Death sentence for man who killed parents while high on drugs

By Binh Nguyen    June 4, 2024 | 11:35 pm PT
Death sentence for man who killed parents while high on drugs
Pham Phi Ho is escorted at a court in HCMC, June 4, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Binh Nguyen
A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced a man to death on Tuesday for murdering both of his parents during a drug-induced hallucination.

The verdict from HCMC People's Court determined that Pham Phi Ho, 34, sincerely confessed, showed remorse, and had restricted behavior and cognition at the time of the crime. The representative of the victims, Ho's older sister, had requested a commuted sentence.

However, the defendant committed the crime of murder with aggravating circumstances, thus necessitating the application of the strictest sentence, the court said.

When given the opportunity for a final statement, Ho stated that he was aware of the gravity of his crime and deeply remorseful, asking the court for a chance to return home to offer incense for his late parents.

He lived with his parents at their home in District 6 when the tragedy occurred.

On the night of Aug. 1, 2021, as his mother was sleeping, he suddenly rushed in and stabbed her repeatedly with a knife.

His father jumped in to stop him, but he turned to attack the father, killing him immediately. His mother managed to run away but he chased after her and kept stabbing her.

Ho’s older sister, who was also in the house at that time, got out and called for help. Police arrested Ho later.

The mother was rushed to a hospital but did not survive.

Ho was then tested positive for narcotic substances. During their investigation, police determined that before, during, and after committing the crime, he was suffering psychosis due to the use of various drugs, losing the ability to perceive and control his actions.

Ho told the court that he has been using drugs since he was 16.

When the crime took place, HCMC was applying social distancing measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic, preventing him from buying drugs and using them on a frequent basis, which had affected his mental health.

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