A court in Binh Phuoc on Thursday handed down a death sentence to two men who in July killed six members of a wealthy family in the southern province.
The trial took place outdoors in a large abandoned land plot in Chon Thanh District. Thousands of local residents flocked to the site of the trial to watch the final chapter of a story that has shocked the country ever since the brutal murder first grabbed headlines.
Emotions were high as the defendants arrived to the trial, where wailing family members of the victims had gathered behind photos of the deceased.
The court convicted Nguyen Hai Duong, 24, the ex-boyfriend of one of the slain, of orchestrating the murders and Vu Van Tien, Duong’s 24-year-old friend, of being his accomplice. Both men were sentenced to death for murder.
Duong was also sentenced to 8 years and Tien 7 years on robbery charges.
Tran Dinh Thoai, Duong’s 27-year-old friend, was sentenced to 16 years for buying a knife for Duong to kill Linh’s family members and for not reporting the conspiracy to commit murder.
The court also said the three men must compensate a total of VND480 million for the victims’ family.
Duong is the ex-boyfriend of Le Thi Anh Linh, the 22-year-old daughter of Le Van My, 48, who owned a timber processing company in Chon Thanh District.
After Linh broke up with him in March, Duong devised a plan to kill the family and rob them, he told the court.
Early in the morning on July 4, Duong asked Thoai to help him rob the family. But when they arrived at the house, Du Minh Vy, My’s 14-year-old nephew, did not open the gate for them, so they were forced to leave.
Thoai then refused to continue with the plan. Duong asked Tien to replace Thoai, and he agreed.
To prepare for the crime, Duong, with Thoai's help, bought two knives, a stun gun, a BB pistol, gloves, masks, plastic cable wire and duct tape.
At 8 p.m. on July 6, Duong again called Vy, the homeowner’s 14-year-old nephew, and asked him to open the gate for him so he could sneak in to steal something. Duong promised to give Vy some money.
At around 1:30 a.m. on July 7, Duong and Tien drove a motorbike to My’s house, located off of National Highway 13.
According to police, the two men killed Vy as soon as the boy opened the gate. They then set their sights on the rest of the family, killing Linh, her father, My, her 42-year-old mother, Nguyen Le Thi Anh Nga, her 15-year-old brother, Le Quoc Anh, and her 18-year-old cousin, Du Ngoc To Nhu.
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 life of My's and Nga's youngest daughter, an 18-month-old baby, was spared.
Duong told the court he was fond of the baby during the time he was still Linh’s boyfriend.
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.
The family’s housekeeper discovered the bloody murder scene about three hours after the killers had left. She immediately informed police.
Duong was arrested at 3 p.m. on July 10 at a funeral for the victims in Binh Phuoc. Tien was arrested at 10 p.m. the same day in his rented room in Ho Chi Minh City’s Hoc Mon District while Thoai was detained August 9 in his rented house in the city’s District 12.