Man found guilty of internet cafe killing
An internet and call shop owner has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering a customer, whom he kicked to death after he refused to pay in full for a 70 cent phone call.
Zhen Dong Zhao (36), a Chinese man with an address at Jervis Street in Dublin, had pleaded not guilty to murdering the 40-year-old man on May 20, 2011. However, he admitted kicking the father-of-two a number of times outside his 24-hour shop, e-Times, on Dublin’s Wellington Quay.
Noel Feganm who was originally from Finglas, had been living in Aughrim Street. He had gone into the shop to phone his 11-year-old daughter from whom he had received a ‘Call Me’ text.
His daughter testified through a statement that she spoke to her father for a minute and a half.
However, Mr Fegan told Zhao he did not get through as he walked towards the front door.
Zhao showed him the 70 cent total on the phone system screen but the trial heard that Mr Fegan refused to pay this. Various witnesses said he offered between 10 cent and 40 cent.
Zhao tried to prevent him leaving but Mr Fegan got away, with some customers saying he hit Zhao before he left.
Zhao followed him outside and kicked him a number of times in the back, head and neck with the desert boots he was wearing. Mr Fegan, a recovering drug addict,
died soon afterwards of bleeding to the brain.
An autopsy found that arteries in Mr Fegan’s neck had been torn due to blunt force trauma. His taking of anticoagulant medicine for a pulmonary embolism was a contributory factor in his death.
The jury of eight men and four women took just under 10 hours over two and a half days to reach a guilty verdict by a majority of 10 to 2. The verdict followed a 12-day trial at the Central Criminal Court.
It was the prosecution’s case that the accused was the aggressor and that Mr Fegan had posed no threat to him. The State described Mr Fegan as defenceless when he was on the ground outside.
Prosecutor Pauline Walley SC said the ‘savage’ kicks to the back of his head had resulted in his death.
She reminded the jury of the evidence of Mr Fegan’s friend, John Wynn, who said the accused seemed proud of what he had done to Mr Fegan and gave a two finger gesture to the deceased afterwards.
The defence had argued for a verdict of manslaughter as a result of provocation.
Defence counsel Brendan Grehan SC told the jury that we could snap, see red and react as a result of something someone had done, in this case the slap to Zhao’s face.
Zhao had told detectives that he’d had trouble with customers not paying in the past, but that this was not about the money.