The Chu Vue murder trial today pivoted to the defense with co-defendant Lang Vue testifying in his own behalf that he knew nothing about the shooting death of state correctional officer Steve Lo.
"Mr. Vue, did you have anything to do with the killing of Steve Lo?" asked Lang Vue's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Matthew Scoble, after the prosecution had rested its case.
"No," Vue replied.
Vue, 27, is accused of murder in the case on the theory that he aided and abetted Chu Vue, the former Sacramento sheriff's deputy, who authorities say arranged for Lo's killing because the correctional officer was having an affair with Chu Vue's wife.
Lang Vue admitted that he rented motel rooms and cars for the purported gunmen in the case, Chu Vue's younger brothers, Gary Vue and Chong Vue.
But Lang Vue testified that he did not know that they were involved in planning to kill Lo, as they are accused in a separate murder complaint.
Lang Vue said he knew Gary and Chong Vue were wanted for a murder in Minnesota when he heard from them about a month before the Oct. 15, 2008, killing of Steve Lo.
He said he thought they were in town to visit their ill parents and "make amends" to them for their bad pasts, before heading to Minnesota and turn themselves in for the murder of which they were ultimately convicted.
"Gary told me they were tired of running from the law," Lang Vue said. He testified that Gary told him he "just wanted to confess his sins" to his parents.
Cell phone records show that Lang Vue had a number of telephone calls with Chu Vue from June to October in 2008.
He testified that he at first contacted Chu Vue because he was ripped off on a television purchase. He said he thought his fellow Hmong clan member could help him out "because he was a sheriff's deputy."
Later phone conversations between the two, Lang Vue testified, involved a sick relative who later died.
Lang Vue said Gary Vue gave him the money to rent the motel rooms where he and his brother stayed and the cars they drove around the time Steve Lo was killed.
He said they needed somebody to make the transactions for them because they were fugitives and didn't have any identification.
He testified that he went with Gary Vue to buy the Chevy Blazer purportedly caught on surveillance tape on Steve Lo's street on Tambor Way in south Sacramento about 12 minutes for the shooting.
Lang Vue said Gary Vue paid for the vehicle and filled out the paperwork with the seller. He said he went along with the accused gunman in Steve Lo's death to buy the vehicle because "if anyone asked for ID, I'd just show mine."
Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall is slated to cross-examine Lang Vue this afternoon.