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San Diego County Digest

San Diego : Supporters Pack Court for Suspect in Traffic Slaying

August 03, 1989

Friends, relatives and business associates packed the courtroom Wednesday to support murder suspect Roger Sing Ip, who pleaded not guilty to killing a 15-year-old boy after a traffic dispute.

Every seat in the felony arraignment department of San Diego Municipal Court, which has about 80 seats, was filled for Ip's arraignment and bail review. Ip, 33, of Spring Valley turned himself in last Thursday.

Ip's attorney, Elisabeth Semel, told Judge Frank Brown that Ip would return to court if granted a reduction in his $1-million bail, but the judge turned her down.

Semel said that friends and relatives had put together property and cash that would equal $500,000, but that $1 million was out of their reach.

The fatal shooting of Kurt Von Yokes of La Jolla occurred late July 10 after a near-collision with a car believed to have been driven by Ip and another car in which Yokes was a passenger.

Authorities believe Ip followed the Yokes car for several miles. When Yokes got out and approached the car following him, he was shot in the chest.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Gregg McClain told the court he was concerned that Ip, born in Hong Kong, might flee the country.

"He's obviously not the person everyone thinks he is," McClain said afterward.

Semel, though, described Ip as "peaceful, quiet and respectful."

She said those who attended the arraignment represented a "gamut of professions." Supporters included business associates from his Pacific Beach Chinese restaurant, present and former neighbors, customers, postal patrons from his work as a postal worker, engineers, and university professors, Semel said.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled Sept. 13.

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