Herb Kay, 1997


Herb Kay



BHS Computer Club



Herb Kay and Ed Coe

For more on Herbert “Bert” Kay, see the Bert Kay page at the University of Texas.

PENINSULA / Slaying Victim In Palo Alto Identified

Published 4:00 am, Monday, June 16, 1997

 Palo Alto — The Palo Alto Police Departmenthas identified a 38- year-old man beaten to death Thursday night on a downtown street as Herbert Kay, a computer scientist who worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Kay, his wife and twin daughters had been living in Palo Alto since April, according to the police.

Kay’s death was the city’s first apparent homicide this year.

Investigators said yesterday that they know of no suspects or motive for the killing, which occurred at 10:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Gilman Street.

Kay, 39, received a doctorate in computer science at the University of Texas in December. He was working at the NASA Ames Research Center on a project to develop space vehicles capable of monitoring their own conditions, said Benjamin Kuipers, Kay’s dissertation adviser.

“He was a fine man and a fine scientist,” Kuipers told the Austin American-Statesman. “I just think this is a tragedy for his family, a tragedy for those of use who knew him and a tragedy for computer science.”

City officials are offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in the slaying. Anyone with information should call Detective Mike Denson at (415) 329- 2190.


Final Sentencing in Murder Case / Sixth killer in 1997 attack on Palo Alto scientist

Carolyne Zinko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Published 4:00 am, Saturday, March 11, 2000

2000-03-11 04:00:00 PDT PALO ALTO — Three years after the beating death of Palo Alto research scientist Herbert Kay, the case against six young East Palo Alto men charged in the slaying is coming to a close.

Olopitoamoa Tapuloa, 21, the last of the attackers to be sentenced, will appear in court on March 23. He faces 15 years to life in prison, after pleading no contest to charges of second-degree murder last month, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Mike Gaffey.

Five others had already been convicted in the death of Kay, who was robbed and beaten to death during a nighttime walk in downtown Palo Alto only blocks from the Police Department.

The assailants, five of whom belonged to gangs, escaped with Kay’s house keys and a girl’s elastic hair band. Kay left a wife and two daughters behind.

Earlier this week, Daniel Tevaga, 19, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison — instead of life in prison without the possibility of parole — after Kay’s widow and in-laws asked the judge for leniency.   Tevaga was earlier found guilty of first-degree murder.

Tevaga’s mother and a brother who is at the Air Force Academy attended the sentencing on Thursday. Tevaga addressed the victim’s family, saying he had thought about the incident often and wished it had not happened, Gaffey said.

None of the other attackers has expressed remorse, Gaffey said. They are:

— Falala Lelei, 18, and Christian Valdes, 22, who were found guilty of first-degree murder in December and sentenced in January to 25 years to life in prison. Lelei and Valdes will be eligible for parole in their early 40s, after they serve about 85 percent of their sentence, according to Gaffey.

— Iapesa Simanu, 22, who avoided the death penalty when he pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in 1998. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

— An 18-year-old man, who was not identified because he was 16 at the time of Kay’s beating. He admitted his participation in Juvenile Court in 1998 and was remanded to theCalifornia Youth Authority, where he could remain for an additional seven years, unless he is paroled earlier.

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