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Saturday, September 19, 1998

Local student accused of murder in California


Senior Staff Writer

A search of Bryan Modglin's Abilene apartment turned up evidence tying him to the planning of the execution-style slaying of a man in California on Tuesday, investigators say.

Modglin, 23, a medically discharged Air Force veteran who had been attending Abilene Christian University as a first-semester freshman, was being held Friday in Tarrant County on a no-bond warrant issued by California authorities. He is accused of fatally shooting Paul Wong, 40, in Norco, Calif., on Tuesday.

"We found some evidence that supported that this was indeed planned prior to his leaving Texas for California," said Bill Hartness, lead investigator on the case for the Riverside County, Calif., Sheriff's Department. He declined to provide more detail.

Modglin will be given a hearing at which he will be given a chance to waive extradition, which Hartness predicted the suspect will refuse. If the suspect fights extradition, it will take California authorities four to six weeks to obtain a governor's extradition warrant to return him to their jurisdiction, the detective said.

Meanwhile, two California women whom investigators identified as cousins of Modglin remained jailed in Riverside County on $500,000 bonds each on charges of conspiracy and murder: Kristy Ann Lewis, 37, and her mother, Nona Lucille Lewis, 68, both of Norco, Calif., east of Los Angeles. The younger woman had been married to Fong, a union that ended in a bitter three-year divorce and child custody fight.

Fong was shot as many as 10 times Tuesday afternoon after he arrived to pick up his and Kristy Lewis' 3-year-old son from a day care center in Norco.

Modglin was arrested by airport police as he stepped off a Los Angeles-to-Dallas flight several hours after the slaying. He was held by Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport police for about two days before transfer to the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth.

Hartness said Modglin lost his right arm in an automobile accident in 1995 in San Antonio, when he was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base. Modglin's home town is Benton, Ark., about 20 miles southwest of Little Rock.

Hartness, fellow Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Belli, and Abilene police detective Jay Hatcher executed the search warrant at Modglin's residence in Indian Run Apartments.

The lead investigator requests that anyone with information shedding light on the slaying of Fong to call Hatcher at the Abilene Police Department, (915) 676-6614.

Jerry Reed can be reached at 676-6769 or reedj@abinews.com


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