing from prosecutors and one of Wong's attorneys, Randal Seago. District Attorney Michael Bonfoey and Assistant District Attorney Jim Moore had asked the judge for a July trial date, saying the state was ready to make its case just about anytime with enough warning to schedule travel for witnesses.

Prosecutors already have given Wong's team, which also includes attorney Mark Melrose, 1,800 pages of evidence, videos and audio recordings.

The state, in most criminal trials, collects the bulk of the evidence and provides it to defense attorneys ahead of time. The practice is called "open file" discovery in the 30th Judicial District, where the Wong case is being tried.

Defense attorneys also must provide the state with a list of experts they plan to call to give prosecutors time to prepare.

Seago said Wong's history of living in several states and other countries, like Jamaica, has made gathering details about his life difficult. His relatives are also scattered, with a mother in Bermuda and family in Japan, Seago said.

Defense attorneys in death penalty cases are required to learn as much as they can about the client's life to satisfy a standard known as "effective assistance of counsel" Seago said in court.

Two recent U.S. Supreme Court cases have made it clear that defense attorneys must conduct thorough pretrial investigations, including examining all school, jail, mental health and physical health records, he said.

And, Seago said, records about the client's family must be examined. As an example, he offered the case of Wong's father, who was "assassinated" in an Atlanta federal prison two weeks after starting a sentence for illegal drug distribution convictions.

Seago said the trial transcript in the elder Wong's case is 3,775 pages long and must be reviewed.

He and Melrose have two other capital murder cases that are expected to go to trial sometime in the next year, Seago said.

He said the fall of next year, rather than summer as the state had requested, would be fairer to his client.

Moore, the assistant prosecutor, said Wong wasn't the only person the court had to consider in setting a trial date.

"It is not just what is fair and right for the defendant but the (victim's) family as well," he said. "A year is more than enough time."

Poovey set the October date and told Seago to make the trial preparation a priority. The judge urged him to consider withdrawing from his other death penalty cases if the workload was too much. "I see no reason why, in 11 months time, you can't be prepared to try this case" he told Seago. 

 Copyright (c) Asheville Citizen-Times.

All rights reserved.

Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.


(We hope he never sees the outside world again.)

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