emeryrip900.jpgThe tragic death of pro surfer Emery Kauanui, Jr., 24, of La Jolla, rocked San Diego and its affluent beach community last year. Now, a year later, the five men accused of beating Kauanui to death are appearing in San Diego Superior Court, with hearings that began Wednesday, May 7, and the story recently made New York Times headlines.

Between the ages of 21 and 23, the men belong to a group dubbed “The Bird Rock Bandits,” which the prosecution asserts is a gang of young, affluent La Jolla residents.  If prosecuted under gang-related allegations, the men  would be subject to stiff California state laws pertaining to gang crimes, which could result in harsher penalties, according to the New York Times story. Read the entire report at nytimes.com.