Murdered journalist's wife sentenced to life in prison

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A court in the Mekong Delta province of Long An Thursday  sentenced a woman to life in prison for killing her journalist husband by setting him on fire.

Tran Thuy Lieu, 41, was convicted of killing her husband, Le Hoang Hung, a journalist with the Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) newspaper .

On January 19, 2011, Lieu set Hung on fire on fire when he was sleeping at their house in the province's Tan An Town. She rushed him to the hospital soon after, but he died 10 days later of severe burns, according to prosecutors.

The Long An People's Court said Lieu killed Hung for "vile motives," after frequent quarrels over her gambling debts.

Lieu insisted she did not kill Hung on purpose; that she only intended to "warn" him. She told the court her husband beat her in fits of jealousy because of her alleged affair with former provincial official Nguyen Van Tam. She also told the court that she had acted alone.

For the first time since the allegations, Tam yesterday admitted to the court that he'd had an extra marital affair with Lieu.

Hung's family and his employers have repeatedly said Lieu could not have acted alone and asked that the police look into the role of Nguyen Van Tam, who, according to Hung's family, their advocate and his employers, advised Lieu on how to mislead investigators.

The police need to clarify the purpose of phone calls and text messages between Lieu and Tam, former chief of the provincial Market Management Team No. 5, before, during and after the murder, they added.

However, since police first pressed criminal charges against the case last July, they have not pressed any charges against the former official, who was dismissed last August for gambling in Cambodia and for having an affair with Lieu.

At first, prosecutors rejerefused to ratify the charges levied only against Lieu and asked for further investigations. But after completing a fresh probe, police reiterated their original conclusion that Lieu had acted alone.

The prosecutor's office then indicted Lieu for murder commited with "vile motives," a charge which carries sentences ranging from 12 years in prison to death penalty.

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