Glenn Wong's family life began to unravel in the months prior to the murder of his wife, prosecutors say, and jealousy and suspicion ultimately caused a "controlling" Wong to stab Tami Mitchell Wong more than 100 times on the morning of Feb. 24, 2013.
Wong's Akron-based attorney Brian Pierce contended on the first day of the murder trial Tuesday that Wong's actions are not in dispute, and while irrational, they were not premeditated.
"I don't think the state will be able to prove to you that this was a premeditated event," Pierce said in Judge Paul Gallagher's court at Summit County Court of Common Pleas. "This was impulsive, spur of the moment … and frankly, not very rational."
Wong, 51, formerly of Abram's Drive in Twinsburg, has pleaded not guilty two charges of aggravated murder, one count of kidnapping, one count of murder, one count of felonious assault and one count of domestic violence in connection with the stabbing death of his wife of 11 years.
The chaos of that morning more than one year ago began to take shape with opening statements from assistant Summit County prosecutor Angela Walls-Alexander.
"Actions speak louder than words, and this case is definitely that kind of case," Walls-Alexander said. "The defendant's actions speak much more to his crimes than anything I could say."
In his opening remarks, Pierce told jurors that the case is not about who did what -- rather whether each specific charge against Wong is valid.
"This is not a whodunnit case," Pierce said. "What is he guilty of? What have (prosecutors) proven? A lot of the facts won't be in dispute. Glenn and Tami Wong were a couple that, for a period of time, were happily married. They had been married for about 11 years. They had some problems, like a lot of married couples do. Glenn Wong never had any problems with the police. He had no criminal record."
Walls-Alexander described a situation prior to Tami's death in which the Wong family was, by most accounts, normal and well-adjusted. Behind the scenes, however, there was a growing sense of jealousy and mistrust, she said.
"Somehow, that family started to unravel," Walls-Alexander told the jury. "It is crucial that you understand what was going on that led up to this. Mr. Wong was very controlling. He would sometimes demean Tami. There comes a point in their relationship where that makes her very unhappy. In the months that precede her death, you're going to hear that he becomes more suspicious."
This situation, Walls-Alexander argued, ultimately culminated in the morning of Feb. 24, 2013, when 46-year-old Tami Mitchell Wong screamed for help from the couple's master bedroom while sustaining a total of 103 knife wounds.
Initial witnesses called by the state included the Wong children, a daughter, 11, and a son, 9, who were 10 and 8 at the time of the incident.
By closed circuit television from a separate courtroom, the children began their testimony as Wong began to weep loudly, breaking his thus far calm demeanor.
The daughter testified that she and her brother were in the living room just outside their parents' bedroom before the incident.
"He came out and walked into the kitchen," she said. "(He went) into the bedroom. (I heard) my mom screaming … 'call 911'. I went to go to my parents bedroom to get the cordless phone on a night stand. He was on top of my mom and it was … weird."
Speaking to assistant prosecuting attorney Thomas Kroll, the son provided similar testimony, saying he was in the doorway of the master bedroom as his sister frantically called 911.
"My mom started to scream … 'Call the police,'" he said. "He was on top of her. That was it."
Pierce had no questions for either witness.
Other state witnesses included Twinsburg Officer Brian Steele, who was the first officer through the door of the Wong residence that day. Steele was accompanied by Officers Patrick Quinn, Daniel Biada and Eric Sawyer, who had "stacked up" and entered the house in file, weapons drawn, eventually entering the master bedroom where they testified that Wong was still on top of Tami, both covered in blood.
During his testimony, Sawyer recounted applying pressure to Tami's wounds with a towel and asking her questions to keep her occupied while awaiting medical attention.
Pierce then asked Quinn about Wong's demeanor at the time of his arrest, and the officer replied that Wong was lucid, compliant and cooperated with all police questions and commands.
The trial was to continue through March 26, with a verdict expected at the end of the week.
Facebook: Conner Howard, Record Publishing Reporter