Mark Owen Laun told his new Chinese bride in 2016 that Jesus Christ demanded she obey him, including showing a regular willingness to satisfy his sexual desires, according to court records in Orange County.
When Jane Doe, that’s the victim’s alias, resisted that heavenly authority, Laun reportedly claimed the U.S. government would deport her if officials learned she refused his efforts for matrimonial intercourse.
But Doe, who didn’t speak English and claimed to suffer a disability that made sex exceptionally painful, still wasn’t swayed, which left her husband forcing himself on her, she told a Santa Ana grand jury.
The impasse also led to Laun’s June 2016 temper tantrum while consuming alcohol, prosecutors alleged.
According to Doe, while inside their Irvine residence, he smashed the necks of two beer bottles and stabbed her twice in the shoulder.
Laun, who’d met Doe online and quickly married, told a different tale: His wife stabbed herself and called 911 as a devious pretext to win permanent immigration benefits by portraying herself a victim of bloody domestic violence, getting stitches for her wounds and then leaving him.
Neither prosecutors inside the Orange County district attorney’s office nor a jury bought the defendant’s version of events.
The panel convicted Laun of domestic battery with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault.
Superior Court Judge John Conley gave him a five-year prison term, which he suspended in favor of probation for three years and a 180-day stint in jail while Doe returned to China.
Laun appealed, in part, arguing that Conley botched jury instructions allowing jurors to wrongly consider the broken beer bottle a deadly weapon.
But this month, the California Court of Appeal backed the judge’s rulings as legally sound and affirmed the conviction.
“We have viewed the picture of the broken beer bottle top,” the justices observed in a seven-page opinion. “It was not suitable for containing or pouring beer. He did not break the bottle to drink from it. A glass bottle that is purposefully broken to have sharp edges for stabbing is inherently deadly in the ordinary use and nature for which it was modified.”
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.