Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here is a photo of our mother, Susie, at a Mother’s Day party last year. I miss her voice every day, so I attached an old voicemail to share with those who might feel the same. I’m aware not all of you knew her, but to those that did, I hope you enjoy this clip and celebrate this beautiful day with your mothers and grandmothers!



Merry Christmas

Ko family on Xmas Eve

The Ko family wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas. We’re so lucky to be surrounded by such loving family and friends, and are thankful for each and everyone one of you. My mother hosted Christmas family gatherings every year, and we’ll continue doing the same in her memory.

We spent some time with Susie on Christmas Eve at Mountain View Cemetery. It’s a nice time to visit, as they have their annual Holiday Circle of Lights. Esme also had fun decorating an ornament for her grandmother and hung it up on a Christmas tree at the cemetery entrance. I helped a little :).

Esme holding ornament Esme hanging ornament


Slain teacher’s legacy lives at Rodeo school

Contra Costa Times: Slain teacher’s legacy lives at Rodeo school


“What was a patch of dirt at the entrance of St. Patrick School is now a tribute to one of the school’s most beloved teachers, who was stabbed to death in October in her Hercules home.

A prayer grotto for Susie Ko — unveiled after morning Mass on Sunday — was blessed by the Rev. Larry Young before churchgoers, members of the Ko family and the Eagle Scout who spent 500 hours building it. Young said the grotto, which includes a statue of Mary, serves as a reminder of the dedication of teachers, especially Ko.

After the brief blessing, a teary-eyed Simon Ko, Susie Ko’s son, touched the wooden grotto and posed for pictures with his father, Kelvin Ko, and aunt Alice Chiu in front of a portrait of his mother.

The church and school have been a second home for the Ko family. The mother of four taught there for 12 years, and the family has attended services there for more than 30 years. “It reminds us that we’re not alone in missing her and that she really influenced a lot of lives,” Simon Ko said. “She’s still very much alive, not only in our hearts.”

Casey O’Neal, 15, of Hercules, built the grotto in his family’s garage for his Eagle Scout project, which also included installing a fountain. O’Neal never had Ko as a teacher but remembered her as a warm and uplifting presence on campus. “She was always telling (us) what a good job (we) were doing,” O’Neal said.

From the Ko Family — Thank you to everyone that was involved in building such a beautiful memorial for Susie. Especially the O’Neal family, who rebuilt the grotto after it was nearly done — because it wasn’t perfect! Sounds like something my mother would have done if a sweater she was knitting just wasn’t quite perfect :).

Couple plead not guilty in Hercules murder

Contra Costa Times: “A Southern California couple pleaded not guilty Friday to murder and other felony charges in connection with the Oct. 5 killing of retired schoolteacher Susie Ko at her Hercules home.”

“After the Contra Costa County case is resolved, the Washingtons are expected to return to Los Angeles County for prosecution on charges that include attempted murder of a police officer, carjacking and attempted carjacking.”

“There is an active investigation into other possible criminal activity that took place between the time Mr. Washington escaped in San Bernardino and their capture in Washington (state),” deputy district attorney Molly Manoukian said.

The Washingtons return to court March 1 to schedule a preliminary hearing. In the meantime, they are being jailed without bail.

Couple accused of murdering retired Hercules teacher delay pleas

KTVU: Couple accused of murdering retired Hercules teacher delay pleas

“RICHMOND, Calif. — The couple accused of murdering retired schoolteacher Susie Ko in her Hercules home last month appeared together for the first time in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Richmond Friday afternoon.

Originally scheduled to enter pleas to the charges today, both defendants opted to delay their pleas until Dec. 7.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office will proceed with the couple’s case there after court proceedings in Contra Costa County, prosecutor Molly Manoukian said. Investigators from both counties continue to gather evidence in the cases against the Washingtons. Manoukian declined to say what that evidence includes in connection with the Hercules homicide since the investigation is ongoing.”

Contra Costa Times: Alleged killers of Hercules woman appear in same Richmond courtroom

“Judge Judy Johnson postponed until 1:30 p.m. Dec. 7 the plea hearings of Darnell Keith Washington, 24, and his wife Tania LeJune Washington, 25. The duo is charged with at least nine felony counts each, including the murder of 55-year-old Susie Ko while committing robbery, burglary and a carjacking — special circumstances that could make the pair eligible for the death penalty.”

“The investigation is active and ongoing (in Contra Costa County),” deputy district attorney Molly Manoukian said outside the courtroom Friday. “There is strong evidence in this case.”

Slain Hercules Teacher Murder Suspect Appears In Court [Video]


“The man accused of murdering a retired Hercules school teacher appeared in a Contra Costa County courtroom on Thursday, but did not enter a plea as to whether he stabbed Susie Ko to death on Oct. 5.”

“Darnell Washington was ordered back to court on Nov. 16. His public defender declined comment to NBC Bay Area after the brief appearance.”

Suspect in killing of Hercules woman appears in Richmond court, has plea hearing set for Nov. 16



“The man charged with the killing last month of a retired schoolteacher at her Hercules home during a crime rampage, appeared in a Richmond courtroom Thursday morning and had his plea hearing set for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 16.”

“We expect that (Tania Washington) will be in local custody in a short amount of time,” Deputy District Attorney Molly Manoukian…”

“Manoukian said a trial could take months, adding that the Washingtons may be tried together or separately.”

“Manoukian said the District Attorney’s Office had not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty or life in prison.”

Happy Birthday

In honor of Susie’s birthday on November 7th, we couldn’t think of a better way to remember her than to do something she would do each and every day:

Photo by Kelvin Ko of Susie at age 18

…Make eye contact and smile
…Say hello to your neighbors
…Strike up a conversation
…Go out of your way to help someone
…Call an old friend
…Say “I love you”

Remember Susie today.
Remember her smile, her laugh, her advice.
We love you, Susie Ko.

Southern California couple robbed Pinole Kmart before killing woman in Hercules, prosecutors say


Prosecutors allege that on Oct. 5, the day of the Ko slaying, the Washingtons were driving a pickup truck that had been stolen from Fremont and stole a hacksaw from a Kmart on Fitzgerald Drive in Pinole.

The Washingtons fought off two Kmart employees who tried to stop the theft, resulting in a charge of second-degree robbery for the Pinole incident, senior deputy DA John Cope said.

The stolen pickup truck was found abandoned near the Hercules home in which Ko and her husband raised their children. The charges allege that Darnell Washington confronted Ko with a knife and a shotgun, and that he was the person who fatally stabbed her.

Darnell Washington is being tried as a “third strike” defendant,” because of previous felony convictions in Los Angeles County Superior Court for robbery and carjacking.

SoCal man extradited to Contra Costa County for Hercules killing


“A Southern Californian man accused of fatally stabbing retired schoolteacher Susie Ko at her Hercules home on Oct. 5 was arraigned Monday on charges that make him and his wife eligible for the death penalty, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office.”

“Darnell Washington, charged with personally killing Ko, was extradited to Contra Costa County on Sunday and appeared in a Richmond courtroom Monday morning. His wife remains in Washington state, pending extradition. Both husband and wife are being jailed without bail.”