Vietnam's appeals court upholds death sentences in murder of 6 family members

By Binh Nguyen - Quoc Thang   July 18, 2016 | 07:46 pm GMT+7
Vietnam's appeals court upholds death sentences in murder of 6 family members
Nguyen Hai Duong, the mastermind of the murder, accepted the death sentence and requested expedited execution. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

The story of a man who brutally murdered his ex-girlfriend's family last year is reaching its final chapter.

An appellate court in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday rejected all appeals by two men found guilty in the grisly murder of six members of a wealthy family in the southern province of Binh Phuoc in July 2015.

The case has since grabbed headlines and rocked the country.

In a trial held last December, the court convicted Nguyen Hai Duong, 24, the ex-boyfriend of one of the victims, of orchestrating the murders, and Vu Van Tien, Duong’s 24-year-old friend, of acting as his accomplice. Both men were sentenced to death for the murders.

Tran Dinh Thoai, Duong’s 27-year-old friend, was sentenced to 16 years for buying a knife for Duong and harboring the murder.

While Duong has accepted his sentence, Tien and Thoai requested appeals. The HCMC appeals court, in a one-day hearing, denied all of their requests and upheld their sentences.

The court’s verdict stated that Tien was persuaded by Duong to help him murder the family.

“Without Tien, Duong wouldn’t have been able to commit the crime so he must take responsibility," the verdict said. "Although Tien’s case has extenuating circumstances such as his guilty plea and his family’s contribution to the state… the nature of the murder dictates he must be removed from society,” it said.

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Vu Van Tien after the hearing. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Thang

Thoai, while not directly involved in the crime, helped Duong to buy a knife. The court decided to not reduce his sentence.

On July 7 of 2015, Le Van My, who ran a big wood processing plant in Binh Phuoc Province (around 100 kilometers to the northeast of Ho Chi Minh City) and his wife, son, daughter and two other relatives, were found dead at their villa in Chon Thanh District.

Duong said he and My's daughter Le Thi Anh Linh, who was among the six deceased, loved each other but Linh’s family objected to the relationship, leading Linh to end their romance. In April 2015, Duong began to plan his revenge by killing Linh and her family and stealing their assets.

Duong asked Thoai to help him; but rather than take part in the murders, he bought Duong a knife instead. Duong then convinced Tien to help him by lying that Linh’s family owed him VND900 million (US$40,356). Duong promised Tien a certain cut of the money if he agreed to help.

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Tien (left) and Thoai. Photo by VnExpress/Quoc Thang.

On the morning of July 7, 2015, the two broke into Linh’s house, located off National Highway 13. The two men killed Vy, the homeowner’s 14-year-old nephew, after bribing the boy to open the gate, according to a police report. They then murdered Linh, her father, her 42-year-old mother, her 15-year-old brother and her 18-year-old cousin.

Police said the victims sustained fatal stab wounds to their necks and chests. Vy, the first victim, was found in the front yard, while the other five were found tied up in their rooms. However, the youngest daughter, an 18-month-old baby, was spared.

Duong told the court he had grown fond of the baby during his time with Linh. Duong and Tien then left the house at around 4:30 a.m. on July 7 with about VND4 million (US$180) in cash, five smartphones, a tablet and a laptop.

Vietnam switched to lethal injection from firing squad in 2011.

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