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Victim's wife cries out at teen's preliminary hearing

Tyquail Duffy, 16, was held for trial on murder charges in the April shooting death of a Chinese deliveryman.

Tyquail Duffy
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THE WIFE of a Chinese deliveryman who was shot and killed in April jumped up from her seat in a courtroom gallery yesterday and ran toward the bulletproof window that separated her from the two teenage defendants.

Wailing, she banged loudly on the glass partition, which separates the gallery from the court in Room 306 of the Criminal Justice Center.

At the time, defendant Tyquail Duffy, 16, who faced a preliminary hearing on murder charges, was seated at the defense table.

His codefendant, Sahmir Walker, 15, who is cooperating with prosecutors, had just finished testifying against Duffy.

Walker was being escorted from the witness stand back to a secure holding-cell area and was walking by the defense table when the victim's wife, Xiuhong Wang, ran to the glass window near them and banged on it.

Clearly in pain and clearly angry, she was then taken out of the courtroom by a woman in the District Attorney's Office who acts as a liaison with victims' families.

Deliveryman Rendong Zheng, 49, was shot and killed on the night of April 23, after he made a food delivery from the New China restaurant to the Hill Creek Apartments, a Philadelphia Housing Authority complex about a mile away from the eatery. Both are in Crescentville.

Municipal Judge David Shuter yesterday held Duffy for trial on all charges - murder, conspiracy, robbery and gun offenses.

Zheng's wife's outburst in court was not the only surprising thing that happened yesterday.

After Duffy was held for trial, his mother, Tanya Duffy, was brought before the judge for a contempt hearing after she was seen taking a photo in the courtroom, where picture-taking is explicitly prohibited.

Tanya Duffy, it turned out, took a photo of Walker while he was on the witness stand. The judge was not on the bench at the time. The mother claimed she was only taking a photo of her son's defense attorney, Trevan Borum.

Shuter found Tanya Duffy in contempt and ordered her taken immediately into custody and sentenced her to 2 1/2 to five months in jail.

Walker testified during the preliminary hearing that on the night of April 23, he was at his home on Hill Creek Drive, near Adams Avenue, with his aunt, who was watching him because his mother had gone to the South to take care of his grandmother.

At about 10:30 p.m., Tyquail Duffy, then 15, who also lived at the public-housing complex, knocked on Walker's door and said he was locked out of his place, Walker said.

Walker, then 14, said he invited Duffy in and told him he and his aunt just ordered Chinese food. Duffy then "flashed a gun, said 'I'm going to rob the delivery guy,' " Walker testified.

Walker said he was "terrified" to see the gun, but that he and Duffy played a video game in the living room while waiting for the deliveryman.

After Zheng arrived outside in his car with the food, Walker said his aunt brought the food into the kitchen. Walker said Duffy then "told me to get up and flag the delivery guy."

Walker, who like Duffy wears glasses and has short hair, testified that Duffy then "forced me to walk toward" the deliveryman's car. He said Duffy was walking behind him when Duffy pulled out his gun and told Zheng to hand over his money.

"I want no trouble. I just want to leave," Zheng replied, according to Walker.

Walker said he ran toward his house when he "heard a shot, and I heard a thud, like a body hitting the ground."

He said Duffy then barged into the house, pointed the gun at Walker's aunt's head, and said, "Be quiet, or else." Duffy then fled toward his home, Walker said.

Asked by Assistant District Attorney Chesley Lightsey if any money was taken from Zheng, Walker said: "Not that I know of."

Lightsey said prosecutors agreed to have Walker's case transferred to juvenile court and agreed to drop a second-degree-murder charge against him in return for his cooperation. Walker will still face trial on robbery and other charges in juvenile court, she said.

Borum, Duffy's attorney, questioned Walker about his motivation in testifying for the prosecution. He noted that in a statement Walker gave to homicide detectives on April 25, he didn't say he was "terrified" of Duffy's alleged gun or that Duffy "forced" him to walk toward the deliveryman's car.

On Twitter: @julieshawphilly