Crime - Sacto 911

Juries convict cousins in musician’s south-area murder

Two separate Sacramento Superior Court juries today convicted the cousins Ronnie Vang and Joson Vang of first-degree murder in the June 23, 2009, shooting death of Keith Fessler in his Meadowview area home.

Ronnie Vang, 32, is facing the death penalty as a result of the verdicts. Vang had a just been released from prison on a prior burglary conviction, and witnesses said he told them he shot and killed Fessler during the course of a break-in at the man’s home because he did not want to be identified.

The penalty phase of Ronnie Vang’s trial has been scheduled for Jan. 6.

Fessler, 44, was a Kaiser-Permanente technician and a long-time musician who collected guitars. Prosecutors said the Vangs stole several of the instruments and then sold some of them to a local pawn shop. The pawn shop owner alerted police and the cousins were soon arrested.

No sentencing date has yet been set on Joson Vang, 27, who is facing a life term with no chance of parole.

Besides the murder, the two defendants were both convicted of robbery, burglary and the theft of Kessler’s car. Ronnie Vang was convicted on the additional charges of arson and the attempted burglary of a house next door to the Kessler residence.

Previous coverage:

Trial begins in robbery killing of south-area man