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Former Hinesville resident sentenced to death
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MOBILE, Ala. — A judge on Thursday ordered a death sentence for a coastal Alabama man who was convicted of murdering four young children by tossing them from a bridge to “torture” his wife.
Lam Luong and his family once lived in the Victory Village Mobile Home Park in Hinesville
Mobile County Circuit Judge Charles Graddick also ordered that prison officials show Lam Luong photos of the children each day he spends on death row awaiting lethal injection.
In handing down the sentence, Graddick rejected a defense bid for the optional penalty — life in prison without parole. An appeal of the death sentence is automatic and could last years.
The 38-year-old jobless shrimper was convicted of capital murder in March for killing the children on Jan. 7, 2008, in a dispute with his wife, Kieu Phan, who was 23 at the time. Jurors last month earlier voted 12-0 for the death penalty.
Luong, a Vietnamese refugee who came to the U.S. when he was 13, was convicted of dropping the children — Ryan Phan, 3; Hannah Luong, 2; Lindsey Luong, 1; and 4-month-old Danny Luong — from the top of an 80-foot-high span to Dauphin Island. The bodies were recovered from coastal waters.
Luong was the father of three of the children. His wife was pregnant with Ryan, the child of another man, when they met in 2004, according to testimony.
“Ryan was very bright, very protective of his siblings,” Assistant District Attorney Jo Beth Murphree told the judge. She said Ryan must have been aware of the “awful circumstances” when Luong drove the family van to the top of the bridge.
Asked if he had any final comment before sentencing, a bearded Luong looked at his wife, and, in a cracked voice, said, “I apologize to my wife,” a court translator quoted him saying. Phan, seated between her sister and mother, wiped away tears.
The judge also ordered that any proceeds from the sale of books, movies or TV deals resulting from this “vile criminal act” must be turned over to the court for distribution to the children’s mother, setting Luong’s restitution at $50 million for such an occurrence.
District Attorney John Tyson Jr. said he hopes the family finds “some peace.”
Luong’s attorneys had no comment.
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